In addition to new exhibits, art demonstrations and meet-the-artist receptions, the River District’s art galleries and spaces have something else in store for Friday night’s Art Walk. Beginning August 2, each first-Friday event will have a theme.
“The Aug. 2 Art Walk will feature a ‘beach’ theme,” state organizers Claudia Goode and Jamie Kuser on the event’s official website. “Employees of downtown businesses and Art Walk visitors are encouraged to show off their ‘beach attire’ during this sizzling hot summer Art Walk.”
By introducing a monthly theme, the River District galleries and associated art stops join a growing list of art districts around the country that employ coordinated themes in order to to create fresh and exciting events that focus on the arts, culture and the community.
Each Art Walk in Downtown Jacksonville, for example, usually has a theme. So far this year, Jacksonville observed “Fresh stART” (Happy New Year!) in January, “Draw your heART out” in February, “Artsy Ambition” (Young Professionals) in March and “Earth without ART is EH” (Art Walk goes Green) in April.
“[Art Walk] continues to capture the creative spirit of the community and bring thousands of people Downtown each month,” says Terry Lorince, the Executive Director of organizer Downtown Vision, Inc. “But to keep it fresh, we feel it’s time it inject a bit more energy and enthusiasm into the event to offer our regular attendees something new, while bringing in an entirely new audience.” In addition to monthly themes, Jacksonville is also replacing its Art Walk maps with a new mobile app that will appeal to social-media savvy Art Walkers, who already rely on Facebook posts and Twitter feeds to find the art and art stops that appeal to them most.
In Fairfield, Iowa, Art Walk themes for 2013 have included a celebration of the art of the magician (January), romantic film and photography (February), honoring the art of the harvest from field to table (September), a celebration of German culture and community (Oktoberfest), and holiday gingerbread extravaganza (December). Fairfield 1st Fridays Art Walk has been in existence for over 10 years and has won state awards for its events.
Sequim,, Washington uses color to create inclusion between venues, artists and audience. In the grand tradition of arts festivals in Europe, the themes for 2013 are silver for January, red for February, green for March, pink for April, aqua for May, white in June, purple in July, yellow for August, blue for September, orange in October, brown for November and gold in December.
While themes are certainly likely to enhance the visitor’s experience and make the event more memorable and fun, all Art Walks strive to introduce existing and new audiences to the galleries, art stops and artists participating in the events and encourage them to return in the following days or weeks so that they can learn about the art and artists on exhibit in a less hectic and more casual viewing environment.
So break out your sunglasses, beach shirts and sunscreen and have some fun in the downtown Fort Myers River District this Friday night. The galleries and other art stops open their doors at 6 and will remain open until 10 p.m.
[Please click here to see the full schedule of exhibitions and events taking place in the River District during Art Walk on August 2.]