It all began one day when two local downtown business owners had a vision to organize a Art hop in Merced . one of which herself an artist, their motivation was two-fold: economic stimulation to the downtown businesses and to support local artists who have few opportunities to exhibit their work.
Meanwhile, with encouragement from the Merced Redevelopment Agency, Staci Santa from the Arts Council and Tami Davidson of Diva Accessories were envisioning the same thing for the same reasons. With a little strategy and a lot of serendipity, the four met in August 2008 and never said “we can’t.” Soon Luis and Irene De La Cruz Authors and Owners of “Between Friends/Entres Amigos” a local publication, was in full support, bolstering confidence and pushing our promotions efforts even further.
The only trouble was, art hops require art galleries, and Merced didn’t have many of those-not much “hop” to that. So, the founders went door-to-door asking businesses to stay open late for one night and pretend to be a gallery, host a local artist and welcome the community to come to their store for the exhibit. The organization did not jury the entries; any artists not chosen may exhibit in vacant storefronts, generously made available by the owners. Performing artists were encouraged to perform throughout the Art Hop, as well, making the downtown community even more vibrant.
Today, the Merced Art Hop is a non-profit arts organization, our fiscal sponsor is United Way Merced County. To date, we have presented eighteen Art Hops with support and enthusiasm from the Community. The Art Hop is expanding in attendance and participation every event; we have tons of art, rich in culture, live music, interactive art activities and performers. http://mercedarthop.com/