Where else can you find everything from live music to live art displays to book signings to performance art to free drinks and food in an eclectic array of settings and get an evening’s worth of that entertainment all for free?

Well, Gallery Hop.

The bi-annual event in the District of Rock Island going on from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday features over 300 artists and performers showcased in over 20 locations throughout downtown Rock Island. The locations are not limited to art galleries; artists will exhibit in coffee shops, restaurants, retail shops, and entertainment venues. Jewelry, photography, glass, paintings, drawings, book signings, sculpture, and more will be featured. Gallery Hop! does not lack in variety, and it offers you a great opportunity to pick up a unique Mother’s Day gift (hint hint).

As for highlights among the myriad of events, the 39th Annual High School Exhibition at Quad City Arts will be on display during Gallery Hop. With 173 students, and 25 teachers displaying their work, the High School Exhibition showcases the Quad Cities’ most promising artists as they express themselves through their art.

Skeleton Key Art & Antiques, located at 520 18th Street, will be a Hop Stop that might take a longer walk, but a walk well worth it! Multiple vendors inside Skeleton Key sell a blend of original art, antiques, vintage, crafts, up cycled, and the irresistible. Skeleton Key is definitely a hop stop that you don’t want to miss.

The Quad Cities Botanical Center will also host several artists that will display their artwork in close proximity to the tropical plants, and koi ponds in the Sun Garden.

Jason Platt will be signing his new book of Mister and Me cartoons during the Gallery Hop!

Jason Platt will be signing his new book of Mister and Me cartoons during the Gallery Hop!

There are also a handful of book signings going on that feature family-friendly books that would be great gifts for Mom, yourself or anyone. Author and illustrator Jason Platt will be autographing his funny and touching new book of Mister and Me cartoons based upon his popular comic strip of the same name at Be Well QC, 150 16 ½ Street. And there also might be a certain local author signing copies of his books including the new children’s book celebrating diversity and how we all have value and worth, “We Are All Characters,” and the exciting action-adventure novel about the three wise men as ninja wizards sent to protect Joseph and Mary on the road to Bethlehem from being destroyed by satan, “The Arimathean,” at ICONs Martini bar as well. Wink wink, nudge nudge…

There will be Gallery Hop! BINGO game cards at each “Hop Stop”. To play Gallery Hop! BINGO just visit at least five locations, have the artist or owner sign off, and complete a straight line on your card. Completed cards can be turned in at MidCoast Fine Arts/The ARTery or Quad City Arts. Winner gets a prize basket full of fun gifts, and art! The winner will be randomly drawn and notified the week of 5/9/2016.

Gallery Hop! is presented by The District, MidCoast Fine Arts, and Quad City Arts and sponsored by QuadCities.com, the Dispatch-Argus, WHBF, and River Cities Reader.
For more information and to print a map of participating locations, go ahead and visit www.ridistrict.com.

Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written almost 30 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.