This Saturday, July 10, from 4 to 7 pm, you can walk a block and gain an entirely new perspective on what’s happening in the world of art on Martha’s Vineyard. The Arts District Stroll on Dukes County Avenue in Oak Bluffs offers art patrons an opportunity to view the diverse works of seven galleries and studios and more than 50 individual artists.
Now in its fourth year, the Stroll is scheduled twice this summer: July 10 and August 14, rain or shine. It’s a chance for the resident galleries and artists to unveil new works in a celebratory atmosphere, replete with live music and refreshments.
“It’s less about the red dot craze and more about an opportunity for people to gain awareness of the neighborhood. The Stroll attracts people who are really interested in the diversity of art,” says Michael Hunter, owner of PIKNIK Fine Art & Apparel, an eclectic showcase for emerging and established artists.
Artists and gallery owners collaborate in order to welcome both new and existing customers to the Arts District. From award-winning photographer Alison Shaw’s restored firehouse gallery to the fascinating jumble of sophisticated abstract art, high-end apparel, and wearable art jewelry at PIKNIK, the Arts District seems to offer something for everyone. Paintings, pastels, mixed media, photography, jewelry, sculpture, designer fashions and accessories for men and women, custom tattoos, and home accessories are on display, often with their creators present.
Each participating business creates an individual event on premises, indoors and out, some with live music, a deejay, wine or catered food.
Alison Shaw will open her new show, Dock, featuring new and favorite images of traditional wooden boat building and shorelines. She and author Tom Dunlop will sign copies of their new book, “Schooner: Building a Wooden Boat on Martha’s Vineyard,” published in May by Island publisher Vineyard Stories.
Alison Shaw Gallery co-owner Sue Dawson sees the Stroll as an opportunity to “put on our best.” She and Ms. Shaw laugh as they recall the line that stretched down the street during a book launch in July 2007. “That kind of set the tone for the Stroll,” Ms. Dawson says.
Michael Hunter, owner of PIKNIK, will open his new show, “First Time Artists on the Island,” a collection of works by eight artists, all of whom are new to the Island. Four men and four women from Paris to San Francisco will be featured with work ranging from Old-World-inspired cityscapes with a contemporary edge to hip surfing-inspired paintings by a Brooklyn surfer/art/academic.
Don McKillop, co-owner of Dragonfly Gallery, plans to display a broad selection of works from among the 23 artists he represents, including six new artists this season. The inviting gallery, once a grocery store for the nearby Campgrounds, features such popular artists as Traeger diPietro, Adam Thompson, and Jenny Nelson. Artist Karen English and her “Spiral Art with a Heart” will be displayed outside the gallery.
A relative newcomer to the Arts District scene, tattoo artist and painter/metalworker Angel Quinonez operates a custom tattoo studio and small fine art gallery. Although the gallery is small, he rotates in new works regularly and features Nancy Malone Clarke’s intriguing jewelry made from vintage buttons and found objects, as well as Michelle Merchant’s eye-catching jewelry crafted from blown glass. He is particularly proud of the needlepoint miniatures created by former addict and convict, Ray Materson, whose work has shown in the Louvre in France.
For Mr. Quinonez, who divides his time between Oak Bluffs and Providence, the show theme is, “What is art?” He explains many of the pieces displayed — paintings, photography, sculpture, metal work and jewelry — will challenge the viewer.
“I want to open people’s eyes to what is art,” Mr. Quinonez says. “I refuse to fit the mold.”
Fans of unique jewelry won’t want to miss Stefanie Wolf’s creations with colorful glass tiles, recycled glass and sterling. Her Trilogy Collection features handmade glass tiles from the Czech Republic in vibrant greens, reds, blues, and ambers.
“My work is inspired by the Island, the ocean, and my life in this environment,” Ms. Wolf explains. She hopes the visitors will be impressed with a new collection of recycled, stamped pieces she’ll display in a tent just outside her studio.
Lucinda Sheldon’s kiln-fired enamel jewelry is full of color and whimsy — beadwork and enameled mermaids, angels and dragonflies are all part of her artwork. Now in her 15th year, Ms. Sheldon’s studio and courtyard at 11 Vineyard Avenue, also features artisan Jeri Dantzig’s vivid fused glass, Nancy Noble Gardner’s signature photographs of flowers, and Belden K. Radcliffe’s tiles and original artwork. Visitors will get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the enamelist’s process.
Bananas, whose main store is in West Tisbury, will feature an array of unique clothing and accessories at 93 Dukes County Avenue, the former location of the Red Mannequin.
The Arts District Strolls, Saturday, July 10 and Saturday, August 14, from 4 to 7pm, rain or shine, on Dukes County Avenue in Oak Bluffs.