Every first Friday of the month in Stuart, white tents rise along Colorado Avenue and the surrounding areas as artists set up their work. Bands unpack equipment to prepare for the evening’s performances, and businesses hold off on flipping their “closed” signs, as they stay open late to welcome artist displays.
Dubbed “Creek Walk,” the monthly event launched in November is the latest expansion from the city’s newly formed Creek District of Arts & Entertainment. Board member Katie Gianni says the goal is to connect artists, the community, and local businesses as well as draw attention to the district. The event has certainly taken off: The February 7 Creek Walk welcomed more than 100 guests, with two dozen local businesses participating—double that of the inaugural event last fall. “It’s quite rewarding to see something like this come together as quickly as it has and become quite accessible within the community,” says Duncan Hurd of The Gilt Complex, a Creek Walk participant.
During the event, area businesses including galleries, coffee shops, boutiques, pubs, and more open their doors to host local artists like Heather Ivins, whose work featuring landscapes and pets was shown at Gilt in February. “[The event offers] a really nice opportunity to support local artists and, likewise, for artists to draw people into businesses some people may not know about,” Ivins says.
Strolling through the event, guests can hear music from on-site musicians as well as nearby venues like Terra Fermata Tiki Bar, which also hosts live painting during Creek Walks. As they mill about, visitors can take advantage of live painting demonstrations, listen to poets, and browse through crafts from jewelry makers and other artisans. “There are so many art forms,” Gianni says. “It doesn’t all have to be fine art.”
Local photographer Mark Stall, who has displayed his work at the walk, says the event’s energy has been great and allows him to connect with individual community members. “We get more one-on-one time,” he says. Other Creek Walk artists include Sophie Ledermé, who works in abstract shapes and vivid shades of acrylics and alcohol inks; Sue Klane, who offers vivid paint pours of ocean scenes; and Laura Kay’s gemstone, silver clay, coral, and fused-glass jewelry pieces.
Gianni says she’s hopeful about the future of the new district and is eager to see more open galleries and studios, as well as more nontraditional artists. With momentum and enthusiasm going strong, that is almost
sure to happen.
“Artists provide the glue to a community,” Hurd says. “They bring beauty and life—and the more art and artists you have within a community, the more vibrant that community tends to be.”