Art has a way of re-awakening our senses to the beauty surrounding us; it’s a welcome distraction from our fast-paced world. It encourages us to narrow our focus, providing a constant frame of reference for what really matters. It inspires us to consider new perspectives, helping us navigate complex emotions and giving us the courage to ask meaningful questions.
These are just some of the many compelling reasons to hang more art on your walls. And not just the prints you pick up at Ikea or Home Sense, but original artwork created by real artists living in your hometown. The Newmarket Art Walk and Studio Tour presents the perfect opportunity to do exactly that.
Since 2009, the Newmarket Group of Artists (NGA) have been hosting this free tour, where local businesses and artists open their doors to the public, giving community members the chance to see original artwork on display and chat with the artists about their work and their processes.
“When it first started, there was a real need for visual artists to have a voice within the town, and to find places to show their work and also to connect with one another,” says Robin Burnett, a local painter and NGA Executive Board Member.
Visual artists tend to do most of their work alone, often within the confines of a home studio, making it quite an isolated endeavor. The NGA offers a sense of community, where artists can connect, share ideas and showcase their work. This is something Laura Higgins, a Newmarket artist specializing in vibrant acrylic paintings and intuitive charcoal drawings, felt was missing from her day-to-day before the NGA was formed.
Higgins has been a member of the NGA since its initial meeting in 2009, contributing to the studio tour year after year, as well as various group exhibitions. She’s one of the 36 artists participating in the 2017 event, which takes place September 30th and October 1st in historic downtown Newmarket.
“This opportunity is not only a chance to showcase and potentially sell my work within my own town, to my neighbours and community, it is also a way to become more deeply connected with other artists and art enthusiasts,” Higgins says. “The Art Walk and Studio Tour is a purely art-centred event that culturally enriches our way of life here, while supporting our friends and neighbours who make their living by creating art.”
While it wasn’t logistically possible for Higgins to show in her own home this year, her work will be displayed, along with the art of her colleagues, in the exhibition space in the Old Town Hall. It’s one of many beautiful spaces being offered for the tour, together with three home studios and a number of Main Street businesses, including: Main Street Realty, Europa Travel, Shirtliff Hinds Law, Hungry Brew Hops, RC Design, Cachet, Whatnot’s Gift Shop and Unwind Yarn House.
All of the locations are within walking distance, making the tour a great opportunity to enjoy a casual day downtown with family and friends. “Come out for some fun, see some art, visit some cafes, and perhaps get in some early Christmas shopping,” says Burnett.
Even if you’re not yet looking to purchase, it’s an opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and support the artists in your community. “I know I will enjoy the synergy that comes from talking with visitors not only about my own art, but also the beauty and meaning I see in the work of the artists showing with me,” says Higgins. “There is a wonderful energy that comes with being around creative people, and also from people of all ages who take an interest in experiencing works of art.”
by Charlotte Ottaway
Newmarket Group of Artists