The annual Trolley Tour of local art galleries never got rolling this year. But a truck will be one of the featured attractions Oct. 18 at the Downtown Gallery Hop.
Artist Nicole Croy's Pinhole Extravaganza box truck essentially is a giant pinhole camera on wheels, said Deb Washler, executive director of Artlink gallery in the Auer Center for Arts and Culture.
Croy, a Fort Wayne resident and an art teacher at Carroll High School, will have the truck at Artlink to demonstrate how it works during the Gallery Hop, Washler said. Artlink, one of 10 downtown-area art galleries participating in the hop, also hopes to display either two 4-feet-by-8-feet “photos” taken by the camera, or one huge image 17 feet by 5 feet in size.
Most of the images taken so far by Croy have been landscapes, Washler said.
“I'm really excited to get the truck here,” she added.
The idea for the gallery hop came about in part because the Fort Wayne Museum of Art chose not to hold a Trolley Tour in September after about 10 years of staging the event.
The museum always faces a number of challenges to make the Trolley Tour a good event for art patrons, said Amanda Martin, the art museum's deputy director of administration and programs. Trolleys and buses need to stay on time to shuttle people from gallery to gallery. Everything has to go well with caterers providing food at each gallery stop.
The biggest problem last year, however, was that a number of people seemed to view the event as a bar crawl rather than a gallery tour, Martin said. Some returned to the museum at the end of the evening so drunk there was concern about them being a danger to others if they drove home. Others couldn't keep everything down and ended up creating some abstract images of their own.
“Literally and figuratively, there were a lot of messes to clean up last year,” Martin said.
The museum will participate in the Downtown Gallery Hop, which happens to take place on the night of its fall party.
Martin said the museum will look at whether to revive the Trolley Tour. For the event to come back, however, it probably would have to become “something totally different.”
The Downtown Gallery Hop takes advantage of art fans' interest in doing a gallery tour, Washler said.
It will operate differently than the Trolley Tour: Admission is free at most galleries, with no ticket required. Each gallery decides what it wants to offer, if anything, at its location in the way of food, beverages and entertainment. The tour is self-guided; there won't be any buses or trolleys to transport people.
Washler said the hop is modeled on the successful local Rural Studio Tour, which invites people to drive on their own to various local artists' studios to see and purchase their work.
All of the participating galleries have worked together previously, she said.
“All of us know each other and have helped each other before,” she added. “This is the first collective effort the public gets to see.”
The same galleries also have two more hops planned, one on Nov. 30 and another next spring, Washler said.