South End Art Hop celebrates 20 years

by Lettie Stratton

“Spring Lambs in Afternoon Light” by Mathew Pardue. Pardue said this painting is about Shelburne Farms and the beginning of another work season. Pardue works as a line cook at the Inn at Shelburne Farms, and some of the sheep will go to slaughter and fall under his knife.

Featuring its largest exhibit of visual arts to date, Burlington’s South End Arts & Business Association (SEABA) will celebrate 20 years of the South End Art Hop with a three-day festival on Sept. 7-9, displaying a wide array of not only visual art, but also performance art, music, and film.

SEABA is an organization which seeks to blend art, commerce, industry, and entrepreneurship. Twenty years ago, their weekend event that now attracts a crowd of over 30,000 visitors, including many out-of-staters, was in its infancy. The first South End Art Hop in 1992 was inspired by Melanie Putz Brotz’s recognition that at the time, Burlington lacked creative outlets for local artists who wished to exhibit their work. As one of the three original founders of the Art Hop, Brotz saw Burlington’s South End as the perfect place in which to foster a collaborative spirit, connecting local businesses and artists in a celebration of creativity.

The first Art Hop included over 40 artists exhibiting their works at 30 venues. Now, 20 years later, the 2012 South End Art Hop will feature 500 artists at 150 different locations coming together in a celebration of art and a growing community. This year, participating artists include Cathy McCarthy (collage) and Mathew Pardue (oil painting), both of Shelburne, Tom Baginski (acrylic painting) of Charlotte, and Samantha Castonguay (acrylic painting) of Hinesburg. Adam Brooks, executive director of SEABA, approximated that 95-97 percent of the pieces displayed at the Art Hop come from Vermont artists.

One thing unique to the Art Hop seems to be opportunity it provides for visitors and attendees to see art in a concentrated hub of nontraditional environments such as storefronts, offices, and restaurants. These locations provide new avenues of exposure to local artists trying to establish a consumer base.

Brooks said that in 2011, the South End was officially designated an Arts District—the only one in the state of Vermont. “We are the creative economy of Chittenden County based on the large number of artists, studios, galleries, and very creative businesses in the area,” he said. “SEABA helps to fuse culture and commerce by providing marketing and opportunities for area artists to exhibit and sell their works.” The area’s well positioned and convenient location between downtown Burlington and the waterfront make it a perfect hub for the small, funky businesses that offer room for experimentation and collaboration with local artists.

“The Art Hop draws a very diverse crowd,” Brooke said, “families come for the Kids Hop, the 20s-30s crowd enjoys the Strut Fashion Show and funky, eclectic exhibits around the South End of Burlington, and the over-40 diehard art appreciators come for the fantastic quality of artwork on display,” Brooks said.

“We’re celebrating our 20th year of providing a fun, creative festival for all ages,” Brooks said. “There will be many creative events such as Kids Hop, Comedy Club, Strut Fashion Show, live demonstrations and workshops, and much more.” Kids hop, hosted by Davis Studio, includes nine holes of artist-designed putt putt mini golf and the Strut Fashion Show features a runway display of the work of many local fashion designers.

Profiles of the three South End Art Hop founders, Melanie Brotz, Ellen Lake, and Jon Roberts, will be featured in the 2012 Art Hop program guide. To learn more, visit, and to see it for yourself, head down to Burlington’s South End on Sept.7-9.

Art Hop presents Hopapalooza, STRUT Fashion Show

The South End Arts and Business Association (SEABA) in conjunction with Big Heavy World is pleased to present the 20th Annual South End Art Hop concert Hopapalooza on Friday, Sept. 7, from 7-10 pm.

Sponsored by Burlington College, Hopapalooza is a new addition to the South End Art Hop, featuring performances by local bands such as Funkwagon (including Collin Cope of Shelburne on harmonica and vocals), Trapper Keeper, Suzanne Friedman, Kat Wright & the Indomitable Soul Band, Cameo Harlot, and more. This is an all-ages show to be held behind the Maltex Building in the SEABA Tent during Art Hop. “SEABA has always brought artists and the public together to strengthen Burlington’s community and help it respect and celebrate how special it is. Big Heavy World shares those values, and is grateful for the invitation to work with SEABA to give music a place of honor in Art Hop,” said James Lockridge, Big Heavy World executive director. This is not a ticketed event, but a suggested $10 donation to benefit two creative, artistic non-profits, SEABA & Big Heavy World, would be appreciated.

For more information, please visit or contact Adam Brooks at (802) 859-9222.

SEABA in conjunction with Seven Days is also pleased to present the 6th Annual STRUT Fashion Show on Saturday, Sept. 8, with two shows at 6:30 and 8:30 pm. Charlotte artist Tom Baginski’s daughter, Jenna Baginski, is a designer in the fashion show.

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