Diana Dunkley looks at a large painting full of dark, deep colors and swirls. It’s displayed pristinely at 1019 Del.— it’s her studio space, her painting, but she’s talking excitedly about, well, the excitement of talking about art.
She says the Lawrence ArtWalk, which she helped found with bookstore owner Pat Kehde in 1995, is a special event for artists and patrons alike because it gives the creators the opportunity to tell stories about their work. It’s the storytelling, she said, that makes it more fun.
“Sometimes I learn more about the piece by telling it, too,” she said.
The 17th annual Lawrence ArtWalk kicked off Saturday and continues today. It’s a self-guided tour of 21 studios, galleries and living rooms. What makes it special, Dunkley said, is the intimacy of showing art in the spaces it was made — that leads to storytelling, connection with the art and, the artists hope, greater interest in purchasing a piece.
Lawrence artist Jason Wood is showing his mixed media works and prints in his home at 1108 Conn. He says he appreciates the ArtWalk because showing in his own space helps him to be “a lot more comfortable — totally at ease.”
Mary Sparks, a retired art teacher from Overland Park, had never been to an ArtWalk event but agreed that the chance to see the artists’ spaces made the event unique.
“In a gallery, you just see the final product,” she said, “but if you can see their studio, you get to see the process.”
Lauretta Hendricks Backus’ big, bold, colorful acrylics cover the walls at 933 Penn. — not her space, admittedly, but the borrowed space of a friend. She, like Dunkley, felt that attendance was down compared with the event’s last year.
Still, the ArtWalk gives her a chance to display and sell her work where she may not have had it otherwise.
“And it’s a social thing, too,” she said.