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Art Exhibition Related to Native Plants at AIC

Rowan College of South Jersey’s (RCSJ) Arts & Innovation Center (AIC, 321 N. High St., Millville ) is hosting an artist exhibition and native plant sale. The “Fragrant Spring: Art Exhibition Related to Native Plants” exhibit is on display through May 28, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m.

Donna Mason-Sweigart and Dr. Jennifer Kitson, Rowan University faculty members, collaborated on this exhibit which explores the role of scent for people, plants, and pollinators through sensual engagements with botanical fragrance and art objects. The fragrant native plant sale features seven trillium varieties, an endangered spring ephemeral, and other examples of our bioregional olfactory heritage.

Mason-Sweigart, associate professor and department chairperson at the University, is an artist whose research ranges from 3D modeled and printed functional object installation to large-scale body adornment and fashion.

Kitson, associate professor, Rowan University, is a cultural geographer who studies social and environmental issues through sensory and aesthetic experience.

“Native trillium are threatened with extinction due to human development and invasive species (predation and competition),” said Kitson. “[They] are some of the first native wildflowers to emerge and bloom in the spring. The unique and complex floral fragrances of trillium are our olfactory heritage, yet they are also vanishing scents of place and seasonality in Lenapehoking.”

Jackie Sandro, director of Fine Arts and Clay College, RCSJ, senses the Fragrant Spring exhibit and fragrant native plant sale will be a delightful experience for attendees.

“The exhibit is beautiful,” she said. “There are 3-D printed trillium and laser cut leaves occupying one corner of the gallery. It is sublime!”

Sandro was also excited to reveal this is the first AIC exhibit that delves into the sensory experience. “The show is interdisciplinary in that it brings environmental science, technology, and fine art together, educating the viewer in a positive and non-intimidating way…through visuals, scents, and tastes,” she added.

“We hope attendees leave this exhibit inspired to savor the fragrance of native plants … and contribute in some small way to cultivating critical wildlife habitat,” said Kitson, who also advised people to “stop and smell the anise hyssop.”

The professors, who according to Kitson, can be found “unabashedly stopping to smell the proverbial roses,” are looking forward to the exhibit.

“We are hoping to attract avid native plant gardeners to the space and educate folks interested in art about scent and biodiversity,” Kitson said.

For more information about the Arts & Innovation Center of Rowan College of South Jersey, visit