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Artists Plan a ‘Look on the Bright Side’ for this Year’s Finders Keepers Scavenger Hunt

'Bright'-themed embroidered dolls by Julie Phillipps. Courtesy photo

The WeHa Artists Emporium will hold the seventh annual ‘Finders Keepers’ hunt in West Hartford beginning Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020.

Wood panel with a ladder to a bright moon by Stefanie Marco. Courtesy photo

By Ronni Newton

Like so many events in 2020 the Finders Keepers Art Hunt will be a bit different this year, but organizers have come up with an option that will not only be safe for participants but also bring a much-needed smile to people’s faces.

“Look on the Bright Side!” – a phrase which immediately imbues positive energy – is the theme for this year’s Finders Keepers art hunt, hosted by the WEHA Artists Emporium.

Like past Finders Keepers Art Hunts, you can keep whatever you fund. But unlike past hunts, participants won’t just be searching for artistically painted or decorated rocks.

WEHA Artists Emporium co-founder and event organizer Stefanie Marco said, “There were so many kindness rocks popping up around town, we thought we’d do something different.”

Small pieces can be donated by local artists in any medium, but should be based on the “Look on the Bright Side” theme, reflecting the artists’ unique interpretation of what it means to choose optimism.

JOY pendant by Linda Gagnon Davidson of Quilibet Jewelry. Courtesy photo

And rather than having a large crowd convening on a single location, all at the same time, to begin a frenzied scavenger hunt, Finders Keepers will be spread out over the course of a week, from Sunday, Nov. 29 through Saturday, Dec. 5.

“We really like the energy of a one-day hunt, but we want everyone to be safe, and feel that a spread-out hunt will help keep crowds low,” WEHA Artists Emporium co-founder and event organizer Julie Phillipps said.

While Marco and Phillipps considered canceling Finders Keepers for this year, they decided it was possible to do it safely, and that it would be a much-needed and appreciated diversion.

“2020 has been rough,” said Marco. “We all need a bright side.”

Some of the pieces donated thus far include a hand-painted wood panel with a ladder to a bright moon, brightly-colored felt dolls, photography bundles, pendants that read “JOY,” stickers, digital prints, specialty sewn face masks, and wooden ornaments. For those who like collecting rocks, there are some brightly-decorated stones included in this year’s donations as well.

‘VW Eye’ by Elizabeth McVerry Hanlon of Elizadoolittletoday Photography. Courtesy photo

All items in the hunt are tagged with the label: “Look on the Bright Side 2020.”

Contributing artists include: Stefanie Marco, Julie Phillipps, Denise Balcanoff, Alexandra Burness, Sarah Loiselle, Annie Hayami, Eina Rieger, Anna Gawel, Quilibet Jewelry, Amy Sommers Photography, Block 21 Prints, Heart Stone Gallery, ElizaDoLittleToday Photography, Deena Samberg-Shefsky of DDJ Design, and Bonnie MacKenzie of Seven Hawk Studio.

Pieces will be hidden throughout town on each of the seven days, beginning Nov. 29.

Clues about the location of each item will be posted on the Facebook event page, Look On the Bright Side Art Hunt. The event is free to the public and open to everyone.

Phillipps is hopeful that the event, which will be held completely outdoors, will be able to proceed safely. Participants must wear masks and maintain physical distancing from each other.

Phillipps noted, however, that organizers will be keeping a very close eye on West Hartford’s COVID-19 spread. “If we feel like the hunt cannot proceed safely, we will postpone it,” she said.

In addition to Finders Keepers, the WEHA Artists Emporium is also hosting its very first online art market for “Artist Sunday,” Sunday, Nov. 29.

“It’s a safe way for people to shop from home and support local artists,” Marco said.

There are 10 local artists scheduled for the exhibit, with each given a 30-minute timeframe between the hours of 10 a.m.-3 p.m. to hold a live Art Market showcasing their art on the WEHA Artists Emporium group page.

For more information or to participate in the online art market, visit the Facebook event page.

For more information on the Finders Keepers hunt, and sneak peeks at the art that will be hidden, as well as updates on the status, visit the Facebook event page, Look on the Bright Side Art Hunt.

“Finders keepers! May the art you discover help you see the bright side!” organizers said.

Cat ornament by Sarah D’Alessandro May of Block21 Prints. Courtesy photo

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