Archived Story

Art Hop crosses time, personalities

Published 1:02pm Thursday, October 11, 2012

Four times a year, the Benton Harbor Arts District holds an Art Hop, where businesses join forces to celebrate the district in a series of open houses. Visitors can “hop” from gallery to gallery, eatery to eatery, shop to shop, to take part in special exhibits and events. The next Art Hop is Oct. 19.

Businesses throughout the downtown “nook” will be throwing open doors to welcome loyal fans and curious first-timers.

The arts district started in the mid-1990s as a way to renovate Benton Harbor’s downtown area. Folks from that era will remember Art’s Cafe, Tablescapes, New Moon Gallery and Global Greening, as well as the Ideal Place, the Citadel and Water Street Glassworks. While the landscape has changed over the years, many of those same “pioneers” are still involved in the community — through different ventures, or just hanging out behind the scenes.

Scott Elliott is one of those people. Elliott and his wife, Eileen Cropley, bought and renovated the New Moon Gallery, then Citadel Dance Studio. Across the way, Judy Jones set up Art’s Cafe, and next door Kathy and Jerry Catania worked to restore the Hinckley building — now the home of Gelato Works, the Doris Akers Gallery and Water Street Glassworks.

It’ll seem like old times as pioneers Elliott and Judy Jones share Ken Ankli’s 3 Pillars Gallery for side-by-side exhibits of his oil paintings and her photographs. Both are drawn to the changing season for their subjects.

Titled “Indian Summer,” Elliott’s exhibit features “stuff I buy at local farm stands,” he said. There are sunflowers and eggplants and pears. Elliott is returning to painting after a career as an art and antiques dealer, though in his 20s, he enjoyed success painting miniatures. (Years later, as an established art dealer, he happened upon a small group of his paintings — they had been given as gifts to his then client — by none other than Frank Sinatra!) Now retired, he is enjoying letting the creative juices flow again.

Another pioneer, Waterstreet Glassworks, on the corner of Water Street and Territorial, in the historic Hinckley Building, will have the Doris Akers Gallery full with an exhibit of rustic and primitive furniture. With the glassblowing studio, the Doris Akers Gallery, and Gelato Works next door, it is three Art Hop stops in one.

Other galleries — such as those of the New Territory Arts Association at 210 Water St. and the Anna Russo-Sieber (ARS) Gallery — will also be jumping.
The ARS Gallery on Fifth Street is celebrating the anniversary of its second year. “Small bites” and live music are on tap for the occasion. The exhibit

“Remembering Marilyn,” currently in the gallery, will be on display. It features works by Marilyn O’Bryant.

“She worked at the Krasl with a lot of us,” said Sieber, “and we are paying homage to her as she lost her life to MS in May.”

Every Friday is “Be Awesome! Day” at the Livery; Oct. 19 is no different as Charlene Jones will take the stage from 9 until 11 p.m.

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