By Ian Teoh, E23 Reporter
Columbia comes alive during the evening of the first Friday of every month.
From 6 to 9 p.m. several businesses in the North Columbia Arts District open their doors insupport of the monthly art crawl. I wasn’t quite sure to expect as I walked up to
Fretboard Coffee in the fading light of da as a girl with a guitar sang the words to Vance Joy’s “Riptide.”
The First Friday experience is an eclectic mix of street art festival, gallery showcases and flea market. Artists, street performers, art galleries and business owners come together in the area around Orr and Walnut Street to make for an unforgettable experience that should not be missed.
First Fridays represent an opportunity for people to experience artists of all sorts. Places like the Sager Braudis Gallery, for instance, are home to works by international acclaimed artists such as Mark English, while Resident Arts, a non-profit arts organization, put on a solo show for local artist Kerry Hirth. A former lawyer, Hirth now paints professionally. Hirth’s works are heavily based on music and fuse pastel with words in striking lines of color
“I’m just compelled to paint, it’s not like I can stop,” Hirth said.
Painting allows Hirth to explore “worlds I will never know” and is an avenue for her to
express her “thoughts and emotions.”
She said that First Fridays are a great opportunity to learn from other artists and for artists to bring their work to a wider, more varied audience.
“It’s pretty crazy. People have just been coming in here the whole night,” Hirth said.
Regular art walk attendee Pat Holt said she likes “all the interesting things you see” at First Fridays and the free-spiritedness of the event. She first came to attend the event in support of her daughter who is the manager of ARTlandish Gallery. She says that attending the event regularly has allowed her to get in touch with the “friendly” art community here in Columbia.
ARTlandish Gallery was another business participating in the art crawl. The gallery appears to be a small souvenir/art store at first glance, however the stairs to the basement open up into a maze of winding corridors crammed booths for artists to display and sell a stunning variety of arts and crafts.
Fire spinners took to the streets around the arts district as night fell, wowing passersby and catching me by surprise with their elegant twirls. It seems that there’s a new experience waiting around every corner at First Fridays, experiences that should not be missed!