Musicians strummed guitars, artists put the finishing touches on their work to create an attractive display and people from all over flocked to Second Street where Main Street Portsmouth (MSP) partnered with Charlie Haskins to present a new summer arts event, which will run May through August. The title of the event is Street Art Saturday.
“We have a good crowd and a lot of people enjoying the music and art,” Haskins said. “I’ve even had some people from out of town come in, ask what is going on, and say that they wished that they lived here with all of it.”
MSP Executive Director Joseph Pratt says Street Art Saturday is different from other area art events because it is exclusively local and is designed to promote business in downtown.
“We started this with Charlie Haskins because we realized there wasn’t much of a venue for local musicians outside of bars and there really isn’t a venue at all for visual artists,” Pratt said. “So we planned this for the first Saturday of the month to be during business rush/lunch hour time, so when people are down here they can be encouraged to stop for lunch and then walk up and down Second Street to listen to some music and take in some visual arts.”
Nevada Hart was playing his acoustic guitar while his wife Mandy accompanied him on the drums. There was a distinct mixture of blues and Chet Atkins.
“I kind of grew up on Chet Atkins and George Benson and all those guys,” Hart said. “It has been an experience.”
How does it feel to play on a street cornder?
“I’m starving for attention so I love it,” Hart said. “I have the new CD – ‘On The Tracks,’”
Mandy Hart said the new CD is available on Facebook at boneyfiddle519 or connect with Nevada Hart on Facebook, at Market Street Cafe and the Journey Within.
Tammy Ishmael Eizman’s art runs the gamut.
“I do photography, painting, and I do a lot of digital art also,” Eizman said. “I like doing sculptures. I do commissions. I enjoy a lot of contemporary styles.”
Digital art is a virtually new art form.
“It’s basically like a painting but you’re using different tools,” Eizman said. “Instead of a paint brush and the palate of colors you use a digital palate and digital paint brushes.”
The name Georgian Portraits isn’t new, but the new location on Secon Street is relatively new.
“I take family photography, senior protraits, weddings, you name it – I’ll capture it,” Stephanie DeWitt of Georgian Portraits said.
For as far as the eye could see on Second Street, there was color on canvas, in photographs and even partially completed art on easels.
“I’ve always seen the artists in the area, and when I worked at the (Daily) Times, I was really exposed to how much we have,” Pratt said. “It’s outstanding to see how many people embrace their creative side in our area and it’s a great juxtaposition because it’s their own style but it still has so many Appalachia roots.”
Marcia Spradlin, who only shows her art in her spare time, had her table of art up early and had picked up some early admirers.
“I’m showing my art work,” Spradlin said. “I have acrylics, oil, photography, note cards, prints. This is just something I love to do on the side.”
The event will again be held the first weekend in June.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.