It’s like a two-for-one special, except that it’s free. The 10th Annual Open Doors Trolley Tour will transport riders from art gallery to art gallery in Manchester on Thursday, July 26, from 5 to 8 p.m. Visitors will see how diverse and colorful Manchester’s art scene is, while also enjoying a free ride in these historic cars. Galleries that are normally closed in the evening will stay open for this event.
The trolley tour started as a project of the New Hampshire Institute of Art but was later adopted by the Majestic Theatre.
“Many of the people who go to art museums are the same people who will go to the theater. With all of the open doors, participants can see everything that is happening in Manchester’s visual art scene,” said Majestic Theatre Director Rob Dionne.
Both the trolley ride and all of the gallery exhibits are free. There’s no excuse not to support your local artists on this night.
Two trolleys will circulate the same route, stopping at each venue about every 30 minutes. Visitors can take the trolley if they wish, or can walk or drive the route themselves.
Of course, in a trolley art tour, the trolley ride is part of the fun itself.
These trolleys come from Chichester, Dionne said. “They’re beautiful — these trolleys have a more artsy feel — it just adds to the experience,” he said.
Dionne advises participants to begin at whatever gallery appeals most to them.
The Art 3 Gallery (44 W. Brook St., Manchester, 668-6650) showcases “2D/3D,” a colorful show in media like new oil, acrylic, pastel, glass and ceramic, full of movement and patterns. This show will be on display until Sept. 28.
Or stop by at the Art on the Wall at City Hall Gallery (One City Hall Plaza, Manchester, 624-6500), which features works by artist of the year Thomas A. Wright, a local photographer known for his New Hampshire scenes and “Body Parts” series.
The Framers Market (1301 Elm St., Manchester, 668-6989) hosts a multi-artist show featuring rural images of animals and farm life in a variety of styles. Refreshments will be served, and visitors can sign up to win a free restaurant gift certificate.
Go down the line and visit Langer Place (55 S. Commercial St., Manchester, 626-4388), with “Treasures Near and Far,” at East Colony Fine Art, showcasing the work of Cheryl Vratsenes and Don Desmarais. At Haropulos Photography Studio, visitors will see “Light Fantastic,” a collection of fantasy and whimsical pieces by photographer Althea Haropulos and Jeremy McHugh.
Manchester Mills Studios (21 W. Auburn St., Manchester, 645-6873) are home to a diverse collection of artists, designers and craftsmen, boasting pottery, jewelry, mixed media, art, custom cabinetry, costumes and quilts. At the Museware Pottery Showroom and Outlet, visitors will find personalized pottery, altered clothing and local handmade gifts. Don’t miss NuArt Jewelry or Sweet Caroline Art, either.
Also in the Millyard, visit the Millyard Museum (200 Bedford St., Manchester, 622-7531) and the SEE Science Center (200 Bedford St., Manchester, 669-0400). The Millyard will show off its new permanent exhibit, “Woven in Time: 11,000 Years at Amoskeag Falls,” with artifacts, documents, objects and artwork. At the SEE Science Center, visitors can get a free look at the center’s “Secrets of Circles” exhibit.
The tour originator, the New Hampshire Institute of Art (148 Concord St. and the Amherst Street Gallery at 77 Amherst St., Manchester, 623-0313) selects works by the graduating class of 2012 ranging from ceramics to illustration to photography.
Maps and parking are available at the Majestic Theatre (281 Cartier St., Manchester), and admission is free at all venues. Call 669-7469.