Celebrating 15 years of the Art Drive

Aug 10, 2023

For the 15th year, 31 artists across Westport and Dartmouth opened up their studios and homes for the annual Art Drive from August 4 to 6.

Organized by the artists, the Art Drive is a juried studio tour that’s intended to connect the local community to local artists, and vice versa. 

“The engagement kind of goes both ways, because the artists are … making lasting relationships with people that might come back again and again,” said Monica Lopes, administrator for the Art Drive.

Visiting a studio, as opposed to seeing art on display at a gallery, allows visitors to see artists in their own setting, Lopes said, and creates an opportunity for stronger connections. 

When people walk in and see different elements of the creative process, it can spark more questions and better conversations. For instance, viewers could see a ceramic artist’s half-formed clay or a watercolorist’s color swatches, Lopes said.

Because the Art Drive only covers Dartmouth and Westport, the community can see most of the artists’ in the region over the course of the three days, said Susan Strauss, an artist in Westport. 

Strauss said a direct interaction with an artist talking about their work is very different than seeing the work on display and hearing a “3 minute spiel” about the piece. 

“Being in the artists’ space gives people a sense of where you're coming from,” Strauss said. “You want to kind of get to know the people on a different level.”

This year, the Art Drive returned to hosting presentations by artists across the three days on topics such as illustrating a children’s book, using leaves in pottery, painting with oil and alcohol and transferring an image to the surface of clay. 

“A big focus [of the Art Drive] is education for all of the visitors,” Lopes said. “It’s intended to be a unique opportunity to visit artists.”