Join IDADA on the First Friday Gallery Tour

The following is an article that I wrote for the Spring edition of the Indy Arts Magazine.  This article discusses my time spent on the February IDADA First Friday Gallery Tours.

Indianapolis is a city rich in culture and tradition.  Offering something for nearly everyone no matter his or her poison, it’s nearly impossible to get bored in a city as lively as this one.  Whether you are into live music, the bright lights of the college nightlife, or art museums and galleries, you can find something to suit you all over the city.  Indianapolis is different than most cities in the fact that there are distinct differences from the north side to the south side to the heart of downtown.  Offering totally different ways to interact with your local, IDADA has created a near cult following for its First Friday Gallery Tours.

IDADA, the Indianapolis Arts and Downtown Area Association, has been holding the First Friday Gallery Tours for quite some time now.  Covering only twenty square blocks in the Indianapolis downtown area, it’s managed to gather an impressive list of nearly thirty galleries to take part in the tour. Each gallery showcases new local artists each month and allows the first Friday to serve as their standard reception. Walking into any of these participating galleries you can find a map leading you to the rest of the galleries on the tour, as well as a brief summary of the artist and his or her work that is being showcased.  However, the tours only last three hours, from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM with galleries strung out over downtown on Mass. Ave, in Fountain Square, it is easy to lose track of time.  I urge you to make a plan before heading out on you next tour.

For the February 6th First Friday Gallery Tour I managed to make it out to quite a few of the galleries on my trip downtown.  The first gallery I visited was the AV Framing Gallery in Fountain Square.  I have always been keen on the Fountain Square area and Sarah Adams, the owner and operator of the Av Framing Gallery, has made quite an impression on me with both her skills in framing but also her selection of artists to feature on her walls.  The gallery, which is freshly remodeled, was celebrating their second year anniversary at the location.

The visiting artist at the AV Framing Gallery for February, and also the month of March as he secured two months in the space room his incredible work, is a local artist by the name of Brian Duff.  His work is so hard to explain in detail of what to expect due simply to the fact that he has such variation in size and style.  He puts so much detail in his color selections and emits an utter genius in his layering and texturing effects that cover every inch of canvas.  I had the chance to speak with Brain and we chatted for quite some time.  His work is very broad and something that I can see on anyone’s wall no matter what he or she wants to display.  To top it all off he is just a nice and humble guy.  He is as genuine as his work is beautiful.

Shortly after speaking with Brian and Sarah at the AV Framing Gallery I traveled across the parking lot to the Wheeler Art Center.  This is another one of my personal favorite galleries and I had the chance to speak with Sheryl Hugill about her experiences on the First Friday Gallery Tour.  Sheryl gave me a brief description of her evening and her previous trips on the gallery tour.  “I am a big fan of the First Friday Gallery Tours,” she says.  “It allows for local artists to all hold receptions at their perspective galleries and share their work with hundreds of people.  My friends and I are always traveling on the First Friday Gallery Tours and try to hit as many different galleries as we can each month.  I have never had an experience that was not more than I expected.  IDADA really has something good going on here.  It makes me proud to live in such a cultural city.”

Shortly after speaking with Sheryl I watched another kind of art take place right in front of me.  While walking around listening to soft music and looking at art a magician began to perform right in the middle of the crowd.  It is nice to see that not only artists that paint and sculpt and take photographs can showcase their talents.

After leaving the Wheeler House I made my way to the Harrison Center.  Besides being hard to find and nearly impossible to find parking, the Harrison Center was by far the most inspirational and interesting gallery spaces I have seen in quite some time.  Having spent time in Europe studying art in galleries and museums until I was blue in the face, I was not ready for what was in store at the Harrison Center.  I found myself in a gymnasium, which made me feel like I was in the leading role of Hoosiers.  There were kids playing all around and indie movies being shown on sheets on the walls.  I had the chance to sit and speak with a local author and art fan, Maurice Broaddus.  He was hanging out in the gym with his family and other art lovers taking in the festivities.

Broaddus said that he tries to make it out to every tour and tries to hit as many galleries as he can.  He also said that he always ends up back at the Harrison Center.  He said that there is always a lot of art to look at, there are tables set up serving all varieties of wine, beer, and water, and that there is always a local singer or songwriter playing in hidden rooms throughout the center.  It produces what he called the, “perfect experience for viewing the arts”.

I had the chance to also speak with another local art enthusiast in Erin Forst.  She stated that this was her first time visiting the Harrison Center.  She had been on the tour before but told me that she always has a blast and enjoys seeing the city of Indianapolis in places that it seems to be hiding.  She also stated that she had not experienced the hallways of confusing at the Harrison Center.  I ended up sharing a glass of red wine with her and her friend that accompanied her that evening and we talked about art, music, movies, and everything in between.  The Harrison Center is a great place for art, music, and independent films.  It is also a great place to make new friends.

All in all my February IDADA First Friday Gallery Tours was a success.  This was one of my first attempt to hit as many galleries as I did and I am glad that I managed to make it to this many.  I hope to see you all out next month at your favorite gallery,