Caravan of art cruising on the Hilltop

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Messenger photos by Dedra Cordle
The westside community was treated to a bit of fun, flare and fashion as a caravan of uniquely adorned vehicles rolled throughout the area on May 9. The Cruising the Hilltop Art Car Parade, which was organized by Patti Von Niessen of Summer Jam West and renowned art car enthusiast Greg Phelps, featured more than 10 vehicles decked out in paint, doll parts, trinkets, coins and just about anything else one can think of. The intent of the event, said Von Niessen, was to bring a joy and happiness to the Hilltop community as they spotted the vehicles making their rounds.
Danny Peterson, a Summer Jam West board member, gives a wave by the Grape Escape, the official vehicular mascot of the non-profit organization. The Hilltop resident said he “drew the wrong straw” during a meeting and had to don the grape costume.
Greg Phelps, a resident of Clintonville, stands beside his 2009 Nissan Versa that he transformed into a homage of different interests. Phelps is what art car enthusiasts refer to as a “daily driver,” meaning he drives his art car to work and to do errands. He said he likes seeing how his car can elicit smiles.
Westgate resident Kelly McKinney snaps a photo of Suzie Simpson’s art car, which honors the Girlz Rhythm N Rock Camp.
The glove compartment of Micki B. Pike’s vehicle was made to resemble the fairy garden outside of her home. The westside resident said she has been adding adornments onto her Jeep Compass as a tribute to artist Haider Ali, who she credited with sparking her interest in car art. Ali painted peacocks and other decals on her vehicle more than three years ago and Pike said she has not stopped adding items to it since.

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