Downtown Ridgefield to be transformed into ‘strolling gallery’ for annual Guild of Artists’ Art Walk

RIDGEFIELD - By summer’s end, downtown Ridgefield will be transformed into a walking art gallery with the return of Ridgefield Guild of Artists’ annual Art Walk on Aug. 26.

This year’s Art Walk will feature 48 artists who work in various mediums including painting, photography, sculpture, and prints.

On opening night, artists will be available outside their host stores for meet and greets with the walk’s attendees.

Along with admiring the artwork on display, Art Walk attendees can enjoy the music that will be playing at the event. The Guild will have a table set up in front of Ridgefield Town Hall (400 Main St.) where Guild members will process art sales and have maps of participating artists and stores available to attendees.

Additionally, the Art Walk will have an Artist Day on Aug. 27 from noon to 4 p.m., during which time many of the walk’s participating artists will show their wares and demonstrate their craft on the sidewalks in downtown Ridgefield.

The event is hosted by 36 Ridgefield merchants along Main Street and Bailey Avenue - some of whom will double up and feature several artists in their stores.

All the walk’s participants are Guild members and in addition to the artwork set on display, some artists will bring smaller items, such as cards and small prints, to sell during the walk’s opening weekend.

Guild president Mary Pat Devine said the Guild started the Art Walk as a way to bring its members out into the community.

With the Art Walk entering its ninth year in Ridgefield, Devine said, “The idea was to have a strolling gallery of sorts where stores in town would host an artist and people can stroll around and check out the artists.”

Reflecting on how the Ridgefield Guild of Artists promotes its member artists through this annual event, Devine said, “It means a lot to us - we love our members and we want to give them every opportunity they can have to be able to exhibit their work.”

While the Guild hosts a number of shows during the year, she said they try to supplement the shows by having other opportunities beyond what they have in their gallery at 34 Halpin Lane in Ridgefield.

“It’s our ninth year of doing it,” Devine said of the Art Walk. “It’s become kind of a summer tradition for us and Ridgefield. I know when the pandemic was going on, people were excited to get out and enjoy the fresh air. We know the community really loves it and we’re happy to bring it out into the community.”

Grace Drake, whose work will be featured at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties on Main Street for this year’s Art Walk, said, “I get to curate pieces that I think fit the space best and highlight pieces that I don’t often submit into galleries or shows. With social media, a lot of times pictures don’t do the work justice, so it’s nice (to) have a space where you can showcase your work. It’s a really fun experience and a pleasure to interact with art lovers and fellow artists over the two days.”

Drake said she loves that downtown Ridgefield turns into a browsing art gallery where people wander from shop to shop down the town streets.

“Each storefront and setting are so different and they really showcase the artists,” she said. “The partnerships between artist and shops are always well done and the Guild does a great job pairing the artists with places that really compliment their work. So many people look forward to this event each year and it brings a lot of well deserved attention to our community, as well to the local artists and to beautiful Main Street. It brings art lovers together and introduces the art gallery setting to the public.”

Hosting three artists for this year’s Art Walk, Lesslee Burke, owner of Guilded Lynx, a jewelry designer on Main Street, said she’s participated in the Art Walk for at least eight years.

Having previously taught at the Ridgefield Guild of Artists, she said it just made sense for her to get involved with “artists supporting artists.”

“I think it’s phenomenal,” Burke said. “We’re all a network - we’re all struggling to create our work and it makes sense that we support each other... I find that most of us that are metalsmiths, we do not restrict our artistic endeavors. It’s really fun for us to see all the different types of artists that come in here.”

Opening night for this year’s Art Walk will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Aug. 26.

All of the artwork on display at the Art Walk will be available for purchase. Proceeds are shared between the artists and the Ridgefield Guild of Artists. All proceeds help the Guild with general expenses and future programming.

Since construction work is scheduled to take place along part of Main Street during the Art Walk’s opening weekend, Devine said, “We will do our very best to make this Art Walk ... successful and pleasant for everyone.”

Following the opening weekend festivities, the Art Walk’s featured artwork will remain in its host stores through Sept. 11. After Aug. 27, sales will be processed through the Guild by calling 203-438-8863 or emailing artwalkridgefield@gmail.com.

A full list of participating artists and merchants can be found on the Ridgefield Guild of Artists website at rgoa.org.