‘Final Fridays’ promotes local artists, boosts downtown businesses
- Mar. 29, 2012
- 0 Comments
The Lawrence art community has something to offer everyone on Final Fridays.
Downtown businesses work with artists from around the country to exhibit and sell artwork on the last Friday of every month. The art event brings hundreds of people downtown every month.
“A recent economic impact study shows that Final Fridays are bringing in at least $85,000 each final Friday to restaurants and businesses around the locations,” said Final Fridays Coordinator Molly Murphy.
Lawrence Art Center, Downtown Lawrence Incorporated, the Lawrence Chamber of Chamber, art galleries and artists collaborated in August 2010 to create the monthly event.
Before it started, artists and galleries worked individually. Murphy said the art community is now coming together, and there is more emphasis on community projects.
“This sort of energy is good for Lawrence, and it is a more cohesive night for everybody,” Murphy said.
This Friday, 26 businesses and galleries downtown will take part in the event.
Lost Space Art, 845 Massachusetts Street, for instance, has participated in Final Fridays four times, and hosts both art displays and live music during the event. Five local artists create all of the art that this gallery hosts on a final Friday.
“It goes straight from the wood shop, to the easel, to the wall, and then out the door,” said Paul Flinders, an artist at Lost Space Art.
Like many downtown galleries, its busiest day of the month is on the last Friday.
“The place gets pretty packed,” Flinders said. “The town is on fire on Final Fridays.”
Artists from around the country, as well as those from the Lawrence area, have benefitted from Final Fridays.
“We’ve had anyone from KU professors, to people who ship their art in from Seattle,” said Summer Bradshaw, an intern Wonder Fair Art Gallery, 803 ½ Massachusetts Street.
Among the local arists who participate in the event, University students have taken advantage of showcasing their work during the event.
In 2011, Jessie Kelley, a senior from Wichita, curated a gallery specifically for 16 college students. Kelley said it was a great opportunity for students to get used to the idea of showing their work in public.
“It’s always good to get the KU art department out from campus,” Kelley said. “Not a lot of people see what we do on campus. It was nice to bring art downtown and let people view it.”
Businesses outside of art galleries, such as the Fox Trot shoe store, 823 Massachusetts Street, also participate in Final Fridays. Caroline Mithias, owner, said the event brings in a lot of foot traffic into her store, and it supports the art community.
Big Daddy Cadillacs Tattoo, 938 Massachusetts Street, features one artist a month. This Friday, they are showing Erin Brazler’s “Fatties on Parade” exhibition, which are marker-drawn portraits of humorous cartoon characters.
“Final Fridays gets people in the store,” said Irene Walker, an artist and employee at BDC Tattoo. “Sometimes there are people who would never step foot in a tattoo shop that have come in.”
Edited by Corinne Westeman