James Street North Art Crawl

Being Hamilton natives, I still can’t believe this was our first Art Crawl! James Street North has really built up in recent years and has shown to be bursting with creative spirit, hosting a myriad of galleries, shops, and restaurants. On the second Friday of every month, these establishments open their doors to showcase all they have to offer, exhibiting their newest attractions. We breezed in and out of so many places that it is hard to keep track of it all, but I’ll try to recap some highlights.

We started off with a little Field Trip. A bunch of boutiques, including ones from Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, and James St. North’s own White Elephant set up shop in the same location to display their unique clothing and accessories. We waded our way through the items along with the many vintage-savvy buyers who lined up in hopes of snagging the complimentary loot bags (which we only narrowly missed!).

White Elephant

From there we checked out White Elephant’s actual location, across the street. How can you not stop at a place that has kittens playing in the window? Kittens!! This shop, which describes its merchandise as “vintage & homemade gifts” was a lot of fun to look around in. We got some ideas for adding a little more flair to our wardrobes and marveled at the adorable knick-knacks and accessories.

Another pleasant surprise on our stroll down the street was Christ’s Church Cathedral. A historic building of the city, it looks so unassuming from the outside. Visitors were welcomed in to take a look around and we were taken aback by the stunning interior of colourful stained glassed windows and the intricately decorated ceiling. We walked up to the pulpit to really take it all in. It is definitely a hidden gem that we were happy to discover. Outside the church was what they called Makers’ Market, which hosted many different vendors displaying unique, handmade crafts, as well as clothing, accessories, and even plants. One booth that really caught our attention sold books and vinyl, which we spent a lot of time sorting through.

Christ’s Church Cathedral & Makers’ Market

Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t fully cooperative on this Friday the 13th, so we had to duck in and out of shops and galleries to stay dry. No matter, though, because there was so much to check out. Another favourite spot of ours was Mixed Media. There are so many cool items in this art store. We spotted some “Greetings from Hamilton” postcards – perfect for us tourists!

Next, we tried to get into our best art critic modes and peek into some of the galleries. In my favourite one of the evening, there was an interactive exhibit where you could have your picture taken in these giant animal heads by Keiley Stewart’s Leikey Designs. Any chance for a photo opportunity, we’re there, so we had to pose as the rabbit, lion, and fox.

Hungry and needing a break from all the art crawling (and the rain), we stopped in at the Mulberry Street Coffeehouse. Carly and I tried the quiche (very tasty) while Avi decided on a carrot cupcake and a mocha drink. We would like to stop in there again sometime during the day; it’s a really pleasant spot.

For our last stop, we moseyed down to Artword Artbar to check out some jazz music. Easily the youngest ones in there, we enjoyed the smooth sounds of jazz ensemble The Altobeelays. Classy ladies that we are, it was the perfect way to end the night.

It was a very successful first Art Crawl for us! We had a lot of fun and can’t wait to do it again.

– Kristin

Kristin Archer is the creator of I Heart Hamilton (www.ihearthamilton.ca), where she has blogged about experiences around her hometown since 2011, growing a social media presence along the way. Encouraging locals to “be a tourist in your own city,” she promotes arts and culture across her various social media platforms, blog, and weekly radio show on 93.3 CFMU.

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