Off The Beaten Path

Choose the road less traveled and explore artists based in rural Rhode Island


Stimulate your senses as you take a seven-mile scenic driving tour of open studios and exhibits in and around Hopkinton’s rural villages of Hope Valley, Wyoming, Ashaway, Rockville, and Carolina. It’s all part of the 14th Annual HopArts Studio Trail on Saturday, October 19 and Sunday, October 20, which showcases the work of 30 local artists using diverse media – oil and watercolor paints, porcelain ceramics, clay pottery, sea glass, fabric, wood, bronze, glass, precious jewels, and found objects.

“People seem to really love going into these artists’ studios, experiencing the art firsthand, and being able to talk to an artist about the work. It’s a great way to get the community and tourists involved in the local arts community,” said Faye Pantazopoulos, creative director of the South County Tourism Council, one of the event’s sponsors.

It’s an ideal autumn adventure: Search for gold banners and wooden numbers on old New England farmhouses, barns, mills, and other local venues that match the map in the HopArts 2019 brochure. Step inside each place to see artists’ work and learn about their inspirations and creative techniques.

“I think we are raising awareness of the importance of art in all our lives and the need to be a supportive community of the arts,” HopArts publicity chairperson Etta Zasloff says.

And for the artists, the trail provides a chance to connect with customers on a more intimate level. This year is clay sculptor Jillian Barber’s second time at the Crandall House in Ashaway during HopArts. Even though she used to sell her work to over 30 stores across the country, she said she prefers to stay closer to home and “do” more retail than wholesale. “It’s more fun to meet the people who are fans of my work.”

The 14th Annual HopArts Studio Trail will be held October 19-20 from 10am-5pm. This event is free and open to the public. Area businesses are offering free brochures, which include the map, biographies of participating artists, and images of their work. It is also available online.