By: Lorraine Austin
Discover Kalamazoo, Communication & New Media Coordinator
Kalamazoo, Mich. — Art Hop is tonight, and it’s one of the great things to do in Kalamazoo.
Usually held the first Friday of the month, July’s Hop is scheduled for the 9th because of the holiday. I’d highly recommend it as something you can do alone, with friends or with family that’s a) fun b) free c) interactive d) a superb way to explore our downtown. And you don’t have to characterize yourself as an “artist” to really enjoy it.
If it were up to me, I might just tweak the name a bit. Art Hop sounds a bit frantic and perky. I get the reference . . . hopping from one spot to another. In my opinion, it’s actually more of an Art Saunter, perhaps an Art Glide – because what happens between stops is just as important to the whole experience as the designated stops themselves. Folks frolic on the Mall as street musicians’ tunes permeate the air. Residents and visitors share critiques of what they’ve seen/where they should go next. It really seems like everyone who’s out and about on an Art Hop night enjoy a sort of kinetic kinship. It’s not only okay to chat with folks you don’t know, it’s expected. Friends and family from out of town always come away thinking that Kalamazoo really GETS the idea of community.
Not to minimize the actual designated stops . . .
A few months ago, I invited my sister, who is a professional artist, to go hopping with me. She really appreciated the access to the artists – all of whom were very willing to share information on techniques and materials. They seemed as interested in her endeavors as she was in theirs. What a treat for her to find others with similar aesthetics. I, of course, usually glazed over midway through their mutual admiration – but that was okay. I meandered to discover another piece on display or nabbed a glass of wine or tasty nibble (yes, many of the stops offer edible treats in addition to those for the eyes).
If you’re headed to this Friday’s Art Hop, we’d love to hear about it. Which stop did you like best? Tell us about an experience you had outside of the designated Hop sites. Visit the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo for more information about Art Hop.