“HopArts has always been a relaxing and lovely drive to discover new artists and reconnect with favorites,” says Barbara Capalbo, an event sponsor of the grassroots arts organization’s annual Studio Trail event, held this year October 14-15 at locations in Ashaway, Carolina, Hope Valley, Richmond, Rockville, and Wyoming. “Take a picnic lunch or find a small cafe, wander the artists’ galleries, ask questions, buy presents, or just admire their creations.
HopArts is a calm island in a busy life.”
Now in year 17, this free, self-guided driving tour winds its way through Hopkinton, Richmond, and the surrounding vicinity and villages, bringing patrons into the studios and workspaces of nearly 30 participating local and visiting artists working in various mediums, from weaving and quilting to painting, pottery, and more. In its first year 15 artists opened their homes and studios to the public, and thanks to great press and high attendance, that number doubled by the next year; one studio owner recorded about 450 visitors over the weekend.
“I look forward to this every year,” says Hopkinton resident Norbet Ansay, Jr. “We have so many artists in the area that create amazing work. It’s a privilege to be able to watch demonstrations of their techniques and discuss their creative process. I have collected artworks for myself as well as gifts for the holidays.”
“I feel truly honored to be part of the studio trail,” says Sherri Desjardins, a self-taught painter working in oil and cold wax, who conducts paint and sip classes at her Village Place Studio & Gallery in Hope Valley. “Being on the trail has been wonderful. I have sold many pieces and gained exposure to a new audience.”
Among the many highlights of each day is visiting the properties, some of which have interesting pasts. Joyce Hoffman is a fiber artist who operates her studio out of the old Rockville Post Office. She bought the rundown building in 2013 from Narragansett Tribal Elder Eleanor Dove. “I still have the post office boxes inside. Many people stop in and remember it as a post office and little general store,” says Hoffman who uses the space for weaving, macrame, and knitting. “The space does have electricity and heat but no running water, only the brook outside which flows down from Wincheck Pond.”
“We have a lot of really nice people come,” Hoffman says of the event. “We serve refreshments and conduct a raffle. I’ll raffle off a piece of my weaving, and my friend Christine Davidson, an acrylic paint pouring artist, will raffle off a painting.”
“Being part of the HopArts Studio Trail for the past 10 years has been wonderful,” says quilter Barbara Murphy, who welcomes folks to her Captivating Notions Studio, a former garage, on Main Street in Hope Valley. “The artists involved are a diverse and talented group and their enthusiasm is contagious.”
“HopArts continues to grow and build community by promoting the arts and supporting local artists,” says Marci Redinger, HopArts Board of Directors president. “I’m proud to be a part of this organization and excited to have six new artists join us this year.” For maps and additional information, visit HopArts.org
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