Westerville Art Hop to showcase local artists and provide affordable entertainment for students

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Artists in fields ranging from pottery to painting will come together on the second annual Westerville Art Hop Saturday. Credit: Courtesy of Ken Wright

Local artists will come together to showcase their talents and sell their art at the second Westerville show Art Hop Saturday.

The event, organized by Downtown Westervillean organization that aims to bring tourism and business to Westerville will take place from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and will include 40 artists and more than 30 locations on North State Street, said Lynn Aventino, executive director of Uptown Westerville. The Art Hop is free for all and will feature food trucks, Designated outdoor refreshment areas and live music in select stores.

“The Art Hop was created to introduce people in the greater community to the artistry of Westerville and the historic downtown shops they might not have visited before,” Aventino said.

Shops and galleries along the Strip, including Original Amish furniture and Inspired – Fine Arts Gallery, will assign a portion of their space to featured Central Ohio artists to display their work, Aventino said. Attendees will be able to dine at food trucks, such as Donna’s Delicious Dozen and Soft little ladiesand other restaurants along the uptown strip.

“Local businesses really support our economy, our community that we live in, so the whole cycle of keeping our money where we live helps us instead of sending our money to the bigger corporations,” Aventino said.

Various artistic mediums will be represented during the Art Hop, including tapestries, paintings, pottery, children’s book illustrations and more, according to the Uptown Westerville website. Artist Don Wilkins said he works with an art form called reverse glass painting, which involves painting on the back of the glass so the image pops out the other side.

“It gives me a creative outlet that I need,” Wilkins said. “It’s almost like I have to. And I also feel like I’m contributing something; like it was productive, like people could appreciate it.

Due to the pandemic, Westerville has been unable to hold an Art Hop since 2019, which Wilkins says has caused a buildup of artistic talent. He said the previous Art Hop was a great opportunity for artists to share their passion and sell their work.

“It was a disappointment that we didn’t have one for two years,” Wilkins said. “I think there’s a whole bunch of pent up artistic talent that just hasn’t been allowed out. It’s a bit like musicians. If you’ve been to a music concert lately, they’re almost dizzy to be on stage because they haven’t been on stage in two years.

Wilkins said one of the things he missed most about the Westerville Art Hop was the ability to foster a love of art in members of the community who might be inspired by the event.

“My favorite part of 2019 was having discussions with young people, kids, 10s, 12s, 14s and other artists just starting out,” Wilkins said. “Having these conversations is kind of cultivating the next generation, even if someone in their 60s says they really want to get back into art.”

In addition to art hops and festivals, Uptown Westerville orchestrates events such as biscuit and chocolate walks and Fourth Friday Festivalswhich are fair-like events that take place every fourth Friday of the month, from May through October, Aventino said.

The organization is also looking for ways to include Ohio State students in its events, with the Women in Engineering Program at Ohio State participated in a fourth past Friday to help children build miniature helicopters, she said.

“There are so many great free events like Fourth Friday where students can come and spend their day without having to spend any money. They can if they want to, but I think it’s a nice little hub,” Aventino said. “We would like to see more OSU students.”

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