Where can you make a watercolor greeting card, do yoga in a museum surrounded by incredible artwork, and take an evening tour of local street art?
Right on the North Shore, thanks to ArtWeek, a 10-day art festival celebrating the creative economy that features hands-on, interactive events, exhibits, activities, and tours throughout the state. This year’s festival, running from April 26 to May 5, features nearly 600 events in 125 towns and neighborhoods, including more than 100 on the North Shore, and 70% of them are free to attend, the organizers said.
The North Shore’s incredible array of events for ArtWeek, presented by Highland Street Foundation and produced by the Boch Center, include lots of things you would expect—painting, concerts, walking tours, and open studios—and a huge host of things you might not.
You can make mandala stones with a local artist at the Peabody Essex Museum, and watch an artist create mosaic art in sidewalk cracks in Lynn. You can experience the Food Truck Festival at Ironbound Marketplace in Lynn, do yoga in the gallery at the Cape Ann Museum, and even learn all about (and eat!) lobster at Mile Marker One in Gloucester. Kids can even make “exploding books” at the Sawyer Free Library in Gloucester.
Among other Northshore highlights is a free twilight tour through Lynn’s public art, during which staff from the creative placemaking nonprofit Beyond Walls will take visitors through the permanent LED underpass lighting project “Lynn Lights” and “RetroLit,” a collection of publicly mounted vintage neons, as well as large-scale street art.
Those who want to turn ArtWeek into a staycation can check out #DestinationArtWeek, which offers overnight accommodations at local inns and hotels at a discounted rate. Among the Northshore participants are the Cedar Hill Farm Bed & Breakfast in Essex, Tuck Inn B&B in Rockport, and the Castle Manor Inn in Gloucester.
Along with hundreds of regional events held throughout the 10-day festival, ArtWeek also include three special programs. The first, “Art of Food,” taps partner restaurants, which feature a special ArtWeek menu item inspired by a piece of art, artist, or music.
For instance, you’ll find the Tintype beer, inspired by local artist Elizabeth Hall, at Bentwater Brewing in Lynn, and at Feather & Wedge in Rockport you can sample a dish inspired by the song “Ham ‘N’ Eggs” by A Tribe Called Quest with coppa, soft egg, giardinera, soft herbs, and extra-virgin olive oil.
ArtWeek’s other special programs are visual in nature. “ArtWeek on the Road” features huge digital roadside art billboards (like “Essex River” by Alison Taylor in the Essex River Cultural District), while “Light Up the Night” will illuminate different landmarks at night, like Boston City Hall.
For a full calendar of events on the North Shore, Boston, and beyond, visit calendar.artweekma.org.