Late April is often the beginning of study crunch time for many students, but for Bowling Green, it was the time to get out and explore.
Downtown Bowling Green hosted its Art Walk throughout the downtown strip April 27, with artists of different media setting up their works at outdoor booths and in businesses.
“(This is) the first event of the year to really get people downtown,” Tony Vetter, Downtown Bowling Green’s director, said. He said getting residents out of their homes after winter was a prime attraction of the Art Walk.
The main events were held in the Wood County Library and the Four Corners Center, with the library acting as the preferred starting point for attendees.
The library held a gallery of featured artists’ work in its main atrium and a showcase and raffle of decorated garden gnomes.
A reception ceremony was also held at the library after the event’s conclusion at 3 p.m. This ceremony awarded different artists cash prizes for both popular and well-reviewed works and awarded raffle prizes to contest winners.
Meanwhile, the Four Corners Center held its Sixth Annual Quilt Show and a small art exhibition held by the BGSU 2D Art Association, the sole college artist group at the event. The association, like many other artists that day, had their works up for sale.
Ileana Hernandez, a member of the association, said the event was “a good way to talk to the community” and other artists, and it was good for exposure.
While these two buildings held the majority of artwork and activities, the festivities extended to all types of city buildings, from eateries like Qdoba and fashion stores like Coyote Beads and Jewelry to H&R Block.
Rachel Isenhart, a painter set up in an open lobby of the H&R Block building, said the company was flexible in helping her and other artists, and the process of getting her artwork in the financial location was simple.
Isenhart praised the Art Walk as well, saying it was a good way to “not work” for her art – she said the increased foot traffic of the Art Walk helped her sell work.
Mary Dennis, a ceramics artist in Grounds for Thought, also said the event was “really important” for her business.
Dennis, who was not on the Downtown BG’s official program, said while she owns a gallery for selling work, selling her work at a public event like this was important for her business.
“BG is good about supporting artists,” she added.
In addition to hosting professional artists, the event saw multiple galleries for elementary, middle and high school artists.
The Bowling Green middle and elementary schools’ gallery was held in the space previously occupied by Rock Em Sock Em Retro, but other schools occupied Grounds for Thought.
“The best thing is to be in our community,” Bowling Green Middle School art teacher Cindy Marso said about helping young artists “to promote the arts.”
Marso said the venue this year was the best the schools had ever seen, and the relaxed, accommodating nature of the event allowed a greater variety of art media to be displayed during the event. While some students’ two-dimensional works were placed on walls or set-ups, sculptures and other three-dimensional works could be placed anywhere, from window displays to floors and tables.
Visual art received the most representation, but The Stones Throw and Grumpy Dave’s Pub also hosted music performances from a variety of both professional and student artists.
Vetter emphasized the “multifaceted” nature of the walk; it could bring exposure to local community artwork while convincing residents and visitors to stay near downtown businesses like restaurants.
This event works well because “everybody works together,” he added.
Vetter said no plans have yet been made to change the event for next year but added the organizing group will work to “tweak” the event to make it as effective as possible.