skip to Main Content
Menu

What is the Art drive?

Now in its twelfth year, this open studio event organized by Dartmouth and Westport artists educates visitors and positively impacts the local economy. The Art Drive is intended to be a unique opportunity to visit working artists in their unusual and dramatic studio settings, spotted among the area’s villages, lovely farm land and sea coast.

The Art drive, a juried studio tour, showcases creative and professional works by participating artists. Some of the area’s premier painters, ceramic artists, photographers, jewelers, fiber artists, woodworkers, and metal artists participate in this annual event. Each year members endeavor to improve and enhance the quality and diversity of work offered to visitors.

Art lovers and collectors alike will enjoy a great day trip, or weekend escape, while touring the historic SouthCoast towns of Dartmouth and Westport. With only 15 miles separating the studios, visitors will enjoy a scenic drive through this picturesque area with ample time for a picnic lunch at the beach or dinner at one of the many area restaurants.

Mission

The mission of the Art drive is to organize an open studio tour and promote artists in Southeastern Massachusetts, providing the public with unique opportunities to meet artists and explore a wide variety of art forms. The Art drive supports artists in the Dartmouth/Westport communities and cultivates public awareness of the area as a center for art by offering intellectually stimulating and professional quality artworks.

By providing the opportunity for artists to exhibit and sell original works of art to the public, the arts community has developed a sense of shared support. With an online directory and artist profiles, professionally designed and printed brochures with tour map, and targeted promotional materials, the Art drive provides a one-of-a-kind experience for its artists and anyone who participates in the weekend tour.

How does the Art drive happen?

Each year the Art drive is organized by all of its participating members, with a core group of artists who volunteer to be on the Art drive committee.  All artists pay an annual fee to be included on the tour.  The Art drive is an unincorporated nonprofit organization, and it receives generous support from the Helen E. Ellis Charitable Trust and both the Dartmouth and Westport Cultural Councils, local chapters of the Massachusetts Cultural Council.  In addition to grant support, the Art drive is sustained by contributions from local businesses and individuals.

What happened to the fish?

Historically, the Art drive artists all created large, colorful depictions of a popular species of fish.  While we loved spotting all the fabulous fish throughout the SouthCoast region, we realized that the 2D wooden panels posed a challenge to many of our artists who usually work with media other than paint.  Our artists devote much of their time and energy to help plan and prepare for this annual event, so beginning in 2017, our artists agreed to change direction for the 10th anniversary of the Art drive. Participants now aim to focus their time on creating an abundance of quality work in their studios.  We know many people miss the fish, but we  guarantee that you’ll still love the Art drive!

The Art drive Experience

The annual Art drive is a magical experience! My friends and I mention it throughout the year as we recall our inspiring interaction with art makers, the diverse images and approaches to art that we come upon, and the beautiful scenery as we meander through the area. We always include a stop at Partners for lunch, and inevitably go home with a few purchases. Gosh, it’s great just writing about it! Can’t wait.”

Nancy Rowett, Providence, RI

If you are an art lover, the Art drive is a perfect way to spend a summer afternoon. We loved meeting the artists at their studios and seeing all the different media they work in, from painting to photography to sculpture.”

Alison Elliott & Steve Blank, Tiverton, RI

As an annual visitor to the Art drive, I look forward to seeing new work every year. Getting to meet artists in their studio is a rare chance to see a range of current work and respond viscerally to the work that speaks to you.”

Judy Siegle, Boston and Dartmouth