Participants in the WeHa Artists Emporium’s spring treasure hunt will be searching for a ‘Things with Wings’ at a to-be-disclosed location in West Hartford on April 29, 2017.
By Ronni Newton
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 will be a hunt for “Things with Wings” on April 29.
“They’re really cute. I’m always so grateful and impressed that so many artists are willing to donate,” artist Julie Phillipps, a WeHa Artists Emporium founder and event organizer, said of the more than 100 small works of art which have been donated for the third annual treasure hunt. Phillipps said she expects between 115-12o pieces in all to be donated.
The small pieces of art will be hidden in a secret location that will not be revealed until 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 29, on the WeHa Artists Emporium’s “Things with Wings” Facebook event page. Phillipps won’t provide any hints other than that objects will be hidden in a place that qualifies as a single location, and that location won’t be Elizabeth Park where last spring’s very successful “Hidden Houses” was held.
Interested participants should sign up now on the event page to receive up-to-date information and a notification on April 29 as soon as the location is posted. It’s an “early bird catches the worm” event, and participants should be ready to begin hunting immediately.
The immediacy adds to the fun and energy, said Stefanie Marco Lantz, also a founder of WeHa Artists Emporium and one of the event organizers.
The artistic treasures are free to anyone who uncovers one, and the artists hope that once someone finds an object they will stop hunting.
Phillipps said the group likes to come up with a different theme for each hunt, and she had originally suggested birds or insects for the third annual hunt, but artist Phyllis Meredith came up with the broader idea of “Things with Wings.”
“Anything with wings works,” Phillipps said. “We have rabbits with wings, and little airplanes.” There are owls, chickens, fairies, birds, and even Pegasus.
According to an announcement about the event, this year’s art includes clay bee cups by David Davis Wilson, felted fairies by Phyllis Meredith, bird garden stakes by Eina Rieger, flying hearts by Lantz, and a stuffed pegasus by Phillipps.
Other artists who have made donations include Hannah Jackson, Denise Balcanoff, Kimberly Heil, Joslyn Austin, Pamela Howard, Dawn Manogue, and Sarah Loiselle.
Many of the winged creatures are sculpted or painted, while others adorn cups or platters.
Most are fairly small, Phillipps said, with the largest approximately 8-inches by 8-inches. Pegasus is between 7 and 8 inches tall.
An art market always follows the treasure hunt – providing the opportunity for artists to showcase their other works, hunters to add to their collections, and for those not lucky enough to find a piece to purchase one in support of local artists.
More “Things with Wings” will be sold, as well as other spring-themed works by local artists. “There will be so much really nice stuff,” Phillipps said.
This year’s Spring Art Market on April 29 and 30 will also in part serve as a fundraiser to offset the medical bills of Lantz, who was seriously injured April 11 when she was hit by a car while crossing Trout Brook Avenue and Farmington Avenue.
Artists are creating extra pieces, and suggesting a donation amount. “Everything from that will go to Stefanie and her family at the end of the weekend,” Phillipps said.
“It’s really amazing how well she’s doing,” Phillipps said of Lantz, who broke several bones in the incident.
Lantz is not able to drive, but Phillipps said she may make an appearance. Even if she is not physically present, the work Lantz created before she was injured will be part of the treasure hunt as well as the Spring Art Market. Other artists have volunteered to staff her booth.
The Spring Art Market will take place at 252 Park Rd., right next to Playhouse on Park, in the same space as the December art show was held. Hours will be Saturday from 1-4 p.m, and Sunday from noon-3 p.m.
For more information about the WeHa Artists Emporium, visit their Facebook page.
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