By Stephanie Choate
Williston sculptors, painters, photographers and creative minds joined the hundreds of artists who displayed their work at the 21st annual South End Art Hop last weekend.
The Art Hop is Vermont’s largest weekend of visual arts, with more than 500 participating artists. Approximately 30,000 people wandered the studios, galleries and businesses decked out with local works in Burlington’s South End, taking in art created by professionals and amateurs alike. Live music and plentiful food trucks create a festival atmosphere.
“It’s one of the biggest art events of the year,” said Williston artist Lorraine Reynolds. “Over the five years I have participated it has given my work huge exposure to a broad range of viewers and helped me to connect with other members of the vital arts community in the Burlington area.”
Reynolds had four pieces scattered throughout venues in the South End. She also helped organize Burton Snowboard’s employee show.
“I often teach assemblage workshops and find many of my materials at the local dump, thrift stores, flea markets and of course, Duane Merrill’s auction house, here in Williston,” Reynolds wrote in an email to the Observer. “In fact much of my work is about recycling, repurposing and reusing materials.”
Artistic talent seems to run in the family. Reynolds’ sons, Henry, 18, and Jackson, 11, also displayed work in the event.
Henry Reynolds, who graduated from Champlain Valley Union High School in the spring, is taking a year off to work on his art. Jack Reynolds displayed a monochromatic self-portrait.
Dennis Healy—a Williston resident who works on snowboard graphics by day—had a large piece in the Burton display, as well as a collaborative piece at another venue. Healy described his artistic style as abstract and geometric, at the moment.
He has been participating in Art Hop for approximately half a dozen years, and is a board member for the South End Arts and Business Association, which hosts Art Hop.
“It’s been a great experience,” he said. “It brings the community together. It doesn’t limit being creative to a certain few, anyone can be a part of it. I think that’s a really good motivating factor overall, to let people forget about their daily grind and be creative in their own way.”
The Burton show featured work from nearly 20 employees—the creative team as well as those involved in the finance and business side.
“We’re a very creative company, but not all aspects of what people do are creative, so we wanted to open that up to everybody and it’s been great every year we’ve done it,” Healy said.
The Art Hop’s thousands of viewers strolled past Forrest White’s two outdoor sculptures, while his wife, Erika White, had three pieces displayed at SoYo Frozen Yogurt.
Forrest White, who has been a mason for 13 years, created two stone mosaics out of reclaimed wood and Champlain Valley stone.
“Like a writer with an unfolding story, the stones are my characters and they need a story teller to narrate,” Forrest White wrote in an email to the Observer. “My designs are based on geometry and the stones I’m using. The mosaics are interior and exterior pieces. My goal is to bring stone accents inside, really starting at the interior design phase, to recess the mosaics into walls or for them to be the wall itself.”
Erika White, an art teacher at Shelburne Community School, said it was a summer goal to create work for Art Hop.
“My work is mostly abstract,” she said. “Usually it’s influenced by nature, but for these particular paintings I was more focused on color and geometric shapes,” she said.
This is her fifth year participating in Art Hop.
“I just think it’s a great event,” she said. “It brings many artists from this area together. It’s a real celebration of the arts community we have in this part of Vermont and it’s just a lot of fun. It’s a lot of fun to walk around and see other people’s work and a great place to be influenced.”