Fridays are for enjoying, relaxing, and welcoming the weekend. And, on the first Friday of the month, they are also for celebrating art at the First Friday Art Walk in Portland, Maine. Many thanks to my sister, Kathleen (also known as ‘Bean’) for taking the pictures you see in this post.
While I don’t feel old or wise enough to classify myself as a “patron” of the arts, I enjoy all types of art – painting, glass, music, etc. – and recognize the significant role the arts play in our self-expression and education. Kathleen was the one to introduce me to the First Friday Art Walk in Portland, and this is exactly the type of event I hope to promote and educate others about through this blog.
Art walks are held all over the country as well as throughout the state of Maine. Portland’s occurs monthly on the first Friday, all year round (which, as you might imagine, gets quite brisk at times), from 5pm – 8pm. The event is a free, self-guided tour of more than 60 artistic destinations, which include local galleries, studios, museums, and alternative art venues.
Locations all over Portland participate – from the Portland Art District (which runs from Temple Street to State Street), to the East End, to the Old Port… well, you get the picture. In conversations with my sister, she expressed that her favorite thing about the art walk, which she attends almost every month, is that it offers a fresh experience each time – although many artists may be the same, they create something new, often theme-based, for each walk. There is typically some type of music playing, and periodically the music is actually one of the exhibits – as was the case with the Zimbabwean Miramba musicians.
My mother also said the art walk provides an opportunity for artists who might not otherwise be seen, to be seen and hopefully gain recognition. While there are galleries that regularly participate, she enjoys going into other venues that are exhibiting several artists who work exclusively in their own studios – and aren’t visible in a Portland storefront typically. On the First Friday Art Walk in April, a steel drum band participated, taking advantage of the opportunity to fundraise and build awareness about the potential development of a small, local park.
This event is simply another demonstration of what makes Portland special. For a little city, it packs a cultural punch. Out of respect for the seriousness of the artists and galleries that participate, I do want to encourage you to attend only if your intent is to be a respectful and active patron of the arts – and by that I mean, don’t go only for the free wine and cheese. Go because you enjoy the arts and have a sincere desire to be educated, and possibly challenged, by what you see and hear.
The next Art Walk is on Friday, May 3rd. Click here for a full list of participating destinatons… and enjoy the Portland art scene! (now, if I had only posted this on a Friday…)