First Friday Gallery Walk

The First Friday Gallery Walk Turns 30

Weird to think this as I’ve not lived in the area for a minute, but Old City’s legendary (by now, yes) First Friday art gallery exhibit walk – the one where every gallery opened its doors to the public without reservation, and served free booze – turns 30 tonight with its May 6 stroll.

Along with those galleries, from the tall (Clay Studio) to the intimate (Larry Becker) everyone in Old City, from home furnishing warehouses and showrooms to hair and clothing boutiques opened their doors, and the whole of First Friday offered the very best (yes, even when drunk and falling) of what this city’s undergrounds and overgrounds could be if we tried hard enough.

When drunk is when the funniest flowing conversations about art occurred. Everyone was a critic. Everyone could paint.

First Friday Gallery Walk

Maybe not enough physical artwork was purchased and the financial outlay of wine and beer made it unprofitable for the gallery owners and curators, but, these same entrepreneurs – along with whatever fledgling Old City block associations existed then – made it so that fine art (and not so fine art, and buskers and performance artists on the street) in this city was exposed in a manner it never had before. So too was Old City beyond its being a gloriously battered warehouse area of lofts and loft lovers, and the wrong end of the city’s historic district (remember the dominatrix dungeon on 3rd near Revival and the house of prostitution on Market near Front and Purgatory above Nick’s Roast Beef where FBI agents and drug dealers hung out as one?). After this, everyone was in on the action for better (great restaurants and bars) and worse (not so great restaurants and bars).

First Friday Gallery Walk
Larry Becker Contemporary Art

I can’t say that I have been through my old Old City neighborhood beyond dining and theater watching at the Arden in a minute. My guess however is that the Old City First Friday gallery walk is still enthralling and wonderfully communal. They just need to bring back the free booze to get the loose lipped conversation started again.

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