How could First Friday be secondary to anything else? I remember before I moved downtown about five years ago, that First Friday was the one likely event to bring the family and freinds downtown on a consistent basis. I suspect that is still true for many people. It’s, perhaps, an indication of how far things have evolved that another event can overshadow First Friday, but that’s what happened for me last weekend, thanks to the Rhythm and Blooms Festival.
I did manage to start early and slip out a bit to catch some of it. I’ve also documented some things here that didn’t specifically connect to First Friday, but Dogwood Arts-related events sort of merged as well. The 100 Block of Gay Street hosted Art on the Block and I got to see precious little of that.
I started my night at Rick Terry Jewelry Design on the 600 Block of South Gay Street. Robert Tino was the featured artist, showing his paintings of mountain scenes. Paintings covered the walls making it look as much like a gallery as a jeweler’s store. Of course, Asher greeted me at the door, and wins the friendliest jeweler dog in the city. The spread of food was beautiful and bountiful and Patti Terry always does a great job.
I caught a glimpse of a big-headed guy walking down Gay Street, but I didn’t see his face to place him. In Krutch Park I found modern dancers doing some sort of movement exhibition which seemed to center on the sculptures. They remained silent and no music guided their actions, yet they seemed to anticipate the movements of the others. I asked a guy who had watched them long than I did what was going on and he replied, “They are dancing.” Alright, then.
Union Avenue Books is growing quite a following for its ever expanding artist showcases on First Friday. Some of the area’s best artists are often found there. I talked for a few minutes with Maggie Tankersley of Handmade Mags. She was set up on the sidewalk in front of the store with her handmade items.
I stopped in at Preservation Pub where my friend Bill Foster displayed his photographs. He was holding court and talking about his photography, which is always a help for me to listen to. We crossed paths quite a bit during the weekend as we both photographed the Rhythm n’ Blooms Festival. He shot Big Ears one weekend, mounted an exhibition during the week and shot another entire weekend at Rhythm and Blooms. Oh, and he has a job.
The guitar decorating contest may not technically be a First Friday event, but I ran into them in the Village off Jackson. It’s actually a Dogwood Arts guitar decorating contest. The guitars are donated and then the designs, developed at local high schools, are judged. The ones pictured took the top three places, but some of the others were very nice, as well.
I did get to look in on Art on the Block just long enough to watch some of the aerial dancing. It’s a thing of beauty requiring great strength and precision. Should I ever be strong enough to do such a thing (I won’t ever be), I’d be scared to death of falling.
Finally, Sharpie which, if you didn’t know it, is manufactured almost exclusively in Shelbyville, Tennessee, just south of Nashville, sponsored an event called the “Sharpie Art Door Slam.” Participants had two hours to finish their doors and the design and execution had to be completed primarily with Sharpies, though other materials could be incorporated.
The artists worked frantically, starting at 6:00 and stopping at 8:00. The products in some cases were amazing. I couldn’t find the winners online to share them here, so you’ll have to decide the winners for yourself.
I wish that event, as well as the other First Friday events could have avoided the conflict with Rhythm and Blooms, though I suspect the audiences, while overlapping to a degree, no doubt, are by-and-large drawing from different demographics. It was like that Saturday, also, with hundreds of people on the World’s Fair Park, thousands on Market Square and hundreds more running around the Old City. I’ll talk about the other events, soon.