Art Walk around the corner


PORTSMOUTH- Community Volunteers and the Southern Ohio Museum and Cultural Center (SOMACC) are at it again, planning yet another installment of the Second Saturday Art Walk in the Arts Culture and Innovation District (ACID) this Saturday, September 9

The events run May through October, on second Saturdays, between 1 and 5 p.m.

So far, according to organizers, the events have been a huge hit, bringing out hundreds of guests for music, poetry, dance and visual arts, and the group hopes to continue that momentum in an organic way that highlights the district and community as a whole.

“The vision is to build the framework for creative growth within downtown, specifically in the arts district. So many cities and towns have done this kind of thing at many sizes, and they’ve all evolved to reflect what their town has to offer. Columbus has their gallery hop, Cincinnati has Over the Rhine District, and small towns have various opportunities to let creatives hit the streets to show what they’re working on and what they’re all about,” SOMACC’s Artistic Director Charlotte Gordon said. “The museum is the backbone of this endeavor and we don’t want to dictate what it looks like, but we want to build that framework so it can grow organically and become what it will be for Portsmouth.”

The ACID was formed in recent years to spark and ignite growth for Chillicothe Street, with places like the SOMACC and the Shawnee State University Kricker Innovation Hub serving as leaders in development alongside brick and mortar businesses and restaurants.

“I think it is a way to funnel economic growth. Boneyfiddle did such an amazing job at reinventing itself through building development and economic growth. What I was hearing at City Council and at the museum was that people wanted to stretch out in different direction—down 52 or 23 or even West Portsmouth,” Gordon said. “We’re lucky in that downtown is very walkable and we don’t have a freeway going through it, or something else. In order to continue that economic growth, and that synergy and energy of developing and redeveloping Portsmouth, we wanted to pick up right on that area of Washington Street and Boneyfiddle and continuing it over to the river and the rest of the district was a natural direction to push that growth. We’re starting to see that, too. We are seeing Chillicothe Street, Gallia, and even Fourth and Fifth getting development. We are starting to see the seeds sprouting and growing and taking root. The arts district, like other cities, feels different from surrounding areas. Our area does feel much different from Boneyfiddle and I think whatever takes hold and grows will provide totally different opportunities for citizens and travelers.”

The walks will welcome surrounding artists and creatives to join downtown to showcase their work and artistries in a way that also highlights the existing businesses and culinary arts that make the district worth visiting. There will be traditional artists, musicians, poets, and more on showcase.

Gordon expressed that this is an event for all people to embrace and celebrate local creatives, small businesses, and get creative themselves. She hopes the numbers continue to grow and people embrace their local artists and ACID, the museum, and other partners, because it is an important piece of our local identity.

“Arts are always a reflection of the culture,” Gordon said. “The visual arts, music, performing arts. It is something that the museum has certainly embraced and has grown. We see the impact it has on our town and the visitors it brings in and to be able to spill the museum outside of the walls and open this up and partner with all of the businesses in the arts district is a really exciting opportunity to everyone in the city.”

Museum staff member Jenna Stewart is also pleased with the event, saying that she has enjoyed booking talent and organizing different elements of the walks.

“We’ve seen it grow since we started doing these as a regular event in May. We’ve seen new artists and new faces at each event, so I’m confident that word is spreading. The weather hasn’t been very cooperative for us this year, but that’s always a risk of any outdoor event, and we’ve all had a good time regardless. I hope to see even more participation at our September 9 Walk,” Stewart explained. “In a smaller community such as ours, artists don’t always have as many venues for showing their work, as you’d find somewhere like Columbus. The goal of the Art Walk is to provide a space for our creators to share and sell their work, as well as to support the surrounding businesses of the neighborhood. It gives our residents a chance to meet our artists, writers, and musicians, and I think it’s a great way to foster a sense of cohesion and community in the neighborhood. Plus, it’s just a really fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon, grabbing a drink and a bite from area eateries, and walking around looking at art and listening to poetry and music.”

Reach Joseph Pratt at (740) 353-3101, by email at [email protected], © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.

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