Step by Step, Surrounded by Art


Gallery strolls have become an anticipated part of the Vineyard season. It’s a family-style festive evening with Islanders, artists, summer residents and tourists, meeting, greeting, and talking about art.

It began rather quietly five years ago in downtown Edgartown, and four years ago in the Arts District in Oak Bluffs; the towns’ art galleries took over the streets for the evening. Gallery doors were opened after regular hours, and the public invited to come, view the artwork, meet the artists, and get to know the gallery owners.

And come they did, parades of people crowding the sidewalks as they trooped from one participating gallery to another, sauntering in and out, talking to the artists and the gallery owners, sampling the wine, the refreshments, and most importantly, taking in the visual displays by locally and nationally known artists.

The strolls provide a treasure trove of all varieties of original work in one fell swoop: sculpture, wearable art and accessories, jewelry, photography, metals, contemporary and traditional paintings.

On August 14, from 4 pm to 7 pm, the Arts District Arts Stroll on Dukes County Avenue will take place in Oak Bluffs.

In Oak Bluffs, the courtyard of PIKNIK Fine Art & Apparel, with its artifacts and unusual art, takes on the appearance of a block party with gallery owner Michael Hunter supplying visitors with the insights to his artists and their various processes.

If past years are any indication, there will be clusters of people lingering at Dragonfly Gallery and, directly across the road, at the Alison Shaw gallery, Stefanie Wolf Designs Jewelry Studio, Amity Custom Ink, and Lucinda’s Enamels. It is the combination of art and socializing that lend energy to the occasion.

Edgartown’s “Evening with the Arts,” is scheduled for August 12, from 6 pm to 8 pm. Elizabeth Eisenhauer, owner of The Eisenhauer Gallery in Edgartown, was quoted in The Martha’s Vineyard Times as saying, “The Edgartown Gallery Stroll is not just about the art; It’s a night for the community to come together.”

The strolls offer a chance for fans to introduce themselves to their favorite artists, and gives the public the opportunity to talk with artists and gallery owners, who may share the best ways to add to their collections.

This year in Edgartown, a diverse range of sculptures, prints, hand-blown glass, original paintings from classic to contemporary, portraits to landscapes, will be displayed at the participating galleries: Eisenhauer Gallery, Willoughby Gallery, Christina Gallery, and North Water Gallery, as well as showing the artists who’ve become their clients’ favorites.

Two towns and two nights of artistic pleasures — all free for the taking — leaves no doubt that fine art on the Island is relevant, significant, and very much part of the Island experience.