Creativity afoot in Concord Art Walk event
With the second annual Art Walk, Concord’s art and business communities are once again joining forces to showcase an aspect of the town often overshadowed by stellar shopping and historically significant locations.
“Concord was known for its art,” said Lili Ott, director of the Concord Art Association, which has been in town since 1917 and is an Art Walk sponsor.
Ott said, “That’s one of the things that over the years has been superseded by its literary and historical traditions, and even, more recently, the environmental movement. … It’s like a four-legged stool, and it’s nice to see that fourth leg get the recognition it deserves.”
The Art Walk will be held Saturday, June 14, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with activities spread among the town’s three hubs — Concord Center, the Thoreau Depot District and West Concord. Local artists and merchants will collaborate on displays throughout town in storefronts marked by colorful windsocks.
Maps will be available at the Concord Visitor Center to aid spectators in planning their strolls.
For local artists, the Art Walk provides an opportunity to get their work out into the community.
“I feel honored to be chosen. I’m thrilled — honored and thrilled,” said Margaret Sutton Wailes, a painter in residence at the Emerson Umbrella. “It’s sort of new and different. It’s decorative. It’s enticing. It encourages people to go out on an Art Walk, promoting exercise and getting people down into the Milldam and the Depot.”
Morwen Two Feathers, Emerson Umbrella’s Musketaquid program coordinator, said, “It’s so exciting to have this collaboration going on between the business community and the artists’ community. We’re featuring it this one weekend, but we’re building something that will go all year long.”
Work will be displayed at Barrett Real Estate, Carolyn’s Gourmet at 40ParkLane, Comina, Concord Art Association, Concord’s Colonial Inn, Concord Hand Designs, the Concord Visitor Center, Debra’s Natural Gourmet, Enclave, Fritz and Gigi, the Gatehouse, Lyn Evans for Potpourri Designs, Merlin’s Silver Star, The Muse’s Window Gallery, Perceptions, Sally Ann Food Shop and the Walden Grille.
The work of local photographers Nancy Roberts and Sing Hanson will be shown at Perception. Roberts is looking forward to collaborating with the storeowners on the display.
“They’re always really happy to have you,” said Roberts. “We don’t do it expecting to sell things. It’s just a nice partnership for Concord.”
Roberts said she would mainly show self-portraits, and perhaps some images of her children. “I’m not putting in my nudes,” she said. “I don’t think that would go over too well. I’m going to put in my romantic self-portraits.”
Demonstrations can be seen at Emerson Umbrella, the Concord Art Association, Concord Museum, Lacoste Gallery, Andrews and Andrews, Goldsmiths 3, Thoreauly Antiques, Merlin’s Silver Star, Frame-ables and Yoga & Nia for Life.
Goldsmiths 3, which has created fine and custom jewelry in town for more than two decades, held a demonstration last year, too, said Geraldine Kish Perry, one of the principals.
“We’re repeating what we did last year, because it was so much fun,” said Perry. “It’s a forging demonstration. Being that we make jewelry here on site, we thought we would take that outside and show people how we work with precious metal.”
Robert Fairbank, Goldsmiths’ other principal, brought a few hammers outside last year and made silver hoop earrings.
Perry said events like the Art Walk are good for drawing people out of the city and promoting Concord’s downtown areas.
“I think that Concord is very rich in small, independent businesses, a lot of whom are interested or associated with the arts, handmade, hand-crafted works of art, wearable works of art and also painting. It’s important for people to remember the richness of talent here in Concord,” Perry said. “There’s so much personality here, and I think, going around and looking at what people make — their labors of love. I think it is important to see that, at least annually. I would like to see the Art Walk, and more events like it, happen more frequently.”
The Concord Art Association, Chamber of Commerce, Emerson Umbrella for the Arts and The Muse’s Window Gallery of Fine Crafts are the sponsors of the Art Walk, with underwriting by local businesses.
The Art Walk came about after Karen Biow, owner of The Muse’s Window Gallery, suggested it to the Chamber of Commerce.
“The idea is to have businesses display work of local artists, to just promote the arts and have demonstrations,” Biow said. “It’s a really good way of promoting commerce in the town and supporting the arts.”
Stephanie Stillman, executive director of the Concord Chamber of Commerce, said the Art Walk is a little bigger this year, and has been moved up to June from July.
The Art Walk is part of the Chamber’s Shop Locally initiative, according to Stillman, who hopes the Walk will grow into “something that people think of doing in June in Concord.”
ConcordArts, a collaborative among the Emerson Umbrella Center for the Arts, the Concord Art Association, Friends of the Performing Arts in Concord (FOPAC) and the Concord Chamber of Commerce, arose out of the inaugural Art Walk.
In January, ConcordArts received a project-planning grant from the Adams Arts Program of the Massachusetts Arts Council to create a comprehensive calendar of arts and cultural events around town.