Friday, 26 April 2013 09:54

Hop Into Art

Written by  Alexandra Fluegel
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Kalamazoo Art Hop 
Downtown Kalamazoo

May 5, 5 p.m. Free 
kalamazooarts.org

Discovering an area's artful offerings can be challenging, whether you're a first-time visitor or a longtime resident. Questions of where to go and what to see abound, but there's one type of event that can easily help provide some answers: a gallery hop.

Gallery hops are community events put together through partnerships between area businesses, artists and organizations with the aim to createan evening of culture, commerce and entertainment. One of the longest-running gallery hops is Kalamazoo's Art Hop, which is celebrating its sixteenth year. Held the first Friday of each month, Art Hop brings droves of people into the downtown area to experience what it has to offer.

Four times a year, Art Hop expands to include more galleries and more businesses, and the second of these expanded evenings take place this month. 53 stops are included on the May 5th event that will run from 5-9p.m.all throughout downtown Kalamazoo.

"Our May event is one of the largest," said Beth McCann, deputy director of the Kalamazoo Area Arts Council, which coordinates the art hops. "We include more of the downtown community, the merchants, restaurants, salons, all kinds of folks."

McCann said the art hops began with only three or four stops but over the years have blossomed into one of the main draws of the downtown area.

"The idea is to come into downtown Kalamazoo, park your car, grab a brochure, and hop from place to place," she said.

Brochures are available at any of the stops and help visitors navigate where they will go and what to expect. McCann said the hops, is a great opportunity for people to try out new places and create an entire evening of activities, including dinner and live music.

Participating artists open their studios, allowing the community to not only see and discuss the work, but also get a sense of where they create their pieces. McCann said this month's hop features a handful of artists that haven't participated before, and the range of mediums will include unique offerings such as bonsai art and glass blowing.

"We try and have something that will appeal to everyone," she said.

For additional fun, Art Hop hosts the free Chalk It Up, which will turn Kalamazoo Mall into a giant chalk mural. Reservations are not required, but they are encouraged for any groups that want to create their art in specific areas. Judges will select first and second place winners and will award $100 and $50 prizes.


OTHER ART EVENTS

GRPS City Wide Art Show
UICA
May 12-19
Free for exhibiting students and their families
uica.org, (616) 454-7000

There's nothing quite like a child's imagination, the fruits of which can often be seen clinging to the refrigerators of proud parents. Now there's an opportunity to check out some of what Grand Rapids' youngest artists have been creating throughout the past year, and you can expect much more than finger paintings. The annual spring exhibition highlights the talents of students from 75 K-12 Grand Rapids Public Schools, an eclectic mix of more than 350 works ranging in medium.

Annual Student Exhibition Week
Kendall College of Art and Design
Opening Reception May 7, 4-7p.m.
May 8-10, 9a.m.-9p.m.; May 11, 9a.m.-2p.m.
Free
kcad.edu, (800) 676-2787

Kendall College is home to a wellspring of talented, up-and-coming artists, and this exhibition is one of the few opportunities the community has to see the students' cutting-edge creations. This year's show takes place inside the Old Federal Building, giving the work one of the most beautiful and historical backdrops in Grand Rapids. Undergraduate work and graduate work is on display and ranges from oil painting to fashion design, and during the opening reception, many of the artists will be on hand to discuss their work.

Live Painting: Justin Kellner
LaFontsee Gallery
May 11, 12-3pm
Free
lafontsee.us, (616) 451-9820

Award-winning artist and Kendall College alumnus Justin Kellner's paintings will be on display through May 24, and for one afternoon he will be in the gallery creating a new piece. Kellner's current body of work contains mixed-media acrylic painting that focuses on the negative impact humankind has on various natural ecosystems, specifically the sulfide mining in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. This exhibition is Kellner's first solo show.

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