The seeds planted by a few artists displaying their work in Depot Park have blossomed into Peterborough’s event of the season.
The third annual Summertime Art Walk in the Park is coming up this Saturday, July 6, in the parks and streets of downtown Peterborough. This year’s event has tripled in size from the first, with 60 participating artists displaying and selling their work — many offering demonstrations — and has expanded to include Depot Square, Putnam Park and all of downtown.
“It’s grown by word of mouth,” said Pelagia Vincent, event organizer. This year’s participating artists are coming from all over New Hampshire, and from Vermont and Massachusetts to set up tents with their work and to answer questions about it.
This year is the first the event will partner with Depot Square and downtown shops, many of which are displaying the work of participating artists in their windows or out in front of their businesses.
“It’s more interactive,” said Vincent. “You can meander and explore Depot Square and downtown. It’s easy to walk; you can stop and see an artist and check out a shop. It combines a variety of things.”
Among the businesses taking part are Granite Block & Antiques, Peterborough Art Academy, Tribals Rugs by Hand, Mariposa Museum, Joseph’s Coat, European Esthetics and Underneath it All. Eateries are also participating with some art-inspired offerings. The Waterhouse Restaurant will serve a special cocktail, for example, and Baker Station created a cookie in the shape of an artist’s palette in honor of the occasion.
“Everyone is doing their part to get people excited,” said Vincent.
The styles of art that will be represented at the event include portraiture, digital, illustration, landscape and abstract in such media as watercolor, acrylic, oil, egg tempura and pastel painting; colored pencil, mixed media, fiber, photography and printmaking. Jewelry, woodworking and natural body care products are among the handcrafted work that will be for sale.
Some event highlights:
• The large modern abstract paintings of Michaela Chelminski will be on display at Peterborough Art Academy, and the pastel landscapes of Chris Reid and portrait artists Numael and Shirley Pulido will be part of a new gallery exhibition at Fry Fine Art.
• Six illustrators — Bob Askey, Mary Kelley, Corwin Levi, Jaime McGuigan, Eric Peterson and Ann Putnam — will be on-hand to talk about their work on the third floor of the Offices at Depot Square next to Sharon Arts. Complimentary refreshments will be served (also at Peterborough Art Academy).
• Visitors can search for artist Ann Putnam’s art stamps as part of a scavenger hunt happening during the event. Called letterboxing, it is an outdoor hobby that combines elements of orienteering, art and puzzle solving. It involves hiding small, weatherproof boxes in publicly accessible places and distributing clues to finding the box in printed catalogs, on one of several web sites, or by word of mouth.
Individual letterboxes contain a notebook and a rubber stamp, preferably hand-carved or custom-made. Finders make an imprint of the letterbox’s stamp in their personal notebook and leave an impression of their personal signature stamp on the letterbox’s “visitors’ book” or “logbook” as proof of having found the box and letting other letterboxers know who has visited.
• Other firsts at the event this year include a farmers’ market, a display by members of the Monadnock Art/ Dublin Art Colony and Arts Alive! and live music. Among the lineup of musicians performing during the event are the flute-piano-guitar players The Gap Mountain Trio and female vocalists Hot Mess and Company singing a mix of classic and modern harmonies.
• Those who would like to kick off the fun early can come the evening prior (Friday, July 5) to Depot Park for a performance by The Little Big Band, a jazz game band from Bellows Falls, Vt. playing tunes from jazz standards by Miles Davis and Duke Ellington to jam band classics by the Grateful Dead and Phish. The show marks the beginning of the annual summertime concerts in Depot Park, which run through Aug. 16 from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
• That evening is also First Friday in Peterborough, a monthly event that celebrates local arts. Among the happenings in town that evening are Macdowell Downtown, which showcases the MacDowell Colony’s artists-in-residence; and a cabaret by Peterborough Players Second Company at Mariposa Museum.
First and foremost, what makes the art walk unique is the chance to interact with the artist.
“It’s not just looking at art on a wall,” said Vincent. “It’s an experience.”
The Summertime Art Walk in the Park is this Saturday, July 6, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (rain day Sunday, July 7) at Depot Square, Depot Park, Putnam Park and downtown Peterborough. Admission and parking are free, and all locations are handicapped-accessible. Pets encouraged. Look for the ART WALK signs and bright balloons and pick up a map of locations at any of the Depot Square businesses.