Friday — this Friday — January 6 — Is the first First Friday Art Walk of the year. The monthly event in downtown Bend celebrates local businesses and artists.
“It’s really fun. It’s fun to come down. It’s fun to come down and meet your customers and your friends. And everyone has a really good time,” said Michelle Gwinup, manager at Red Chair Gallery.
Michelle shows us the showcase area of the gallery.
“We have four different artists. Two different wall works. Two pedestal type works. Every first Friday. And so every month it changes,” she says.
Even businesses that are not art galleries are getting in on the action. Like the long time staple Lone Crow Bungalow.
“It’s a lot of fun. I equate the First Friday to, like, a downtown block party. And everybody comes out and sometimes some of the stores will provide a little libation,” owner Rebecca Chase.
But after a lengthy viral pandemic, many of the businesses have chosen not to bring back the libations and the snacks.
“After we got started after COVID, we decided not to serve wine or snacks. And we found that people didn’t really care. They came here for the artwork,” Michelle said.
It’s the same down at Peterson Contemporary Art
“We do, however, have live musicians that come down here to play. We really encourage the featured artists to come down and visit with people and talk about what they are doing, their inspiration and their process,” said owner Jim Peterson.
Jim says COVID gave businesses a chance to hit the reset button on their approach to the event and it helped everyone get focused on what’s really important.
“What it’s done is brought us back to the basics of what Art Walk is really about. It’s about celebrating the creativity and the art,” he said.
The First Friday Art Walk happens — of course — the first Friday of every month from 5-9 p.m.