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Friday, March 01, 2024

Gainesville residents gathered at Thornebrook Village and Millhopper Square on Friday for an evening of cheese spreads, chocolate wine and creativity at the Uptown Art Hop.

Nine stores ranging from art galleries to chocolate shops kept their doors open until 9 p.m. for Gainesville residents to socialize, check out local artists and wander the area.

“That’s one of the reasons for the Art Hop: to make people more comfortable with art and make it nonthreatening,” said David Arrighi, owner of Thornebrook Gallery. “They can come in, have a glass of wine and talk about what they see. Maybe it will spark something.”

French vocals and classic jazz standards wafted from the McIntyre Stained Glass Studio & Art Gallery in Thornebrook Village. Inside, about 30 award ribbons hung over stained glass images of fish.

“The Art Hop is a really fun way to get out and be exposed,” said Mary McIntyre, who has run the gallery for 13 years. “Gainesville is learning to appreciate the wealth of talent we have.”

Art Hop is hosted and sponsored about six times a year by the businesses, Arrighi said.

“We just had the idea this might be fun to do, so we got together and did it,” he said.

At Thornebrook Chocolate, attendees sampled chocolate-infused wines from miniature edible cups.

Paula Wilkerson, a local chemical engineer and attendee, said she enjoyed the event because she didn’t have to travel to a museum to find a collection of local art.

“There’s a lot of energy, creativity and mutual support,” she said. “All these businesses are independently owned. People don’t know the creativity that brings to an area.”

For Malgorzata Deyrup, co-owner of clothing shop Malgorzata’s, the Art Hop was easier than selling her creations at a street show.

Deyrup opened the store with her husband last year after they both retired from teaching chemistry at UF. Now, she spends most of her workdays either running the shop or creating handmade and hand-dyed shawls, scarves and decorations that hang from the walls of her shop.

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“Even if you are a scientist, you can still have an imagination,” she said. “Dyeing is a little bit of chemistry.”

Contact Michael Scott Davidson at mdavidson@alligator.org.

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