Art Hop shines a light on Orillia’s galleries

Summer Solstice Art Hop took place downtown on Saturday; “It’s really nice to see the arts supported,” says a visitor

The Summer Solstice Art Hop in downtown Orillia helped welcome the arrival of the warmer months on Saturday afternoon.

Molly Farquharson, owner of the Hibernation Arts Gallery on Peter Street South, organized the event to bring people downtown and to local galleries.

People were hopping from gallery to gallery using a QR code found on posters at each participating location. Those who purchased art were entered into a raffle to win a bag of art goodies.

“Father’s Day happens to be tomorrow, which makes today a great time to buy art,” Farquharson said.

The Art Hop got off to a slow start on Saturday, which Farquharson says was due, in part, to the fact that only four galleries participated.

“In other years, there were more artsy venues that participated,” she said. “I think this event is just getting the summer started.”

The Art Hop gives people the ability to browse the galleries’ ever-changing inventory, says Farquharson.

“There’s always something new to watch,” she said. “Maybe something new to buy too.”

The next Art Hop will take place in the fall, but locals are welcome to stop by local galleries throughout the year.

Jaime Adams drove from Noelville, about 230 kilometers north of Orillia, to experience Art Hop on Saturday.

“I like that every place is in the same place here,” she said. “It’s really easy to find art here.”

For people on the outside, she says, the QR code system has been helpful.

“I love events like this,” she said. “I’ve seen it in other cities and it’s really nice to see the arts being supported in different communities.”

Alex Henderson, a member of the Peter Street Fine Arts Gallery and Studio, says the Art Hop is a wonderful way to promote Orillia’s arts district.

“We had quite a few people today,” he said. “It’s been pretty busy between our regulars and about four or five new people coming in.”

He says the event gives local artists a chance to shine and show off their best work, especially after more than two tough years.

“Nothing has happened in recent years,” he said. “We will soon also have sidewalk sales and Friday night sessions.”

Henderson hopes major arts events like Starry Night, which has been sidelined by the pandemic, will return this summer.

“That would give us a big bounce,” he said.

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