Margaret Eriksen graduated with an art degree and taught for 30 years before retiring in 2002, but her passion to paint took hold well before that.

The Canal Winchester Art Guild member believes most people have some artistic skill but don't realize it.

"If you don't make a masterpiece the first time, it doesn't mean you don't have it," she said. "It's something you have to develop. The more you work at it, the better you get."

Eriksen will be among the exhibitors at Canal Winchester's ninth annual art stroll, also called Art on the Canal, from noon to 6 p.m. May 18.

This year's event is being organized by Destination: Canal Winchester, the city's not-for-profit travel and tourism promoter, instead of the Canal Winchester Art Guild. Also new this year is a slightly different focus, with more hands-on opportunities to help visitors discover their untapped artistic talents.

Among the offerings in downtown Canal Winchester will be painting and writing workshops, a class on floral arrangements and tango or waltz lessons -- all free.

Live music, dancing and theatrical performances also are on the schedule. More information is available at destinationcw.org.

Although it's always been a sponsor, this is the first year Destination: Canal Winchester has organized the event.

"The artists of the art guild just decided they wanted to produce art, and they no longer wanted to be an event planner," Destination: Canal Winchester Executive Director Karen Stiles said.

"They approached me and asked if I would take on the art stroll. I thought it was such a fun event. I said, 'Absolutely.' "

More than 30 artists from all over Ohio are expected to take part in Art on the Canal, including painters, sculptors, woodcarvers and jewelry-makers, who will display their work in tents at Stradley Park, 30 S. High St.

For more than a decade, Eriksen and other local artists shared space called Studio 7.5 at Waterloo and High streets until the studio closed its doors in March 2018.

"Mainly, (the art stroll) is a way of exposing your art to the general public and, of course, we sell some," Eriksen said.

"The exposure is always good, so people are aware of your art and talk to you about it."

Other May events

Art on the Canal is just one of many May events in Canal Winchester.

* More than 1,000 bicycle riders are expected to depart between 6 and 9 a.m. May 18 from the Frances Steube Community Center, 22 S. Trine St., for the 58th annual Tour of the Scioto River Valley.

TOSRV began as a father-and-son outing in 1962 before quickly growing into an approximately 200-mile route that runs along the Scioto River.

Riders will leave from either Canal Winchester or Portsmouth and return the following day. More information for riders is available at tosrv.org.

* On Wednesday, May 15, Canal Winchester city officials will wait tables to earn tips at the Kris Sims Memorial Relay For Life Dinner from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Frances Steube Community Center. Tickets costs $10 for adults and $5 for children and can be purchased the night of the event.

All tips and proceeds support the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life. Canal Winchester's Relay For Life is scheduled from 4 p.m. to midnight June 22 at the high school, 300 Washington St.

* Families are invited to Touch-A-Truck from 6 to 8 p.m. May 17 at Stradley Park, where everything from police cruisers and fire trucks to snow plows will be on display for children to explore.

* The Canal Winchester Farmers Market will open its 21st season May 25 in Stradley Park. Market hours are 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays through Sept. 28.

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