Merced Art Hop gets interactive

07/17/2014 3:29 PM

07/17/2014 3:29 PM

This weekend’s Merced Art Hop, a quarterly celebration of self-expression, will ramp up the opportunities for visitors to get in on the artistry, according to one organizer.

Saturday’s event kicks off at 5 p.m. and ends at 9 on West Main Street, from N Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Way. More than 20 businesses and dozens of artists are taking part.

The event will offer interactive art exhibits along the street and in Bob Hart Square, according to Kimberly Zamora, who co-founded the event with Kevin Hammon.

Art Hop takes place four times a year in Merced. The summer edition tends to have the lightest attendance – a combination of hot weather and young people being away for the summer means fewer visitors, she said.

Somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 people are expected.

The organizers received nonprofit status earlier this year, she said, a huge step toward being able to obtain grant money. “It will change the dynamics of our organization,” she said.

Bolstering the budget for Art Hop, she said, could mean bigger art installations, scholarships for artists and marketing for the event, to name a few ideas.

Thus far, she said, Art Hop has survived on donations, sponsorships and fundraising.

Photographer Leonardo Alvarez is the featured artist for the event. His photography will be on display at Binary Systems Computer Repair, 600 W. Main St.

Other highlights at Saturday’s event include:

• 5:30, 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. – The Violette Films Showcase offers three short films and a music video inside the Merced Multicultural Arts Center, 645 W. Main St.
• 6 and 7 p.m. – Two fashion shows featuring two designers are planned in Bob Hart Square.
• 6:30 p.m. – Local dance group Dance Saute will perform in front of the Regal Hollywood Merced theater, 403 W. Main St.
• 7:30 p.m. – Mantra plays its tunes in front of the Regal Hollywood Merced theater.

Other offerings include paint and airbrush demonstrations as well as a DJ.

For more information about this weekend’s event, go to mercedarthop.org.

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