Paris, France, may be better known for its impressive works of art, but Paris, Kentucky, aims to follow a mere brushstroke behind.
Christi Fish, Paris’ Main Street program manager, says the Downtown Paris ART WALK is a free, self-guided tour featuring up to 40 artists. Maps are provided to pinpoint which shops feature local artwork, but venues are also festooned with green balloons.
“Wherever there’s a balloon, that’s where you know you’re on the right track,” Fish says.
Art walks and gallery hops are cropping up statewide to promote artists and their work, attracting visitors to historic downtown areas and merchants, and giving locals and visitors a chance to socialize and appreciatively view or purchase original works.
Lynne Ferguson is an artist in residence at The Kentucky Library and Museum at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green. Ferguson says the Bowling Green Gallery Hop is held five Fridays a year, with artist demonstrations at some sites.
“We just want people to know we are here,” Ferguson says. “That’s really what we’re wanting the gallery hop to do, give them something free and fun to do on Fridays.”
Ginny Rollins coordinates the Richmond Art Walk, which celebrated its third year in 2009 in downtown Richmond and the Eastern Kentucky University area. The self-guided, free tour has artist demonstrations, refreshments, and live music at some destinations.
Rollins explains their goal for the art walk is to publicize local art and help the community as a whole.
“I think that communities are just wanting to have activities to draw people to their downtown areas–it helps tourism and helps the local economy,” she says.
The fledgling two-day Cynthiana Art Walk will be held for the second time in late July 2010 with the theme Small Town, Big Art, says Cynthiana Arts Council President Karen Bear. The free self-guided downtown area tour has, aside from a sampling of the works of artists from across the region, an assortment of wines, cheese, and live music for the adult set on its scheduled Friday evening, while Saturday’s events are family-friendly with children’s activities.
With the 3M company a major employer there, it’s only fitting that a Post-it Notes fashion contest is included, with outfits made entirely of the colorful sticky notes, Bear says.
“It was a huge success,” she says. “It was well-attended and I think it’s going to be even bigger next year.”
In Danville, Ann Nichols, executive director of The Arts Commission of Danville/Boyle County, says the Gallery Hop Stop began in 2004 and is held twice a year, averaging about 50 featured artists.
“We have everything from glass to pottery to acrylics and oils to fiber arts, woodworking, felting, you name it,” Nichols says.
She says it’s a misconception that someone must purchase a work of art in some exotic location to have a breathtaking masterpiece.
“We could do that at home because our artists are just as talented,” Nichols says.
Bowling Green Gallery Hop
Cynthiana Art Walk
Danville Gallery Hop Stop
Downtown Paris ART WALK
Richmond Art Walk
More Gallery Hops
Downtown Bardstown Walk, Talk & Gawk
(800) 638-4877 ext. 5
Self-guided walking tour, April 16-17; Friday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. Begins on Third Street in front of courthouse.
Lexington’s Downtown Gallery Hop
2010 dates are 2/19, 4/16, 6/18, 9/17, 11/19. About 40 sites. Free, self-guided, walking. Brochures with maps available. Refreshments at some locations.
Frankfort Avenue Trolley Hop
Last Friday of each month. Hours vary by participating business.
Louisville’s First Friday Trolley Hop
Along Main and Market streets, 5-11 p.m. Can board at any trolley stop on route. Brochures at listed galleries.
Covington’s First Friday Gallery Hop
Arts District, 6-10 p.m. every first Friday of the month, at galleries and venues throughout Covington. Maps at Artisans Enterprise Center, 25 W. 7th Street.
Paducah’s Second Saturdays
LowerTown Artists Studio/Gallery Walk, second Saturday of each month, 12-8 p.m. Go to Web site under Events, then Second Saturdays for more information.
Lebanon Art Hop
Free, go online for 2010 date and info.