First Friday Art Walk
Lane Arts Council’s First Friday ArtWalk was held Friday Feb. 1 in downtown Eugene. The Art Walk is part of the city’s efforts to promote support for the visual arts within the community.
From its beginning in the 1980s when Fred Crafts started giving gallery tours, the goal was to make the arts accessible to all. Executive director of Lane Arts Council Liora Sponko told EDN that if the community can say they are more aware of the arts because of this event then it would be considered successful.
“We’re trying to increase support for the arts( the visual arts), and so increase awareness; we’re trying to get the community to come out, see different art and support the arts, purchase art.” Sponko said. “It’s a chance for the community to get together and enjoy.”
Recently an “Artist Alley” was put together where artists can put up a table in the Broadway Commerce Center during winter, and the Kesey Square during summer, to sell their work during the ArtWalk.
We asked First Friday ArtWalk coordinator Jessica Watson about the walks effect on the community:
“In recent years, the ArtWalk has really gained momentum; it is like the downtown party that happens every month. All the galleries that are usually closed in the evening are open along with fun stores and tasty restaurants. It’s definitely one of the busiest nights downtown. I think ArtWalkers really enjoy it because they can shop locally.” Watson said.
The Lane Arts Council is also starting the Public Art ArtWalk and the Annual University of Oregon ArtWalk, hoping to engage community members with art they may not see or know about otherwise.
This weekend’s walk started at the Eugene Storefront Art Project at 5:30 p.m., starting the way an art walk should: with appetizers, wine tasting,and lots of chocolate. Hosts Paula Goodbar and Peter Herley introduced their gallery’s “Love, Death, and Chocolate” exhibit, as a “metaphor for eccentric interpretations.” The Eugene Storefront Art Project is a nonprofit organization, holding monthly non- juried galleries, welcome to anyone wanting to show their artwork.
“We’re trying to bring vitality back to the artists and also to the community” creative director Herley announced.
Jill Cardinal, Oregon Art Supply’s featured artist, was in the middle of a mixed media collage when ArtWalk-ers arrived at Oregon Art Supply, the next stop on the walk. Cardinal is a life-long artist and a current mixed media instructor at the store.
Then it was off to OUT ON A LIMB Gallery featuring Nathaniel Sperry. In the midst of OUT ON A LIMB’s gallery full of polished wooden tables, a chair made from wood baseball bats, and a larger-than-life bowling pin and ball woven out of willows hung the Sperry collection, displayed for the first time in an exhibit.
“I don’t know that I can speak for what inspires me beyond the fact that there’s amazing light in the world (and the name of this show is ‘The Light Before Your Eyes’). It’s right in front of us; the world is an amazing place and when we stop and slow down, take a look at the details, it’s even more amazing,” Sperry proclaimed.
Goldworks Jewelry Art Studio was our next stop on the ArtWalk. Goldworks was showing off Erik Johnson’s work with oil crayon with a selection of landscape and animal pieces.
Our last stop was Imagine Gallery who were hosting a broad selection of local artist works. Ironically this month’s ArtWalk was also the last for Imagine Gallery. Imagine is closing at the end of February.
This First Friday ArtWalk was hosted by Melissa Nolledo; local digital artist, photographer, coordinator of the Asian Celebration art exhibit, and president of the Asian Council.
“I love the fact that I’m actually hosting this ArtWalk, not only because I’m promoting the artists from our group, but I also to get a chance to see all of you and the wonderful art that we put out downtown,” Nolledo said.
The February, March and April ArtWalks are sponsored by Pacific University. The First Friday ArtWalk is held the first Friday of every month, year-round, with a different tour each time. Everyone is welcome to this free event!