Lake Norman Magazine

Hunt for local treasure

Everyone likes scavenger hunts. Kids love the thrill of finding hidden treasures. Grownups enjoy deciphering the coded clues that help track down the prizes.The Mooresville Art Walk, a year-round event held the second Friday of each month, is a cool scavenger hunt with art, music, food and drinks. And finding the treasures is fairly easy: Just stroll down Mooresville’s Main Street and spy business street-side signs welcoming you inside. Since 2008, the Mooresville Art Walk has been showcasing local artists for Lake Norman residents to enjoy. “The Art Walk is a great way to promote local artists and downtown businesses,” says Kim Atkins, executive director of the Mooresville Downtown Commission. Formed in 1987, the commission promotes historic downtown Mooresville by planning community events like the Art Walk. The premise is simple: Local businesses stage artists’ works for extended evening hours. Refreshments are provided. Many of the artists are on hand to talk about their works. And yes, items are for sale. It’s like a gallery crawl without the galleries, the exceptions being Cotton Ketchie’s Landmark Galleries and Four Corners Framing and Gallery. Other Main Street businesses that participate vary and may include Future Fashion Designers, an academy offering fashion design, fashion sketching, sewing and art classes; Big Hat Larry’s Guitars, Music & More, which offers music lessons and sells instruments and vinyl records; and 202 North Main Fine Wines, which features fine wines for sipping and for sale. “When it comes to the Art Walk, art is a broad term,” Atkins explains. “The event features painters, sculptors, musicians and other artists. The social aspect is just as important as the art.” While the crowd tends to be mostly adults, families do attend this free community event. “People just enjoy strolling downtown, seeing the artists and visiting with friends,” says Atkins. If you haven’t noticed, downtown Mooresville is undergoing a transformation. Gone is the sleepy town that was closed for business after 5 p.m. With new restaurants and unique boutiques and shops, the downtown commission’s catchphrase “It’s Happening Downtown” is no longer just a slogan. Events like the monthly Art Walk provide a backdrop for exploring the Main Street scene. For those interested in the art, be sure to stop by the Mooresville Artist Guild, which operates out of the Depot Visual Arts Gallery on Center Avenue. What was once the Southern Railway Depot now attracts visitors from throughout the Piedmont. Galleries feature rotating exhibits of local artists, and the Guild promotes classes and workshops for aspiring artists, too. “The Artist Guild features new exhibits each month and encourages visitors to frequent other Art Walk participating businesses,” says Ellen Patterson, president of the Mooresville Artist Guild. “In addition to showcasing the Depot’s art, our goal is to encourage people to visit all the features of downtown Mooresville.” A recent addition to the Art Walk is the Art and Garden Show at La Petite Park. Without an event, La Petite Park is a speck of lawn between two buildings on North Broad Street. Invite some vendors and string some lights, and suddenly you have an outdoor art show with growing potential. Started by an organization called The Grass Roots Group, La Petite Park’s first Art and Garden Show was held last fall in conjunction with the Mooresville Art Walk. It was so successful that a second show was held this past May, and future shows are planned. Visitors can browse the shops on either side of the park and visit art displays in between. It’s a great example of combining green space and brick buildings to create a fun environment. You don’t need to be an art aficionado to attend the monthly Mooresville Art Walk. But after attending the event, you’ll likely appreciate art – and downtown Mooresville – just a bit more. Want to go? Mooresville Art Walk: Held the second Friday evening of each month. This month’s event is 6-8 p.m. July 8. For more details visit the Mooresville Downtown Commission website, www.downtownmooresville.com.

Mooresville Artist Guild: 103 W. Center Avenue, Mooresville, www.magart.org.

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