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Changes Coming To First Friday
Changes Coming To First Friday

AIR DATE: July 26, 2013


Joey Vanas, Managing Partner, First Friday

Jennifer Metzger, owner, Vanguard Lounge

Joanne Russ, Gallery Coordinator, Contemporary Arts Center

First Friday is going to look different in August. Many of the tents and vendors will move to the north side of the Arts District, creating more accessibility for galleries. In recent months, downtown business owners have raised concerns about rowdy crowds and underage drinking. Will the changes help shift First Friday's focus back to the arts? And will they alleviate concerns about safety?

What exactly is going to be different?

Joey Vanas, Managing Partner, First Friday: It will look quite different. The area south of Charleston where the primary portion of the event which First Friday actually produces will be a giant art installation. So we’ve got  a lot of local artists collaborating and working together on this immersive art experience. There is a theme to it, it’s Antarctica, basically in response to the heat wave that we’ve had this summer in the last couple of months. The attendance has been down a little bit. It’s been extremely hot out there. The name is obviously a play off of that, and just trying to change perspective a little bit and give a pure art experience for this month.

Why are you scaling it back?

In response to the heat, we’re trying to get people to go explore some other areas, go inside. In terms of scaling back, it’s the heat. The numbers have been down a little bit on the attendees as well as the vendors. And there are a lot of great galleries and places in the area that are indoors that have some great art and things to explore, and we just thought that a lot of people miss that. I think people just come and they go to where they know. Oftentimes and if they don’t know and no one’s telling them to go somewhere else, they just follow the crowds, and where they know, so we’re hoping to entice them to go explore a little more.

    comments powered by Disqus
    Hi, I missed an opportunity to call in a give an opinion but I partly agree with what caller Mark seemed to allude to in that maybe we're looking at it in a less productive manner then we could. And what I'm referring to is behavior of the crowds. I'm a film maker and I do go to first fridays and I've shot documentary footage during the most busy times of night. What I notice is that when the same people that were drinking and being routy out in the open street, as soon as they (typically) enter into one of the art buildings (on Sahara) they become more respectful and less routy then when the same person or group of people is out on the open street. There's a documentary about a social engineer and inventor Jacque Fresco (who I'd love to meet) called Future by design that I think covers the underlying situation... in that the environment shapes human (and animal) behavior. If you want to encourage more appropriate behavior, something needs to happen with the environment on the streets. What exactly? I don't know, but maybe more allowed booths or incentives to have more booths, maybe signs, interactive kiosks, security, something.. get some qualified social engineers for solutions
    David LevyJul 26, 2013 09:53:28 AM
    Love the Vanguard. Tasteful, intimate, great cocktails.
    Art RuehlsJul 26, 2013 09:12:30 AM
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