Partnership Between CA, Blossoms of Hope is in Full Bloom
Columbia is in full bloom this April, and no one knows that better than CA and our community partners at Blossoms of Hope (BOH).
BOH is a non-profit organization committed to beautification projects across Howard County, as well as raising funds and awareness for cancer-related efforts and other causes. For more than a decade, CA and BOH have partnered to bring those beautification efforts and community support to open space and CA facilities.
Planting with purpose
CA began working with BOH on tree plantings ten years ago when CA agreed to plant and maintain 15 cherry trees, four flowering dogwood and six redbud trees in what’s known as Kennedy Gardens on Lake Kittamaqundi. In addition, BOH provided three National Cherry Blossoms Festival legacy trees to plant in that area.
Those special saplings – which originated in Tokyo and came through Washington, D.C. – have taken root in CA open space and grown into sturdy trees with white blossoms appearing each year. This year, BOH has added a commemorative plaque to the grove, and CA was proud to be part of that dedication.
“This dedication plays into our new BOH initiative to plant 3,700 Blossoms by 2025,” BOH Senior Director of Community Outreach and Events Vera Simmons said. “Through our efforts over the past 18 years, more than 2,700 Kwanzan cherry and Native Redbud trees have been planted in Howard County, including many on CA property. It is critical for us to work with partners such as CA so residents and tourists can enjoy the pink blossoms every spring.”
Lake Kittamaqundi is one of many sites where trees have been planted on CA open space. CA has also collaborated with BOH to bring trees to Lake Elkhorn, Wilde Lake and Symphony Woods.
“CA works every day to maintain our open space in ways that respect the land and create desirable places for our community to enjoy,” CA Open Space Operations Manager Jan Clark said. “It is truly special to add another layer of meaning to what grows in our open space, and we are pleased to work with BOH to both benefit the environment for years to come and raise awareness for important work happening in Columbia and Howard County.”
Inspiring through art
For the last 14 years, Columbia Art Center Director Liz Henzey has curated a collection of pink clad pieces every April, filling the gallery with art that reflects the spirit of Blossoms of Hope and its mission. The goal is to raise awareness for this community group through beautiful works of art.
“I love when art can impact positive change in the community or bring awareness to a worthy cause or service,” Henzey said. “To be able to provide a venue to showcase the talents of our community artists and to bring attention to a worthwhile local organization feels rewarding on so many levels. Artists really love creating art that can move people, inspire them, make them think, and lift their spirits.”
Themes of this annual exhibit have ranged from Cupcakes for Claudia to Haiku for Hope to pieces that incorporate quotes from Columbia founder James Rouse. This year, Henzey chose Bouquets and Baskets of Hope, featuring 123 artworks from more than 80 artists.
The exhibit is free and open to the public through April 28. Visitors are encouraged to vote for their favorite pieces.
“We have been meeting with CA’s Art Center team, and they’re helping create an exciting partnership between Blossoms, CA and other art galleries throughout the county,” 3,700 Blossoms by 2025 chair and BOH board member Becky Mangus said. “This is an incredible and unique partnership between Blossoms, CA, Visit Howard County, Howard Community College, Howard County Arts Council, and all the other county art galleries and programs. It is a first, and we appreciate CA coming on-board from the beginning with enthusiasm and total dedication.”
This is just one of CA’s many community partnerships! We welcome you to take the CA pathway and visit the Legacy Grove on the far side of Lake Kittamaqundi. Anyone is welcome to come out to the Bouquets and Baskets of Hope show at the Columbia Art Center through April 28. And of course, you can learn more about donating to or volunteering with BOH on their website.