Mary Eldridge won’t have far to travel to get to the Westside Art Hop – it’s just a short hop from her home here in Ann Arbor. It’s also a trip she enjoys making each year.
“The Westside Art Hop was my first ‘big break’ in sharing and selling my artwork,” says Eldridge. “It is such a welcoming and encouraging event for artists of all levels. Every spring and every fall the Art Hop has motivated me to refine my work, and it’s introduced me to other artists and a growing community of friends and mentors.”
The Westside Art Hop, a local art walk in neighborhood homes, studios, porches, garages, and yards in leafy Ann Arbor, is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Sunday, May 19.
“All my life I’ve been a writer – until the election of 2016,” Eldridge says. “That event left me, literally, at a loss for words. My need to express myself switched gears entirely with (you won’t believe this) a Paint & Pour class some girlfriends and I signed up for.
“I sat before the canvas and something caught fire within me. You know those nesting Russian dolls? It was like the top came off and hidden in there, unknown to me, was this complete other self: a visual artist.”
The Michigan native does acrylic painting and mixed media.
“My work is inspired by political/global issues, and the need to express hope and solidarity,” she says. “I also hand-paint note cards that are my way of putting color and joy literally into people’s hands.”
If Eldridge hand-painted a note card for Art Hop organizer Sophie Grillet it would say, “thank you!”
“I’m extremely grateful to Sophie Grillet for what Art Hop provides to local artists and the Ann Arbor community,” she says. “If we’re to live up to our reputation as being ‘artsy Ann Arbor’ it takes inclusive events like Art Hop, involving a neighborhood and host homes and low-cost fees to artists, to make it happen.