Art Drive brings sales, socialization back to Dartmouth studios
The streets of Dartmouth became a trail to crafts and talent this weekend as local artists opened their studio doors to the community as the annual Art Drive returned following its Covid cancelation in 2020.
Art Drive co-founder and ceramist Beverly Carter said that there were “a lot of people coming through” to the local studios during the first two days of the three-day exhibitions.
“It’s been fabulous,” she said. “I was really quite surprised — I thought people might have some reservations about coming out, but people were needing to come out and see the arts.”
This year saw 32 artists share their work from studios in Dartmouth and Westport, including ceramists, landscape painters, sculptors, woodworkers, and printmakers.
“We try really hard to have a lot of different varieties,” Carter said. “People can see all the techniques and learn something that they might not already know.”
Marion-based fabric artist Elizabeth Howland said the Art Drive’s return was especially needed after residents mostly had to remain at home last year.
What especially brought her joy was being able to chat with art enthusiasts in person about the kantha fibers she typically works with to make one-of-a-kind clothing.
“I had women who came in to bring me bags of fabrics that I might be able to repurpose into my work,” she said.
Howland shared a space on Memorial Drive with friend and glass artist Barbara Purdy.
Purdy is a fused glass artist, meaning that her work is done flat in a kiln, and then shaped.
She said she’ll either cast or drop objects through a form to “give it a soft, beach glass kind of look.”
Some casted items include frozen shrimp and local algae.
Much like her friend, Purdy said she was also happy to talk with the patrons who entered the shared gallery. The glass artist noted that this year she saw a lot more new faces stopping by.
“It’s been great conversations,” she said.
For most artists, the return of the Art Drive also served as a way to de-clutter their workspaces.
“I did sell some stuff, which is really good because my studio is really small and I don’t have room for all my stuff,” portrait artist and “The Goat Lady” author Jane Bregoli laughed.
For this year’s exhibition, Bregoli hung most of her portraits of farm animals inside a former chicken coop on her property to create more space for patrons to feel comfortable amid the pandemic.
“All my paintings are rustic — very farm oriented,” she said. “It adds ambiance, plus I heard it’s good luck to have a rooster in the rooms of your house.”
The Art Drive ends Sunday, Aug. 8. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Art enthusiasts are encouraged to bring a mask, as most studios will require visitors to adhere to CDC guidelines.
For a map and list of this year’s participants, visit www.the-art-drive.com.