Local artists, businesses show off at 31st South End Art Hop

Published: Sep. 9, 2023 at 8:09 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The annual South End Art Hop has been taking place the weekend after Labor Day for over three decades now.

Rich Arentzen’s art is outside of the box, and he’s always looking for ways to have his creations reach more people. That’s why the weekend after Labor Day gets him fired up.

“I think living in a small town, it’s rare that this many people come together at one time and place,” said Arentzen, owner of AO Glass.

This weekend is the 31st Annual South End Art Hop. The entire weekend is filled with fun free events for art lovers to enjoy.

“Here to see all of the local artists and the flowers,” said Essex resident Alex Day.

The three-day event promotes art and businesses and celebrates what the South End Arts District has to offer.

“It’s just so much fun. there’s music, you get to look at all the galleries, discover new artists. one of my friends is an artist so it’s fun to come out and see my friends and support their art as well,” said Underhill resident Rebecca Wolf.

South End Arts and Business Association Executive Director Christy Mitchell says the festival is a great way for local artists to get exposure.

“A lot of the artists that are down in the south end -- like I said -- they open their studios for the first time in the year maybe they’re usually kind of hidden away so it’s economically friendly to them,” Mitchell said.

She believes it’s a great opportunity for community outreach and discovering hidden talent, with 117 businesses taking part.

“Really, we’re educating the public so they know the South End Arts District not only has fun stuff to do this weekend, but year-round, so they keep coming back. For me, it really is the things that you magically find around a corner. I kind of call them like the very magic moments, unexpected things,” said Mitchell.

“I’m here because this is a great community event and also the weather is actually really nice, it’s not raining for once so figured it would be a good time to get out,” added Essex resident Faith Schumacher.

After years of participating in the South End Art Hop, Arentzen says getting to share his craft with members of his community is a priceless experience.

“We love to welcome visitors to watch us participate and hand-blown glass, and Art Hop is a great opportunity for thousands of people to come in one weekend,” said Arentzen.

Artists and business owners say they hope the event inspires people to return again year round.