Get out of class and hop into the art world

PHOTO BY ANGELINA O’DONNELL Cameron Smith ‘20 painting a new piece for the Art Hop

By Addy Bourgelais Staff


As Cameron Smith ‘20 started his senior year, he piled even more on his plate by participating in the 27th annual Art Hop in the South End of Burlington, Vermont. Hundreds of artists participated in this event, contributing many different forms of art including mixed media, sculpture, photography, and digital art. Smith contributed to the show with six of his oil paintings, close-ups of faces in a realistic figurative style.

Before the launch, Smith said he was feeling some anxieties, not about his art being shown to the public, but about not having his art in his own hands. “People can like or dislike your work and that’s just art,” he said. But what he did worry about was the paintings getting damaged or stolen. Artists who chose to participate in the Art Hop have to register and rent the space the art will occupy. Before the event, the South End Arts and Business Association (SEABA), collects works from the registered artists. The artists can also participate in the juried show, which is a large collection of works gathered from artists who submitted their art in an open call.

Leading up to the show Smith was not informed of where his art would be featured, and this created a sense of anticipation.

“When I came Friday night I was super excited to find it, it was like a scavenger hunt almost.” His art was shown off of Howard Street, which is the hub of activity during the Art Hop. The Howard Space is a large building made of winding hallways, a multitude of stairs and about ten ways in and out, so finding Smith’s art was a scavenger hunt.

The 45 businesses participating in the Art Hop sprawled across the South End of Burlington, from City Market on Flynn Avenue to The Flynn Center for the Performing Arts on Main Street, therefore not knowing where to go could seem intimidating, but Smith had a positive outlook.

Smith started at Saint Michael’s College as an Environmental Studies major but became a double major as he began exploring art. “Sophomore year I took Foundations of Art with Will Mentor, and he saw what I was doing and said ‘Become an art major.’” If Smith had chosen another school he would not be where he is today, “Saint Mike’s felt like home.” Smith mentioned if he had gone to a bigger school he might have gotten lost in a sea of thousands of other students, and a professor may not have noticed him. Will Mentor described Smith as, “Visually literate. He has that ‘it’ factor that is not easy to describe. His work evades an easy reading,” said Mentor. “I admire his willingness to experiment.”

When Smith went to the Art Hop last year, he did not think about participating, but when he realized how close he was to being thrown into the real world this year, as a senior, he jumped on the opportunity to get exposure and experience showing his art. Brian Collier is another Art Professor who has experience displaying his work to the public. Collier is aware of the highs and lows of shows and says, “I have just done the best I can as his [Smith’s] professor to help him develop his vision and technique as an artist. I’ve also worked to help him develop skills to present himself and his work professionally.” Collier has hopes for Smith, along with all his other students. With Smith specifically Collier says, “ Cameron’s quiet determination has led to this achievement and I’m sure he has many more to come.”

When the Art Hop weekend came to a close Smith reflected, “There was a lot going on. Everybody was just super excited to just see art.” With this experience behind him, he is excited to see what the future holds. He does not see this show being his last, with anxieties of graduation coming up he says his goal is, “Trying to get my art out there as fast as possible and just build my resume so in the future I have this background I can build off of.”

His work is still being shown at 56 Howard Street, Burlington, Vermont until the end of September. To look at more of Smith’s art click the home button below.