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‘Faces’ Will Be Treasured Prizes in Spring Art Hunt in West Hartford

Blocks by Stefanie Marco Lantz. Courtesy photo

‘Finding Faces’ is the theme of the WeHa Artists Emporium’s 2018 spring treasure hunt, and on April 29, art hunters will be out in force in West Hartford.

Portrait by Julie Phillipps. Courtesy photo

By Ronni Newton

Community members will be ready to go in search of treasure on the morning of Sunday, April 29, but they won’t know where they’re going to be able to find “Faces” until the location for the WeHa Artists Emporium’s spring art hunt is posted on the group’s Facebook page at 9 a.m. that morning.

The WeHa Artists Emporium has been engaging the community and raising awareness of local artists with its extraordinarily popular and entertaining treasure hunts for the past several years, and this year’s spring adventure, “Finding Faces,” will not disappoint. 

Julie Phillipps, one of the founding members of WeHa Artists Emporium, said that each year a different theme is chosen, and it has to be something that artists, who donate their time and treasures, will respond to.

“The human brain is programmed to look at faces,” Phillips said, and “Finding Faces” does leave plenty of room for creative interpretation.

Stefanie Marco Lantz, also a founding member of the WeHa Artists Emporium, said that artists can work in any medium but were give one constraint: “They had to make something with a face on it.” The face doesn’t even need to be human, and according to Lantz, the the artists have risen to the challenge with the pieces that have been donated thus far.

Phillipps said that artists have created a great variety for this year’s event, including clay dishes, wooden posts, repurposed spoons, ring bowls, sketchbooks, miniature portraits, and her felted needlepoint “people.”

Some of the artists haven’t yet figured out what they are donating, and Phillipps said she loves to be surprised. “It’s like getting a little Christmas treat – that you don’t get to keep.”

On April 29, more than 100 pieces will be hidden in that to-be-disclosed location for art lovers to find. Phillipps wouldn’t provide any hints other than: “It’s a public area in West Hartford.”

Unlike the December hunt, where a small number of treasures are hidden in a different place each day, the spring hunt is in one place all at once.

When someone finds a piece, it’s “finders, keepers,” Phillipps said, but organizers do ask that treasure hunters keep only one item. Also, the artists really appreciate it when the finders post a photo on Facebook. “Photos help us keep track of things, and artists always love to see who gets their art.”

Phillipps said she has no idea how many people will engage in this year’s hunt, but said many of the same people come back each time WeHa Artists Emporium hosts an event. “There are a lot of repeat people, and this is something they like to do,” she said. “It becomes repeat event with the same group, a tradition.”

The location “reveal” will be at 9 a.m. on April 29, and those who want to participate should join the “Finding Faces Art Hunt” event on Facebook.

Marco Lantz said that things happen really fast after that. “You need to be ready when the location is posted, then get in your car and go. Otherwise you’ll miss the whole thing.” Phillipps said that last year, cars starting arriving within 5 or 10 minutes.

Artists participating in “Finding Faces” include: Stefanie Marco Lantz, Julie Phillipps, Hannah Jackson, Eina Rieger, Kaitlin Considine, Elizabeth Hanlon, Angela Shenk, Denise Balcanoff, Sarah Loiselle, and Shannon MacGrogan-Ellis.

Phillipps said she and other organizers are so thankful to the artists who so generously donate their one-of-a-kind works.

“I think that the artists that participate do it to be part of a community event,” she said. “They like to give, to be part of a town where fun things like this happen.” And the energy surrounding the event makes it rewarding for the artists.

“I hope it’s going to be a nice day,” Phillipps said, but barring any severe weather, the event will not be postponed. “It’s rain or shine. Wear  your boots and bring an umbrella,” she said if it ends up raining. The art will be hidden in ziplock bags if necessary.

On April 29, those who find faces, will likely leave with smiling faces.

For more information about the WeHa Artists Emporium, visit their Facebook page.

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Clay bowls by Eina Rieger. Courtesy photo

Planter by Julie Phillipps. Courtesy photo

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