University of Vermont

Vermont Quarterly

Art Hopping

Art Hop
Art Hop


Art hopping

It’s an evening during which you’ll sidestep a pair of menacing puppet figures in a dark parking lot; watch sparks lift into the night sky from an outdoor kiln; stumble upon rock bands in back alleys; feel and act upon an elemental need for Kettle Korn—and discover art, lots and lots of art. Painting, photography, sculpture, fashion, and so on tucked in every imaginable space, ratty warehouses to the clean, well-lit Subaru dealership. It’s Burlington’s South End Art Hop—art show/street fair/two-mile-long block party with thousands of your hippest friends—going strong at twenty-one years.

Pine Street and Flynn Avenue, the heart of Burlington’s old industrial zone which once manufactured goods from Maypo cereal to wooden bobbins, are the main axes for the event. Across the past two decades, the area has steadily transformed as a headquarters for businesses that seek something more soulful than an office park or strip mall. One of the most recent Pine Street success stories is, which could just as easily be in Silicon Valley as in a spiffy renovated factory a block from Lake Champlain.

The South End Arts and Business Association is a key driver of “economic vitality and electic mix,” as the association puts it, in this part of town. Art Hop distills that vibe into an early September weekend when the sidewalks are filled with  hipster gallery regulars and folks who haven’t stared down a painting for a long time, families with little kids, and clusters of bigger kids, UVM first-years who have come down the hill with new dorm-floor friends, looking around with some wonder at their new home.

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