BY LORI MCKINNEY, RIFFRAFF ARTS COLLECTIVE
All Together Arts Week is happening through May 19 in locations around Mercer County. The week is a community-driven event that spotlights live music, poetry readings, paint nights, art shows, art classes and venues; there will be gallery hops on a special trolley sponsored by The City of Bluefield offering guests an opportunity to discover the variety of venues that are available in Princeton, Bluefield and Bramwell. The purpose of the week is to celebrate and showcase the vibrant tapestry of arts activity our area holds, encourage support and participation, and unite creative people around the county and beyond. The week aims to put the spotlight on “a week in the life of the arts in Mercer County” to demonstrate the variety of creative activity that occurs regularly. Organizers hope people will visit new venues, make new friends, discover new opportunities and become engaged with the blossoming arts scene in the area.
Gallery hops will take place in Bluefield and Bramwell on Thursday the 17th and in Princeton on Friday the 18th. The Bluefield hop will start and end at The Railyard with stops at Bluefield Yarn Shop, The Paine Gallery and Brainerd Gallery in Bluefield Area Arts Center, the new location of Gary Bowling’s House of Art in the former Ramsey School, Bluefield College, The Only Look, and The Corner Shop in Bramwell where the Coal Mining Heritage Festival will be taking place. Guests will enjoy wine and jazz night at The Railyard to top off the evening. In Princeton, the trolley will stop at Chuck Mathena Center Rotunda Gallery, the gallery of Wanda Murphy, Frameworks Plus, Holler Contemporary Appalachian Art Gallery, The Bronze Look, Let Your Art Shine, Diamonds & Gold Look, Associated Photography and The RiffRaff Art Boutique. There is no charge to ride the trolley. See a detailed itinerary at alltogetherarts.com. Organizers send a special thank you to the City of Bluefield Community & Economic Development Department for sponsoring the trolley.
Featured events during the week include several showings of “Savannah Sipping Society” by 4 PALS Productions, poetry in the park sponsored by Appalachian PenWorks, live music at The Railyard, The Room Upstairs at The RiffRaff Arts Collective, and Sam’s Bar, creative activities at Princeton Public Library and Craft Memorial Library, College Night at Let Your Art Shine, the “Spring Fling Paint Thing” at Diamonds and Gold Look, “Paint NIght and Apples” hosted by The Rotary Club at CMC, a Coal Mining Heritage Festival in Bramwell featuring the drama “Terror of the Tug” and much more. Pottery Time in Princeton will offer 20% off of mugs all week. The full schedule of activities is available at alltogetherarts.com.
The Grand Finale Parade and Day of Merriment in downtown Princeton has been described as the most whimsical and joyous day of the year in the Mercer Street Grassroots District. The day begins at 11am on Saturday, May 19th with sidewalk chalk, music and getting in costume for the parade. People are encouraged to dress in their most colorful attire and march with the parade. At 12:30, participants will make their way to the parade starting point in the Service Cleaners parking lot. There will be no motorized vehicles in the parade; there will be puppets, a life- sized paper mache elephant, a dragon and other colorful creatures. Anyone is welcome to join in and guests are encouraged to bring their own puppets, masks or other festive items. The parade will march at 1pm, and will conclude in Dick Copeland Town Square with music, dancing and merriment until about 3pm. This event is free of charge. Special thanks go out to The City of Princeton, the Princeton Police Department and Fire Departments for their cooperation with this tradition.
Visit alltogetherarts.com for a complete schedule and more information, or call 304-320-8833.
The event is sponsored by The RiffRaff Arts Collective and LLyniuM entertainment. They would like to thank the City of Bluefield Community & Economic Development Department for their sponsorship of the gallery hops.