By THOMAS SACCENTE – STAFF WRITER
Danville is home to a thriving community of artists and craftspeople. These are people who make it their lives’ goals to strive for a creative method to express in a way that is unique to their particular skill set and personal taste something entirely new.
These people come from a wide variety of backgrounds, ranging from professional artists to those who just do it as a hobby, and many of them are a part of the Centre College community.
Therefore, it only makes sense that Danville would welcome an event like the upcoming Downtown Gallery Hop.
The Downtown Gallery Hop is a critical part of Danville’s history and culture. Created around 20 years ago by the Arts Commission of Danville/Boyle County, the event is a biannual festival dedicated to celebrating all of the artistic talent the town and surrounding areas has to offer.
It is a festival in which nearly two-dozen businesses pool their resources and open their doors past their normal closing times to allow the viewers to see the works of local artists.
The core concept is that people are invited to visit a number of specific businesses in downtown called “Hop Stops” where various works of art will be held. Each Hop Stop will house a particular type of work, which will allow visitors to enrich themselves in a wide variety of different art before the night is out.
Visitors can view the exhibits in any order they choose, as well as partake in the drinks and snacks available. In some cases, they will also be able to interact with the artists themselves.
There will also be maps available so that people can choose what they want to see and where at any moment.
In the case of this year’s festival, on Fri., Nov. 14 at 5:30 p.m., 21 different businesses will feature the work of over 45 artists.
In addition to more traditional work, such as paintings, there will also be fiber art, woodworking, jewelry, and much more on display.
The performing arts will also be represented, as both the Danville Dulcimers and Centre College’s Moments in Motion Dance Club will be showcased at the Gallery Hop.
All of this has been made possible thanks to a generous grant given to the Arts Commission of Danville/Boyle County by Kentucky Utilities.
Executive Director of the Arts Commission Ann Nichols states that, more than anything, the festival allows for artists to share their work with a wide audience, providing them with a means through which to connect with the people of Danville that they could not otherwise do. She believes that the Gallery Hop will also give the citizens themselves the opportunity to get together and have fun as well.
“We don’t have galleries in Danville or in any other part of Boyle County,” Nichols said. “And so the Gallery Hop provides them the opportunity to display their work to the community, and hopefully sell their art as well. It’s also about people coming together in a downtown location, having a good time, and enjoying the evening.”
The Downtown Gallery Hop will succeed in bringing attention to the participating businesses and may introduce them to people who would not have gone into their store otherwise. In addition, their willingness to support the Gallery Hop will no doubt provide good publicity in the weeks to come.
However, more than anything else, the businesses that are participating in the Gallery Hop are all doing this in order to express their own support for local artists.
One of the businesses that is a Hop Stop is the Maple Tree Art Gallery on West Main Street, which sells a variety of products including customized picture frames, oil paintings, handmade wooden bowls, and offers an extensive lamp making/repairing service.
Owner of the Maple Tree Gallery Julie Nelson says that she wants to participate in the Downtown Gallery Hop in order to give exposure to artists who have not had a chance to get it in any other way.
“Since our business relies so heavily on the work of local artists, we wanted to be a part of the Gallery Hop in order to expose their work to people who perhaps haven’t had a chance to see them,” Nelson said. “We also hope that someone will see the work of a local artist or two and buy some of it as a holiday gift.”
The Downtown Gallery Hop is a fantastic Danville tradition. It is a complete, unadulterated celebration of the talented artists who have taken the time and effort to manifest their talent in ways that a wide audience can appreciate.
Not only that, but the talent that will be on display at this festival will vary greatly and offer something that even people who aren’t normally interested in local art to enjoy.
Everybody is welcome to come to downtown to take in some great art by local artists and just generally have fun with one another.