The WeHa Artists Emporium will hold the fourth annual ‘Finders Keepers’ rock hunt in West Hartford on Sunday, Nov. 25.
By Ronni Newton
WeHa Artists Emporium members are going to be very busy this holiday season, with a sock and backpack drive added to the organization’s signature “Finders Keepers” scavenger hunt and the Holiday Art Market.
The Finders Keepers Rock Hunt will kick off the holiday activities, and will be held on Sunday, Nov. 25.
“Every year we change it up a bit,” WeHa Artists Emporium co-founder Stefanie Marco said. This year, the biggest change is that the event is one day only.
Finders Keepers will begin at 9 a.m., and like past hunts the location is being kept a secret until that Sunday morning. Those who want to participate need to sign up on the Finders Keepers 2018 Facebook event page, and await the big reveal of the location.
WeHa Artists Emporium co-founder Julie Phillipps said that this year 114 rocks, by 19 different artists, have been donated.
“We have some return artists, like Bonnie MacKenzie, who have been so generous to keep making and giving gorgeous rocks year after year. And this year we have some new artists. Ellen Sayers has created a magnificent clock rock that is a true treasure,” Phillipps said.
The WeHa Artists Emporium’s Holiday Art Market, featuring a diverse assortment of arts and crafts, will be held on Dec. 1 (11 a.m.-4 p.m.) and Dec. 2 (11 a.m.-3 p.m.) at Watkinson School, 180 Bloomfield Ave., just over the line in Hartford.
“We have 31 incredible local artists and crafters this year,” said Marco. “We are always looking to bring very talented people with diverse skills and mediums together to showcase all the wonderful talent in the area and to create a marketplace that is thrilling and fun for the patrons.”
At the same time, and in the spirit of the season, WeHa Artists Emporium members wanted to do their part to make the world a better place.
Phillipps said she saw a Facebook video that highlighted the dire need for new socks at homeless shelters. Socks are not something that people think to donate quite as often as other items.
“The world seems a little chaotic right now, so I thought it’d be good to throw some kindness into the mix.”
Although she and Marco hadn’t done a charitable drive in the past, they found someone among their members – Greg Garcia – who knew exactly what to do.
Garcia, who is also an English teacher, has runs “Keep Hartford Warm,” an organization which collects and distributes coats, hats, scarves, and gloves and distributes them to people in need.
“I took the helm of ‘Keep Hartford Warm’ two years ago with the desire to keep its spirit and purpose alive, while also using it as a means to teach my students empathy and activism,” Garcia said. “It’s been a successful effort this far, thanks to support from caring people and groups like [the WeHa Artists Emporium]. I really appreciate and value the outreach, and hope that it’s only the beginning of a solid link between the arts community and those in need.”
In addition to new socks, new or gently used backpacks are being collected as part of the drive. Items should be brought to the Holiday Art Market – and to sweeten the incentive, Phillipps said, there will be a raffle.
“If you bring a pair of socks, you get one ticket. If you bring a six-pack, you get six tickets,” she said.
Phillipps is painting a watercolor specifically for the raffle, and other pieces of art will also be included as part of the raffle.
Phillipps said the next few weeks will be very busy with art and generosity. But it’s the “best kind of busy,” she said.
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