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West Hartford ‘Word Search’: This Spring’s Art Hunt

Painted Blocks by Stefanie Marco of KiNDSPiN DESiGN. Courtesy photo

‘Words & Wishes’ is the theme of the WeHa Artists Emporium’s 2019 spring treasure hunt, and on May 4, art hunters will be out in force in West Hartford.

Felted Bird by Julie Phillipps. Courtesy photo

By Ronni Newton

The West Hartford community will be searching for words on the morning of May 4, but it doesn’t mean that anyone will be at a loss for words, and this isn’t the kind of word search that takes place on a printed page.

Participants will be searching for “Words and Wishes,” setting out a 9 a.m. from a secret location to find pieces of art featuring the written language for the fifth annual WeHa Artists Emporium spring art hunt. Eighteen local artists have lovingly crafted and donated art for this event.

It could be a phrase, a single word, or even a letter,” said WeHa Artists Emporium co-founder Julie Phillipps, who created needle-felted birds sitting atop bobbins, including one that reads: The Early Bird.  

“The artists work with the cohesive theme ‘words & wishes’ but all work in their own style and medium, so it’s fun to see the wide variety of pieces,” said co-founder Stefanie Marco, owner of KiNDSPiN DESiGN, who has painted a rainbow array of words and wishes on reclaimed wood – words and phrases like: love, live fully, shine, grow organic, peace, and be kind.

The larger blocks have mini glass jars attached, filled with “magical wishing” [dandelion] seeds. “In our family we love dandelions and always make wishes as we blow the dandelion seeds,” she said.

Painted Acorn by Sarah Loiselle. Courtesy photo

Many of the pieces are quite small, so only a few letters will fit. Sarah Loiselle’s intricately painted acorns include an attached metal charm with the letters “WEHA,” and a necklace crafted by Rachel Shuler of Mountain Tree Studios reads “hope.”

Other treasures include a ceramic wall plaque by Kerri Michaud-Bagley from Heart Stone Gallery, mini paintings by Amy and Freya Yungk, and a game by Angela Shenk. There are pieces of sculpture, mini pillows, and more.

There are 115 pieces in all that will be hidden and ready for discovery beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 4. The secret location will be revealed that morning. If you want to join the hunt, sign up on the Words & Wishes Facebook event page, and check back the morning of the event to find out the location.

Marco suggests being dressed and ready, with your shoes on, by 8:55 a.m. The event will not last all day, and you’ll need to be an early bird to find that “Early Bird” – and the other pieces of hidden art.

All are wonderful treasures, Phillipps said. “The artists in the group are incredibly generous and wonderfully talented. We’re asking you to leave the house at 9 a.m. on a Saturday, so we’re going to make sure it’s for something good.”

“We’re super excited for the ‘Words & Wishes’ art hunt,” said Marco. “We love seeing the town come together for local art fun – all ages having fun together and getting inspired by art!”

Marco hopes that hunters enjoy the fun of the search, even if they aren’t lucky enough to end up with a treasure. She and Phillipps also ask that those who do find a piece share a photo on Facebook.

“The artists love to see who find their art,” she said. And hunters can also give back to the artists by visiting their pages and websites, and their shows.

The 18 participating artists are: Stefanie Marco, Julie Phillipps, Sarah Loiselle, Laura Marks, Angela Shenk, Kerri Michaud-Bagley, C. M. Nystrom, Kimberly Heil, Elizabeth Hanlon, Denise Balcanoff, Ashley Maxwell, Amy Yungk, Freya Yungk, Rachel Schuler, Annie Mae, Linda Davidson, Karen Burke, and Prathima Bhargav.

For more information about Words & Wishes, including a sneak peek at some more pieces that will be hidden, visit the event Facebook page.

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Clay Plaque by Kerri Michaud-Bagley. Courtesy photo

Necklace by Rachel Shuler. Courtesy photo

Game by Angela Shenk. Courtesy photo

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