Art Hop is one of the reasons why Kalamazoo is a cool city. Happening every first Friday of the month from 5 – 7 pm, local artists exhibit their unique work. One of the art hubs in Kalamazoo is the Park Trades Center, about a 20 minute walk from campus. I have only ever visited the Park Trades Center for Art Hop, but the event stretches all around downtown.
Last Friday (March Art Hop), which thankfully happened to be the first sunny and relatively warm day in a while, I took a walk down to the Park Trades Center. The building has a lot of character, and when its halls are filled with lots of lights, colors, textures, people, and music, the atmosphere is enlivening.
Kalamazoo College rents a part of the Park Trades Center in which it holds a spring class and provides space for each senior art major to work on their Senior Individualized Project. During this Art Hop, part of that space was used to display ceramic tiles carved by residents in the Vine Neighborhood. These tiles will be installed in a community garden that I have been helping to develop through my program with the Center for Civic Engagement. It was wonderful to see visitors at the exhibit learn about the garden and comment on how great the tiles looked.
All in all, it turned out to be a great decision for me to come visit downtown that day because 1) it is always a great idea to get outside if things get a little dull being indoors, 2) I got to see a lot of happy faces and talk to a lot of happy people, and 3) I got to feel like a proud mother to a certain extent when I saw that everyone liked the tiles and wished the garden success.