Meet local artists with Looff On Tour

Meet local artists with Looff On Tour

One of artist Rachel Brask’s Rainy Day paintings, which will be on display and for sale outside her studio in East Providence during the Looff On Tour event Saturday, Aug. 8.

EAST PROVIDENCE – The East Providence Arts Council’s annual arts festival is going on tour this summer, bringing visitors outside the studios of local artists, many of which are located at their homes.

Looff On Tour, described as “a little bit outdoor art festival, a little bit open studio tour,” will take place on Saturday, Aug. 8, from noon to 6 p.m. at various sites around East Providence. Maps detailing specific locations will be available online and at spots around the city, organizers said.

Rick Lawson, chairman of the EPAC, said the event is a great opportunity for folks to get out of the house and see parts of East Providence they maybe haven’t seen as well as “check out some really, really cool artwork.”

“It exposes the community to these artists in a more personal setting,” he said. “It’s just a great community event. East Providence is an amazing place.”

The annual festival, which started in 2014, usually takes place at Crescent Park in East Providence but due to its large-scale nature had to be canceled because of the coronavirus. The council had also been planning to host an open studio tour and decided to combine the two for this event.

“There are a lot of great artists in East Providence who were willing to open their home studios,” he said. “We have artists from Rumford down to Riverside.”

There will be 18 artists and three writers set up across 10 locations, many in front of their homes. People can drive around the city and visit them, hopefully purchasing some of their work, he said. “I’m excited that we can offer some artists an opportunity for them to showcase their wares,” he said. “It’s also good that we can keep the Looff going.”

A few booths will be set up at Hunt’s Mills Museum, 27 Hunts Mill Road, where there will also be belly dancers and an a cappella group performing.

Small-scale live music will take place at Stevie D’s Riverside Tavern, 24 Monroe Ave., including acoustic duos and three-piece bands, Lawson said, noting they’re planning on three to four acts.

“I’m a musician myself. We’re all itching to play,” he said. “I’m excited to offer some musicians an outlet to perform live.”

Folks can also grab some pub food at Stevie D’s. Riverside Creamery, 447 Willett Ave., has offered to host an artist and has suggested creating a special flavor or sundae dish for the event, he said.

Lawson said when you look at activities people are doing during this lockdown time, it’s art, music, reading books, and watching movies. “Art is what nurtures our soul during this tough time,” he said. “The Arts Council is working hard to keep some normalcy in this time of COVID.”

Artist Emily Farnsworth, of East Providence, will have her acrylic and oil paintings on display outside her family’s restaurant, Farnsworth Cafe, 302 Willett Ave., for the day.

Farnsworth has participated in the art festival since 2017. “It’s always been a great experience,” she said. “I’m excited about the On Tour (event). It’s going to be a little different.”

Farnsworth’s paintings tend to be landscapes and portraits, and she also does tattoo designs. This year she also started to make jewelry, which she will be selling for the first time, she said.

Her jewelry will be for sale for $25 to $60, while paintings cost between $60 and $200.

On Carriage Lane in Rumford, artist Rachel Brask will be displaying her series of oil paintings, which she’s dubbed Rachel’s Rainy Days, in the yard outside her studio.

Her work, which costs between $50 and $1,200, consists of colorful, textured oil painting impressions of rainy days, she said. While many people think of rainy days as “doom and gloom,” she said her mission is to show them as joyful and peaceful. “You can’t have flowers in spring without the rain.”

She also offers prints, mugs, and other gift products so there’s something for every budget and price point, she noted.

While she’s participated in past Looff art festivals, she said what’s cool about the decentralized way of doing it this year is that it helps people visit different locations throughout town and “to realize how many creative artists are in East Providence.”

The lockdown this past spring has afforded artists time to work on new pieces. In April, Brask painted one painting per day, resulting in 30 small paintings, which she exhibited on the picket fence in her front yard for passersby to see and purchase.

“Now is a really great way to get out and see what (artists) have been doing during that time,” Brask said.

The rain date will be Saturday, Aug. 15. For more information, visit https://eastprovidencearts.org/looff-on-tour/ .