Luaren Dunn, Chattanooga, Tenn. – It is time again for the Association for Visual Arts (AVA) to decorate Chattanooga for the Gallery Hop.

Founded nine years ago, the AVA created the Gallery Hop in order to showcase local artists by dedicating a day strictly to art presentation, encouraging the community to visit the studios and gaining a new appreciation for the artists and their work.

AVA Director and Gallery Hop planner Lauren Goforth explained, “Each gallery has its own thing going on. They all have their own flavor; artist demonstrations, new exhibits, just something different at each place.”

Essentially a city-wide open house, any art galleries or studios throughout Chattanooga are welcome to participate in the Gallery Hop.
A total of 24 galleries, including five newcomers, will participate in the Hop, including the Area 61 Gallery, the Open Press and University’s Cress Gallery.
A new feature called “pop-up galleries” will be introduced as well.
Pop-up galleries are for local artists who do not have a gallery or studio in which to display their work. These artists borrow a business space for the night to show their artwork off to the community.
Three of the five new galleries on the list are pop-ups this year. Pop-ups are Goforth’s favorite aspect of the upcoming Gallery Hop, and she believes they will add to the success of the Hop.

“All of the galleries are like they are a part of the community. The more the merrier in this town,” Goforth said. “It is a very welcoming town, not only for the arts, but in general. It has grown every year and has a great sense of community.”

One of the yearly highlights of the Gallery Hop is that participating galleries share the same operating hours. Visiting multiple galleries at one time has the tendency to be difficult due to variation in gallery hours. On estimate 3,000 to 4,000 people attend the gallery hop while 600 or 700 of those people visit the AVA alone.

The drive behind this event is not only to promote local artists but also for the city of Chattanooga as a whole.

“Galleries and artists are a big part of this town,” explains Goforth. “The visual arts have really blossomed here, and this is a celebration of that.”

Artists, including students, are welcome to join studios participating in the Gallery Hop or set up their own pop-up gallery, but they must register the summer before the event begins.

The Gallery Hop occurs the weekend after Labor Day, which falls on Saturday this year, Sept. 10 from 2 to 10 p.m.
There will be displays, special exhibits and refreshments.