Artful harmony: Gallery Hop Stop event returns to bring artists, community together
The Gallery Hop Stop has been around since 2004, spreading artful wares around downtown Danville by local artists, but this year there’s a few new things happening.
First and foremost, after Ann Nichols retired as executive director of the Arts Commission of Danville/Boyle County, Mimi Becker has now taken the torch.
“To me, the arts do record who we are through time. The arts are absolutely a priority,” said Becker, a retired teacher. “We’ve got it all here in Danville and Boyle County.” Becker said getting artists to be more prevalent in the community, in businesses, even in governmental agencies is her goal.
“Promotion of the arts is a huge part of the commission. Not to mention, supporting our young artists — in 4-H, for example — is so incredibly important.”
Becker says the Boyle County Public Library, as always, has been tremendous to the commission in its support of the hop. This year, the library will host three artists — Allen Arth (oils), Jack Cochran (oils) and Sandy Wells (jewelry) — and leads the Gallery Hop as the first stop on the list.
Venue changes, additions
“This may be a block away from Main Street, where I know several hoppers like to roam, but trust me — this stop is well worth it.”
“The library has been a Gallery Hop Stop from the very beginning, which started on another beautiful November evening years ago,” says the library’s director, Georgia de Araujo. She says in just reminiscing, she recalls the building filled that night with amazing artwork, all from local residents. “And I believe 300 people walked through the library to see it all. We love being able to display the work of local folks—there is so much talent here.”
The gallery hops are always a joyful thing, de Araujo says. “People enjoy themselves, visit with friends, meet new people. And of course, there is the art! It is painting and sculpture, jewelry and fiber, music and dance, storytelling and photography—these are the things that the artists are passionate about. You can’t help but respond to that. That’s why celebrating the arts is an important part of our community. What a wonderful means of making connections!”
A brand new venue joining this year is Danville Bike & Footwear, who will host Pat Williams (fiber art) and Harry Jorgenson, a photographer exhibiting for the first time in the Gallery Hop.
“I had two different groups of people tell me I should get him to join. People will not be disappointed, his photographs are unbelievable,” Becker says.
Artist John Andrew Dixon will open up his studio this year, Dixon Designs.
“We’ve been active boosters of the Arts Commission’s Gallery Hop Stop since the beginning. It’s exciting to see downtown Danville come alive in the evening, when businesses and artists join to greet art lovers in the community,” Dixon says. “Since we have a downtown business, a working studio, and a small gallery at Dixon Design, we’re delighted to once again open our site to the public as part of this popular event.”
Another new exhibitor is Gavin Mahon, also a photographer and the grandson of artist Tillie Sowders.
“I’m nervous, but excited to be in the Gallery Hop,” Mahon says, who will be showing at Tye Financial Group, alongside his grandmother with her oils. He says it will be a learning experience for him — and a chance to get honest opinions about his work.
“As far as what the community can expect, my photos are for the outdoorsmen and nature lovers. I do not use Photoshop or any other editing for my pictures,” Mahon says. “I rely on natural lighting for all of my photos.”
Another new addition this year is a Gallery Hop scavenger hunt, printed on each of the hop stop maps which are available at all designated stops marked with purple flags. There will be 19 questions in total, one for each stop. Becker says participants will need to talk to the artists to get answers, complete the questionnaire and leave it at the last stop they visit.
Those who complete it will be entered into drawings for tickets to Norton Center and West T. Hill Community Theatre shows.
Hopefully, this will increase the amount of interactions between the public and the artists, she says.
Becker says the community is fortunate to have such an amazing pool of artists to participate in the hops. “And we’re quite fortunate to get the grant from Kentucky Utilities. That helps make it all possible, because we simply could not do it without them.”
Several artists from multiple mediums will be returning: author Robert Powell with a new coloring book released; Paul Muth with pottery; Donna Forgacs with oils; Jane Brantley with photos; and many more.
“The community support is a part of a two-way street,” says artist Sowders. “This involves the interaction between the viewer and the artists, but also the artists making the community aware of what the art world has to offer in awareness and art appreciation.”
“Due to the multiple artists within the two exhibits at the Community Arts Center, we will have more than 49 artists’ work involved in this hop, with 19 stops.” Becker said this year, she listed eateries, as well, to steer as many as possible into downtown merchants. “We want people to get the whole experience, and that includes the fabulous restaurants we have.”
Sowders says the Arts Commission has supported artists in Danville, to put it on the map for commerce. “I’ve been involved in the Gallery Hop since its beginning. Also, the Community Arts Center has been a vital avenue for support and encouragement for artists in Danville and surrounding areas. The Gathering Artists group in Danville has been around for decades — this rich history of artists and art in Danville deserves and appreciates the support of the community.”
SO YOU KNOW
A new exhibit, Plein Air Artists at Constitution Square, will also open at the McKinney Center, where the offices for the Danville/Boyle County Arts Commission are housed. An opening reception will be 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday, the night before the hop. The exhibit features the group’s work from its painting day on Sept. 19.
Gallery Hop Stops and artists
• Boyle County Public Library: Allen Arth (oils;) Jack Cochran (oils); Sandy Wells (jewelry)
• Dixon Design: John Andrew Dixon (mixed media)
• Community Arts Center: Horizon, Contemporary Landscape; Gathering Artists, Limited Palette; Brandon Long (mixed media); Catherine Thomsen (ceramics)
• Art of Danville: Sam Davis Johnson (mixed media); Marlene Hanna (oils); Ron Bower (oils); Sylvia Bower (watercolors); Allan Crain (oils); Geri Trinler (photography); Betty Davenport (acrylics)
• Danville Bike & Footwear: Pat Williams (fiber art); Roni Gilpin (acrylics); Harry Jorgensen (photography)
• Vestiary: Susan Black (photography); Pat Fretz (watercolors)
• Jane Barleycorn: Mark Wilhelm (mixed media)
• Trinity Episcopal Church: Jo Adams (notebooks, bowties, rings); Tony Richardson (oils, sketches, color pencils); Diana Kestly (jewelry); Lisa Murphy (fiber art)
• A&L Accessories: April Koon ( photography); Connie Beale (collage); Cheryl Mays (jewelry)
• Centre College Bookstore: Mary Trollinger (photography); Robert Powell (pen and ink, author)
• Hub Coffee House and Café: Paul Muth (pottery); 4-H Club (mixed media)
• Maple Tree Gallery: Donna Forgacs (oils); Bobbie Gayle Lewis (acrylics); Andrea Akers (watercolors); Stacy may (acrylics)
• Plank: Barbara Lockhart (oils); Chris Conley (pottery); Judy Schaefer (oils)
• Cerci on Main: Jane Brantley (photography and note cards)
• Derby Shoppe and Raggs: Tom Lamp (watercolors); Rony Borgacs (jewelry); Virginia Robertson (acrylics)
• Tye Financial: Norman Green (acrylics); Tillie Sowders (oils, note cards, ornaments); Gavin Mahan (photography)
• Pies for You: Kevin Greer (photography); Jacquie Woodward (acrylics)
• Out There Photography: Bob Gundy (acrylic)
• Carol’s Bridal: Paula Lanham (fiber art)
•Edward Jones: Bill Griffin (photography)