Hopewell Tour Des Arts, Artists Studio Tour Is Scheduled For September 25 and 26
ARTIST AT WORK: Guy Ciarcia is shown putting the final touches on his mixed media sculpture. An acclaimed artist known for a wide variety of work in many genres, he will be participating in the Hopewell Tour Des Arts, scheduled for this weekend. His studio will be one of the 14 locations on the Tour.
By Jean Stratton
An event with artists, by artists, and for artists” is how Sean Mannix describes the upcoming Hopewell Tour Des Arts.
Scheduled for September 25 and 26, the annual event is unique. It offers a format in which the public not only can enjoy exhibited art, but also view artists at work in their studio and learn about their creative endeavors.
As director of the Tour and owner of Highland Design Farm at 159 Van Dyke Road in Hopewell (one of the Tour locations), Mannix is also one of the participants. His focus is metalworking, and his farm will be the showcase for a number of the artists.
Photographer and musician Grant Peterson, one of the participants and also a member of the Tour committee, emphasizes the importance of the chance to see artists in their own surroundings.
“This is a great thing for the public to be able to see the artists in their working environment. This is one of the things that is so special about our Tour. People love to be able to talk with the artists about their work.”
This year marks the 14th annual Tour, and it is a proud moment for all involved. Growing from a one day event in 2007 with 20+ artists to two days, with 33 area artists exhibiting, it now attracts several hundred people of all ages who come to experience the art and to enjoy Hopewell itself.
Two of the Tour’s early organizers were jewelry designer and goldsmith Beth Judge and Ruth Morpeth, owner of Morpeth Contemporary. Judge’s studio at 20 Seminary Road and Morpeth’s art gallery at 43 West Broad Street, both in Hopewell, will be stops on the Tour.
“Our goal was to showcase local artists who were tucked away in their studios, and for people to see what was happening in their own backyards,” explains Judge. “These studios are in homes, basements, garages, a historic grange building, converted chicken coups, barns, etc.
“We also thought this would be a great draw for the local businesses such as the restaurants and retail stores. Hopewell is a gem, and we thought the Tour would be a great way to showcase that.
“I was on the Economic Development Committee, along with Ruth and a few other local business people. Ruth and I ran with it, and Ruth asked Sean Mannix to join us.”
“At the time, I had recently been traveling, and saw an artist studio advertised in an Adirondack magazine,” adds Ruth Morpeth. “Operating an art gallery since 1996, I was aware of how many artists resided in this area, and thus knew how well-suited Hopewell was for an event such as this. That being said, Judge and Mannix have been the ones who have kept it going over the years.
“I think it has been very positive for the artists. I have participated each year to support the event. The creative community comes together this weekend for the Tour, and the real interest is seeing the artists in their working environment.”
The early hope for the Tour has been realized, as the event is highly anticipated, and now includes an array of creative works: painting, photography, jewelry, sculpture, wood turning, collage, mixed media, and more.
Many of the artists have taken part in a number of Tours, and new contributors join each year as well, reports Mannix. “These are committed artists, and we also encourage up and coming talent. Being able to see the artists with the tools they work with, and see how the creative works can develop from the artists’ imagination and then be realized is something special about our Tour, and also for the public’s enjoyment.”
The Tour is both a walking and driving event, he adds, and visitors can obtain a map, marking all the locations, at the historic Hopewell Train Station at 2 Railroad Place. The locations are also available on the Tour website at hopewelltourdesarts.com.
“People can walk or drive to the artists’ studios and the exhibits,” says Mannix. “A number of the locations are in town, such as Morpeth Contemporary, the Beth Ann Designs studio, and the train station. Other locations, though not too far afield, are a bit of a distance, and more easily reached by car.”
In addition to the art, this year’s event will feature music, notes Peterson. “We will have three bands at the Highland Design Farm location. These include Chris Harford, Nylon Jennings, Martin Goldberg, Curbside Solutions, Greg Merkle, and Grant Peterson. We will also have a roaming poet.
“People who come like to bring their families, and it can be a nice outing for everyone. It’s a real opportunity to enjoy the town’s many highlights.”
Indeed, the benefits of the Tour extend to the town, as well as to the artists and the public, points out Judge. “The most important benefit to Hopewell is to bring people to the town and patronize local businesses. It helps to put Hopewell on the map as a destination with so much to offer.
“The most important benefit to the artists is the exposure, support, and feedback. And the most important benefit to the public is to see where the magic happens, personally meet the artists, and learn what goes into creating their art.
“Personally, I always look forward to meeting new people who might not have found me otherwise. An event like this helps develop new clients and a wider exposure for my work.”
Morpeth agrees that one of the goals of the Tour “was to bring attention to the town. It has been a successful event for 14 years, and hopefully will be for many years to come.”
Months of Planning
Preparation for the Tour takes several months of planning, reports Mannix, and everyone involved is focused on the organizing efforts,
The exhibited work is for sale, and the Tour is free to the public. Artists pay an entrance fee to participate.
“Meeting the people, both the artists and the visitors, is my biggest pleasure,” says Peterson, and adds Mannix, “I enjoy seeing all the projects, and I love seeing all the local art around.”
“Sean hosts an after-Tour social for participating artists and their families, which gives everyone the opportunity to share their experience,” points out Morpeth.
“We do have a ‘cast’ party on Saturday night,” he explains “We invite all the participating artists, as well as other professionals from the area. That is a lot of creativity in one room!”
The Tour will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, September 25 and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, September 26. For further information and a list of all the artists and locations, visit hopewelltourdesarts.com or email email@example.com.