Note from Doni: Today’s conversation is with Adam Mankoski, half of the dynamic Hawkman Studios duo. Regular readers will also recognize Adam as a talented staff writer, most widely remembered for his “Get Outta Town” columns and his exclusive series about his first-hand account about his trip to Haiti with a North State medical team. Today we discuss ArtHop.
Q: Adam, it’s with a heavy heart that I must ask you to share your and Troy’s news about ArtHop. Is it true the December ArtHop will be the last?
Our hearts are heavy, too. This Saturday is the last ArtHop. But I’m not going to lie and say we’re not relieved. We are. It has been a really cool four and a half years, but we’re ready for new adventures. Troy is finished with school and has a new dream job at Boheme Salon. Hair and makeup are his new creative outlets. I’m working full-time, too. What most people don’t realize is that organizing an event the scope and size of ArtHop is a full-time job all its own. We’re tired. Time for a new torch bearer.
Q: I’ve watched how hard you guys have worked, and how much time, talent and energy you’ve dedicated to growing ArtHop. But when you mention a torch bearer, are you saying it’s possible this might not be the end of ArtHop after all?
Maybe not. We’re talking to a few people now who may take the ball and run with it. We would love for someone with a full charge of enthusiasm to come along and exceed what we’ve done. The right candidate must believe that art is essential to our community’s health and they have to be a constant advocate for the artists. This region is still behind the curve when it comes to appreciating and valuing art. We’re getting there, but sometimes it’s a tough sell. They must also want to work with artists who have have few opportunities to exhibit work. We have a great group of professional working artists, but also a lot of emerging talent. So, a willingness to educate artists about exhibiting, assembling a show and presenting work professionally is essential. We’ll see what happens.
Q: Feel free to tell me it’s none of my business, but can you talk about what led to this decision?
Of course it’s your business! We couldn’t have kept ArtHop alive without A News Cafe. You’ve always believed in us. But a combo of things led us to this decision. Besides the sordid topic of working full-time, a necessity right now, Troy and I feel like we’re not as enthusiastic about ArtHop as we once were. I know it sounds bad, but we’ve lost some of our zest. So, that doesn’t do the artists, the businesses or us any good.
Q: I respect your decision, and appreciate that you’re leaving now, rather than hanging on until you have absolutely nothing left to give. You know, not to get all nostalgic on you, but I clearly remember when you first conceived of ArtHop, you spoke of it in terms of being like a child. How does that fit now?
It is a bit like seeing your child leave home. We’ve been a little more reflective this week, now that things are winding down. It’s pretty incredible to look back at photos of all the shows, the art festival at Library Park, the “Art Attack” interactive events we used to do every month, the kick-off concerts. I hope the community had as much fun as we did. I’m sure as we process it more, we’ll get a little weepy. If you see us Saturday night, don’t make us cry.
Q: I won’t make you cry if you don’t make me cry. But if we did cry, it’s understandable. You’ve put your heart and soul into ArtHop, and it’s going to be sad to see it go away. OK, so given the fact that Saturday will be your final ArtHop, what will occupy your time? I know it’s not in your and Troy’s DNA to sit still for long. What now, my love?
We’ve postponed our move to Portland and decided to stay in Redding for a few more years. For awhile, we’re going to act like normal people – work, enjoy our weekends, rest, take vacations. We’re going to take a break. But I know that won’t last long. The juices are already flowing. Let’s just say that in the next few years, the North State is going to see another major arts event – this time on an international scale. Probably annual, not monthly. But once a year means we can make it HUGE.
Q: Listen to you! The train is still rolling with ArtHop, and you’re talking about your next big event. Whatever it is, you can count on anewscafe.com to help spread the word about it, because whatever you have in mind, I know it will be good.
You know, I’ve got to say, you and Troy performed a miracle in this town when you introduced ArtHop to Redding: You brought businesses and artists and the public together. You lured people outside in Redding – at night. AFTER 5 p.m.. Thank you, for that, you two. You made an indelible, positive mark on this city. I hope you feel as proud of yourselves as so many of us do.
I’m really proud of what we’ve done. But I have to give credit where credit is due. We have dozens of business owners, hundreds of artists and musicians, and thousands of art lovers to thank. There are so many people who think like we do – that living in this scenically spectacular region and having some culture aren’t mutually exclusive.
Q: Well, I guess all that’s left is to say is “See you at ArtHop Saturday.” Do you have anything special planned?
We’ll be Hopping around and of course, we won’t miss the last After-Party. at Vintage Wine Bar. Our friends, Muletown, are giving us a musical send-off. Ironically, this ArtHop will go down as one of my favorites. The art was by invitation only. The theme is “Old and New Cool.” We have some of the most innovative artists in this region showing at the same time as the new generation of artists – kids from Twin Palms 4H and Shasta and Enterprise High Schools. It’s such an inspirational show. So even though the last event is low key, we’re still going out with a bang.
Photo montages by ArtHop blogger Jamie Solario
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Prior to 2007 Chamberlain was an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, CA.