Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Art Hop, Burlington VT

Spent an amazing day at the 20th annual South End Burlington Art Hop. Over 400 artists in almost 100 locations opened their studios and their hearts to the public.

Pine Street forms the spine of the event, which is almost too long to cover on foot, extending for two miles from end to end.

This is a real community happening, complete with street food, music, activities for the kids and free shuttle buses, equipped with comedians for on-board entertainment.

The flaking bricks, rusted machinery and scuffed stairs are mute poems that speak of time's passage. My friend Lauma would have used her camera to make these textures sing.

What I love about this event is seeing how the South End has been transformed from a run-down, and even abandoned, industrial zone into a pulsing nexus of art, business and culture.

The visitor experiences that matchless thrill of discovery. "Look around this corner!" "What's at the top of the stairs?" "See the clever use for that old elevator shaft!"

Many of the buildings date back to the early 1800's, and have been converted time after time, adapting to changing economic realities.

In Montreal, I like to explore re-purposed industrial buildings that have come alive with the energy of art, creativity and enterprise. The Complexe du Canal Lachine, the Belgo Building and the Chateau St-Ambroise are examples of these initiatives. If you know of other sites like this, I would love to hear about them.

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