Why do you attend art walks?
Why do you go to an art walk? For me, there are many reasons. The most notable one is that I enjoy art. Yet, an art walk is a resource for many things. It can simply be a social activity: meeting and catching up with friends, a cultural event to feed our soul, or an activity in conjunction with other plans, such as dining out. But art walks offer so much more. They provide an opportunity to learn about art, artists and their processes for creating art. The sheer fact that there’s a cluster of artist studios and galleries in a central location allows for individuals to compare and contemplate various styles of art nearly side-by-side. We can discover within ourselves why we find a particular work of art to be exquisite and another not. I find art walks to be a great avenue for strengthening our knowledge about art and the more we know and understand, the better equipped we are to appreciate and value art.
Sunday, I drove to Boston to spend the day in the SoWa Art & Design District. SoWa is an acronym for South of Washington. The SoWa Art & Design District guide book describes the district as,
“…a vibrant community of artist studios, contemporary art galleries, one-of-a-kind boutiques, design showrooms, restaurants, and entrepreneurs unified by a passion for creating and curating exceptional artworks, products and experiences. Once known as a parcel of neglected warehouses in Boston’s South End, the SoWa Art & Design District has experienced a dramatic renaissance, blossoming into a world renowned retail & arts community that includes the famous SoWa Open Market, the SoWa Vintage Market, and a fashionable residential neighborhood.”
I met my friend, Gina, for brunch and then we set out to enjoy one of our favorite activities, visiting as many studios as possible. I knew it wouldn’t be hard to find at least a few extraordinary artists among the one hundred plus who rent studio space in SoWa. While there were many whose work I enjoyed, a few stood out. I enjoyed Jennifer Ellwood’s abstract paintings and David Kasman’s sculptures. Had Kasman’s studio not been buzzing with people eagerly wanting to learn about his process, I would have loved to chat with him. I couldn’t take my eye off of Beth Dacey’s oil paintings. Dacey describes her process, “Each painting begins with a vintage black and white photograph that captures an incidental moment in time. The shadows, poses, and fragments from an unknowable past feel compelling to me; and while I paint from a record of someone else’s gaze, the images pass through me and become mine.”
Our last visit was a studio and an artist who left a lasting impression on me. I describe this kind of artist as “having the whole package.” Yes, of course I want art to move me, have it stir something within me to make me think deeply about the artist’s message or make me search for why it makes me come alive, feel emotion, or why it takes my breath away. Yet, I want the artist herself to be intriguing. I found Mae Chevrette to be this whole package. Chevrette’s life story is fascinating. She’s from Seattle and came to the East Coast for college. And, although Mae took her area of study and went into the workforce, she ultimately changed directions and is focusing entirely on her art career. It’s an admirable quality and takes guts. Chevrette is a self-taught mixed media artist whose paintings begin with a backdrop of her photography work combined with layering of objects and vintage paper giving her final piece a lightly textured quality and appearance.
It was an art walk I’m glad to have attended. If you’re in the Kennebunkport area, our art walk begins June 9th. Check out the Exhibitions and Events page for dates and time. The Sharpe Gallery will be exhibiting artwork at the Nonantum Resort during the art walk. See you there!