Hillsboro art walk turns storefronts into galleries

Floral paintings hang in A Village of Flowers. Little girls are crafting in Sweet CeCe’s. “DJ Just Greg” is mixing electronica tracks in front of Fire Finch, alongside a cakestress giving away cake pops.

It’s a scene that returns, always with creative differences, on the first Thursday of every month in Hillsboro Village. The monthly art walk is vibrant with art and culture for children and adults alike as the small businesses near the intersection of Wedgewood and 21st avenues double as art galleries, stages, or whatever the community needs them to be.

“This makes the street a gallery,” artist Michael Kavanaugh said. “Sometimes the people don’t come to the art, so you’ve got to bring art to the people.”

Kavanaugh is the founder of PASTL-Promoting Artists Strengths through Logic, an organization that encourages adolescents, especially those with criminal records, to channel their energy and creativity into art. PASTL is one of several nonprofits that use the Hillsboro Art Walk to get the word out about what they’re offering.

“The kids’ art is really trendy, and I know there’s a lot of trendy people through here, so it’s a good opportunity,” Kavanaugh said.

Craftville, another of the art-based nonprofits, is a group of craft enthusiasts who provide quick, easy and creative activities to involve children at the walk.

These events benefit nearly everyone in the community. The public gets entertainment and the shops get business, while charities and artists get venues, audiences and buyers.

Painter Lydia Hejny, whose work was on display recently at A Village of Flowers, said she doesn’t sell a lot of work during the art walk, but it’s still worthwhile.

“Last year I got a lot of commission work out of it,” she said. “This is still the best area of town to get your art in because the shops are looking for artists specifically for these events.”

Duncan Ragsdale, the event’s director, agreed.

“And some store owners don’t even take commission,” Ragsdale said. “Some will leave it up all month.”

Getting there

The Hillsboro Village Art Walk welcomes many talents, from bands to singer-songwriters to visual artists to authors. Prospective participants should contact coordinator Duncan Ragsdale through her website, duncanragsdale.com. If you want to go and immerse yourself in the atmosphere, the next art walk is March 1. There’s another on April 5, and it will have an Earth Day theme, featuring eco-friendly, recycled art. The April event will also mark the walk’s second anniversary. It takes place in a couple of blocks in Hillsboro Village on 21st Avenue South between Wedgewood and Acklen avenues.

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