Hopping with music, visual arts


For artist Moe O’Hara, the 18th annual South End Art Hop was more than an opportunity to show off her work, it was a chance for exposure and the opportunity to make money.   “I can’t be a painter,” O’Hara said. “I can’t afford it.”  


She then went to sell a set of handcrafted Scooby Doo buttons made out of old books. 


The Art Hop, put on by The South End Arts and Business Association (SEABA), is an event that takes place in Burlington’s South End each fall, with studios and businesses being temporarily refit as art galleries, the SEABA website said.  


In keeping with SEABA’s entrepreneurial spirit of fusing culture with commerce, O’Hara finds old cassettes, floppy disks and books that she remakes into consumable art.  


The recycled nature of her work was mirrored in the repurposed warehouse characteristic of the South End where it was displayed. 


In the Firehouse Gallery on Church Street, Jonathon Harris returned to his hometown to hold the first show all of his own, Inner Landscapes.  Harris began taking a picture a day for a year, starting on his 30th birthday. Harris watched as “art hoppers” played with streaming photo galleries of his life.   


Attendees ducked carefully through a room-turned-web by way of strings arranged in what Harris called  “[a] network graph of experiential themes” that revealed themselves to him throughout the course of the project.   


Sixteen different themes filled the room, each represented by a different color string that linked blog posts and photos from that year in Harris’s life.   


To encourage deeper examination, Harris won’t tell anyone what each color means. 


Down on Pine Street in the Soda Plant, artist Jake Rifken was content to let things be.   Rifken said he can spend hundreds of hours creating one of his wire sculptures.  His interest is in the flow of creation and structural integrity. “I don’t really care what they look like,” Rifken said. 


His laid-back approach to his art was evident in his mood as well. 


“I’m happy right now,” he said as he held a beer. For people and artists alike, the South End Art Hop is a chance for networking and community building.   


“[It’s a chance] for exposure more than sales,” Artist Dan Seigel, who makes and paints clay mugs that are used at Viva Espresso in the North End, said. 


In addition to visual art, this year’s Art Hop also featured music. The Burlington-based Bluegrass band Something With Strings held a crowd during their set outside Fresh Market on Friday night. Hungry hoppers paused to watch and eat.    


“A lot of people come by and I’ve no idea who they are, but it’s cool that they stop and listen,” guitarist Adam Howard said. 


With artists showing their work on the street or in a loud warehouse rather than a quiet gallery, the Art Hop creates a certain feeling that is especially attractive to some people. 


“The best thing is the atmosphere. It’s very chill,” Andrea Boudreau, who visited the Art Hop, said.


Fellow Art-Hopper Megan Winward agreed. “It’s the best way to experience art,” she said.