Bonsai exhibit coming to Gray Fossil Site - WFLA News Channel 8

Bonsai exhibit coming to Gray Fossil Site

JOHNSON CITY – The Mid-Appalachian Bonsai Kai (MABK) Invitational Bonsai Exhibit will again be displayed at the East Tennessee State University and General Shale Natural History Museum and Visitor Center at the Gray Fossil Site. The ninth annual exhibition will be shown Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 7-8, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. in the museum's Education Center. 

On Saturday, Sept. 7, at 10 a.m., bonsai artist Owens Reich will lead a workshop for experienced bonsai workers. Attendees must bring their own trees. The cost of the workshop is $75. At 2 p.m., he will demonstrate the art of bonsai styling.  Reich completed a formal, two-year apprenticeship in Japan at the Fujikawa Kouka-en Nursery in Ikeda City.

Reich will critique entries and present awards on Sunday, Sept. 8.  Awards include "Best in Show," "Best Shohin" (small), "Best Chuuhin" (medium) and "Best Ogata" (large).  Visitors to the gallery will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite tree to win the "People's Choice" award.  A "Peers' Choice" award, voted upon by show participants, will also be given.

Dr. Karl Joplin, associate professor in ETSU's Department of Biological Sciences and bonsai event organizer, encourages the community to come out for this special weekend exhibition. 

"The MABK bonsai show is one of several held in the region, but due to the museum's excellent facilities and the quality of the trees, the public has the opportunity to see some truly outstanding examples of the many facets involved in the art of bonsai," Joplin said.

Essential bonsai supplies, trees and pottery will be offered by vendors for those who wish to begin pursuing the hobby.  A silent auction that includes various bonsai and garden-related items will be held during the exhibit and will close on Sunday at 2 p.m.  Proceeds will benefit the MABK, and all winners must be present.

Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for children. The museum is located 1.8 miles from exit 13 on Interstate 26.  The museum will return to a winter schedule after Labor Day, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.  For more information, or special assistance for those with disabilities, call toll-free at (866) 202-6223 or visit

Additional information on the exhibit or local bonsai groups is available by contacting Joplin at (423) 439-6921 or

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