Sixth season of Art Walks series kicks off June 13Written by Paige Shermis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Summer nights in Toledo are about to get a bit more colorful with the return of The Arts Commission’s annual Art Walk series.
The sixth season of the Art Walk series will run from 6-9 p.m. June 13 in Downtown Toledo.
“The Art Walk is a great way to explore Downtown Toledo and find out about the great things that are going on down there, from businesses to a number of artists Downtown, as well as to find artwork to spruce up your home and office, and get some exercise,” said Ryan Bunch, performing and literary arts coordinator for The Arts Commission.
About 30 sites will participate in the Art Walk each month, including retailers, artist studios, galleries, restaurants and other Downtown Toledo businesses.
“It’s a self-guided tour. We work with all the venues Downtown that curate their own exhibitions. Some have artists’ studios that are open for tour, some are galleries that have exhibitions showing, so people can walk around [to each],” Bunch said.
Those on the Art Walk can get from venue to venue by bike, pedicab or on foot.
“There is no set start spot. Two of the busiest areas are St. Clair Street by Fifth Third Field, and Adams Street in Uptown. There’s no right or wrong way to do it,” Bunch said.
The 2013 Art Walk dates are June 13, July 11, Aug. 8 and Sept. 12. The event happens on the second Thursday of the month no matter the weather, Bunch said.
Maps of participating venues with artist and exhibition descriptions are available at each venue and will be available online a week in advance of each Art Walk, according to a news release. A map is also available at www.theartscommission.org/programs/art-walk (see below).
The Art Walk series has grown each year since its founding.
“The first year, there were three to five venues and 50 people attended. Last year had an average attendance of 400 to 600 people for each Art Walk. We are hoping that [figure] will grow this year,” Bunch said.
The birth of the Art Walk came from a desire to create publicity and encourage awareness of the Toledo art scene, Bunch said.
“There were a number of galleries and artist studios Downtown, and we were finding out that the general public didn’t know how many there were. There are 60 different venues between galleries and studios. This was a way for us to help promote the wealth of artistic endeavors and creativity that’s happening Downtown, and make people realize how close the neighborhoods are and how walkable the city is. It is just a chance to get all the people there working to showcase what they’re doing every day, and open up some interesting spaces for people to check out,” Bunch said.
In addition to the venues, there will be live music hosted by The Arts Commission.
“We typically coordinate live street performers. Some of the venues coordinate their own music as well. There will be street performances and live music outside, just spread throughout the Downtown,” Bunch said.
Mania Dajnak is the owner and founder of Studio M Printmakers, which is participating in this year’s Art Walk.
“We are participating in two ways. We are inviting visitors to come and make a monoprint, a one-of-a-kind print. We are providing supplies. No experience is necessary. For the second way, we will be showing mostly current explorations in printmaking by myself and another member named Terry Teufel,” Dajnak said.
Studio M will be selling prints, mainly modestly priced small pieces, and has been participating in the Art Walk for three years, Dajnak said.
The Art Supply Dep?, which offers art supplies and classes, will also be participating, said owner Jules Webster.
“Every month we will switch the art on the walls. We have a new show by Jake Lee and we always have a band play, ONDALIST; they play everything that’s on the list. We will have light food and beverages and we also are teaming up with a local nonprofit called Food For Thought. We are doing a lunch bag decorating station for them at the front of our store. They will pass out meals for the homeless every Saturday Downtown,” Webster said.
The Art Supply Dep?’s history is tied to that of the Art Walk, Webster said.
“We coordinated our grand opening of our store with the Art Walk in July 2011 and have been active ever since,” Webster said.
The Collingwood Arts Center is a facility that has 36 rooms available for artists to rent out to live and work in, said office manager Manuel Quintano. Thirty-one of the rooms are currently rented out.
“We are displaying the work of the resident artists who live the building. Their work is currently on display in the first floor,” Quintano said.
Community jam session
Ralph and Gini Behrendt are former glass artists who own Flying Rhino Coffee & Chocolate. Gini made glass beads and Ralph was a glass blower.
“Normally we are like everyone else and we have some artists, being part of the art community in previous careers,” Gini said. This year, they decided to do something a little different.
“I have a degree in music, and wanted to do something in the musical arts. We wanted to take it back to square one. We met some people who are bluegrass players, where music got started in this country,” Gini said.
“We will be setting up a tent in our parking lot … and inviting anyone who has a string instrument … to come and have a community jam session that night. We are taking it back to the roots, and we are calling it the Roots Music Band.”
Anyone is invited to join the band, whether they can play an instrument or not, Gini said. The Flying Rhino will have extra instruments on hand for those interested.
Live Learn Create Toledo
The Arts Commission, formed in 1959, is the longest standing arts commission in Ohio.
“Recently, in 2006-07, we undertook the new initiative called Live Work Create Toledo, which is designed to explore and expand on the economic development opportunity and revitalization through the arts,” Bunch said. “That umbrella program includes Artomatic 419! and the Art Walk, as well as other programs.”
Bunch considers the Art Walk to be a sister program of Artomatic 419!, an “arts extravaganza” that most recently took place over three Saturdays in April and featured more than 800 visual, literary and performing artists. He hopes the energy from Artomatic 419! will continue on into the Art Walk series.
“We’re excited about this year. You don’t have to be an artist to attend; it’s about exploring and experiencing new things. Everyone is welcome,” Bunch said.