The third Thursday of every month locals and visitors alike flock to Downtown Charleston ArtWalk – strolling, shopping and exploring the boutiques and galleries that make West Virginia’s capital city distinct.
This year the free event series marks its 15th anniversary of bringing people together, highlighting small businesses and celebrating the local art community. Special events are planned throughout the year, including a special ArtWalk Anniversary Celebration July 20 at The Clay Center.
ArtWalk attendees can stop in the Charleston Ballet studio and watch dancers prepare for upcoming performances, drop by the Art Emporium and take in the gallery’s monthly rotating exhibits, visit Tony the Tailor’s to learn about up-and-coming artists, stop by Capitol Conference Center to listen to a bluegrass music jam session – and that’s just a sampling of the more than 20 art events happening simultaneously downtown.
“Whether you are interested in art or just want to learn more about the local creative scene, ArtWalk has something for everyone,” said Mark Brown, a regular ArtWalk attendee. “Plus it’s a great community event that shines a spotlight on small businesses and allows you to explore the best of downtown Charleston.”
The original concept was the brainchild of Callen McJunkin, who then owned the Callen McJunkin Gallery on Hale Street, who pitched the idea to local galleries as a way to get people downtown, increase evening traffic and make art more accessible. The event launched with four participating venues but today has grown to more than two dozen downtown business participants each month.
“Downtown Charleston ArtWalk supports local community and economic development by creating opportunities for galleries, small businesses and artists,” said Susie Salisbury, the Alliance’s vice president of community development. “ArtWalk attracts local residents and visitors, engages the local art community, supports local businesses and creates a vibrant downtown district.”
The Masters Law Firm has sponsored ArtWalk for several years and the firm’s support has been instrumental in helping the program grow.
“The arts are essential to the charm of downtown Charleston and attract visitors who spend money and help local businesses thrive,” said Salisbury, “ArtWalk is a form of entertainment, a means of personal and community development and it has a positive economic impact on the community.”
2017 participating ArtWalk venues include: Art Emporium, Black Sheep Burrito & Brews, Boutique by B.Belle Events, Capitol Conference Center, Cary Law Office, Chet Lowther Studio, Deacon & Deacon Insurance, Delfine’s Jewelry, Dressmaker’s Closet, Gallery 11, Gilded Age Tattoo Studio, House of Luxe, Heidi Dylan, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Ivor’s Trunk, Lord Hoosier Law Firm, NorthWestern Mutual, Oddbird Gift Emporium, Purple Moon, Riggs Corporation, Rock City Cake Company, Romano & Associates, Stray Dog Antiques, Swiftwater General Store, Taylor Books, The Art Store, The Charleston Ballet, The Clay Center, Tony the Tailor, Tops Off Barber Shop, Uncork & Create, Viking Contracting and Virginia Lee.
ArtWalk is the third Thursday of each month March through December, except for June when it falls during FestivALL and November when it moves to the day following Thanksgiving. For more information, visit artwalkcwv.com.