The Vineyard in August: ample time to amble, more than enough moments to mosey, and reasons aplenty to roam and rove. But when it comes to art, there is only one way to take it in and that is to stroll. “It’s like an arts block party with people just mingling in the warmest, friendliest way you could imagine,” said Judy Hartford, owner of the Red Mannequin, a boutique clothing store on Dukes County avenue, smack in the center of the Oak Bluffs arts district.

This week, art lovers, families and Vineyard visitors looking for an introduction to the summer social scene will have two opportunities to stroll the Island’s visual art offerings. First on Thursday, Edgartown galleries will open their doors from 6 to 8 p.m. There will be live music, fantastic art and wine to wash it all down. Then on Saturday, the Oak Bluffs arts district — a neighborhood of clothing boutiques, quirky stores and unique art galleries with photographs, paintings and artistic jewelry — will welcome the crowds from 4 to 7 p.m. As in Edgartown, there will be music, beverages and food both sweet and savory.

About four years ago, a number of Edgartown galleries got together to designate one night in July and one in August to invite the public to appreciate fine art. “We wanted to showcase the galleries and the different artists we all represent and get people more aware of what there is in Edgartown,” said Christina Cook of the Christina Gallery on North Water street. In 1994, Ms. Cook took over the gallery her parents first opened 32 years ago to showcase antique photographs of the Vineyard. Today, the gallery still features antiques (photographs, maps and paper) as well as sailors’ valentines, oil paintings and watercolors. Ms. Cook was instrumental in beginning the strolls in Edgartown.

“It’s a nice cultural evening for everybody. It brings in a lot more people who may not be aware of our galleries and what we do. It draws more people to town and there is this festive, strolling atmosphere going from one gallery to the next,” she said. Carlin Elliot, owner of the Carlin Fine Art on South Water street, agreed. “A lot of people come to have a glass of wine, to be social. It brings people into the town,” she said. As to whether the galleries sell more art during the strolls, Ms. Elliot was not sure. “But it certainly gives people an introduction to the gallery.”

“I think it gets traffic in,” said Dede Agadakos, assistant director of the Eisenhauer Gallery, also on North Water street. The gallery has been facilitator of the stroll for the past two years. “I think it opens people’s eyes to the art in downtown Edgartown. Even if they don’t purchase the art, they’ll be previewing it.”

Ms. Agadakos said this Thursday’s stroll, with live music from the Mike Benjamin band in the courtyard of the Colonial Inn, promises the same entertainment as always. “There will be something fun and funky and different,” she said. “There’s a fun energy where people can run into people they haven’t seen and, as they go down the street, they’re always going to see something new and different, from antique maps to a huge canvas of cows which we have in our gallery to traditional land and seascapes. We are all working together to do something unique, to give viewers something new and different to look at.”

Personally, Ms. Agadakos would like to see the stroll of Edgartown turn into even more of an attraction. “I know there are places like Newport, Rhode Island, and Providence that have gallery nights. It could be a big thing,” she said. “I’d personally like to see our gallery stroll get to that size where people come from off the Island to see us.”

Over in Oak Bluffs, the stroll is truly a pedestrian fiesta. Cars struggle to make it down the short few blocks between Tony’s Market and the beginning of the Camp Grounds. Women flounce down the street in skirts and sun dresses and it’s jackets, though rarely a tie, for the men. Wine — or plastic champagne flutes filled with bubbly Prosecco and limoncello — flows like water and live jazz spills out onto the streets. It is one giant cocktail party.

The Oak Bluffs strolls began last year, after the district formed a formal organization to promote their area. “We are all very independent, but we are all there with art in mind,” said Holly Alaimo, owner of the Dragonfly Gallery on the corner of Dukes County and Vineyard avenues. Mrs. Alaimo, who has openings every two weeks all summer long and has been in business for 14 years, was a driving force behind starting the strolls.

She said the strolls have been particularly important this summer. “It’s important that businesses, in this difficult economic time, have an extra incentive to bring people to the store,” she said. “And I think the stores are just doing fine. We’re all feeling good about the summer and we think the strolls are a big part of the reason why.” In turn, Mrs. Alaimo thinks the galleries and the strolls are giving an extra little boost to the rest of Oak Bluffs. “It’s like having a little event for our town. People come to the stroll, because it starts at four, then they go out to dinner in our town, they go to the movie theatre in our town, they go out on Circuit avenue and get an ice cream in our town. Our little area has provided a lot of business for the town.”

The stroll also provides gallery owners with an excuse to go above and beyond the routine art opening. “We have openings, as does the Dragonfly, every two weeks, but for us, the stroll just ramps it up a lot,” said Sue Dawson, owner of the Alison Shaw Gallery. “It gives us an opportunity to really put a lot of effort into the opening and put a splash in it.” This summer, the gallery, which features the photographs of Alison Shaw, has hosted color-themed exhibits. Two weeks ago was the Black and White Show; this week highlights the color blue. The photography features the themed color, and the back wall is painted that shade. Refreshments also are color-coordinated. “We are coming up with blue-themed drinks and food,” said Ms. Dawson, who laid out Oreos for the last opening.

At the end of the street, Michael Hunter, owner of PIKNIK, is getting ready for the show he spent the past year planning: the Urban Show. The exhibit will feature seven Island artists and their renderings of New York and Boston and deejay Di will be spinning 1950s vintage vanguard jazz. “Oh, it’s going to be a great night,” Mr. Hunter said. “We kind of pull out the stops with these strolls, realizing we do two per summer, one in July and one in August, and realizing we’re attracting a different crowd. It is one of our high holy days,” he laughed.

The Edgartown Gallery Stroll is Thursday evening from 6 to 8 p.m. with receptions at the Christina Gallery, Eisenhauer Gallery, the Edgartown Art Gallery, Debra M. Gaines Fine Art Gallery, Willoughby Fine Art Gallery, Hammond Harkins Galleries, North Water Gallery, Penumbra Photographs and Carlin Fine Arts.

The Arts District Stroll in Oak Bluffs is Saturday from 4 to 7 p.m. Participating galleries include: Lucinda Sheldon, Alison Shaw, Dragonfly, Red Mannequin, Island Interiors, Periwinkle and PIKNIK.