Art Drive preview hit Padanaram for festival weekend

Jul 26, 2019

Over the weekend, the Dartmouth Cultural Center in the Olde Southworth Library got ready for Dartmouth and Westport’s 12th annual Art Drive with a preview exhibit of work by several local artists.

The Art Drive — set to take place from August 9 to 11 this year — opens artists’ studios all over Dartmouth and Westport to the public, with a full docket of free workshops teaching various artistic techniques.

The preview at the Elm Street library showcases work by nearly 20 Dartmouth artists who will be participating in the event.

It opened on Friday, July 26 with an evening reception and continued through the weekend, finishing on Sunday.

Members of the public came to the exhibit for a small glimpse of some of the art that will be on offer in August — including paintings, ceramics, glass, prints, textiles, clothing, photographs, and even furniture.

“The Art Drive is a great opportunity to see artists in their studios, and share in their work,” said Wendy Goldsmith, who makes ceramics from her South Dartmouth studio. “And [see] what a creative community we have.”

“This whole part of the state is rich with artists,” agreed painter and printmaker Jim Sears, who has been hosting Art Drive visitors at his Gaffney Road studio for the past 12 years. “[The event]’s an opportunity to tap in to the art economy, which has helped lift up a lot of cities.”

Local creativity was on display at every turn, from a handmade whimsical pillow collage by Gulf Road artist Marjorie Durko Puryear to Deb Ehrens’ ethereal landscape photograph printed on vellum with a gold leaf backing.

Glassworker Barbara Purdy said that her favorite part of the Art Drive is that it helps build a sense of community as well as “neighborly awareness.”

“Some of my neighbors don’t know that in my basement there’s a studio,” she explained, adding that opening it up to the public helps people get to know each other.

Along with the benefits to participating artists, the event — and the preview — has proven popular among the public as well.

“It’s really cool,” said teenager Zoë Warzecha, who came to the reception with her mother Lara Vergoth to support Lara’s own mother, painter Carol Bliven. 

“I think it’s lovely,” added Vergoth. “It’s nice to get a little taste of what each artist has, and I think they picked very representative pieces of their work.”

The family came last year from where they live outside Chicago to help out during the Art Drive itself, but this year the timing didn’t work out.

Still, they enjoyed the event last year. 

“We went to a few of the houses,” said Warzecha of the experience. “It was cool to see where the artists work, and the different environments.”

For more information on the Art Drive in August, please visit