Archive for Saturday, August 28, 2010

First ‘Final Friday’ attracts artsy crowd

Elliot Ahlvers, 5, Lawrence, watches as Logan Lippincott turns the wheel of a print press during a printmaking demonstration held inside the Lawrence Arts Center during the first Final Fridays event. The event staged art exhibits at several locations downtown.

Elliot Ahlvers, 5, Lawrence, watches as Logan Lippincott turns the wheel of a print press during a printmaking demonstration held inside the Lawrence Arts Center during the first Final Fridays event. The event staged art exhibits at several locations downtown.

August 28, 2010


Final Fridays kicks off downtown

The art event is scheduled for the last Friday of every month. Enlarge video

Residents strolling in downtown Lawrence on Friday night finally had something new to look at. The night marked the kick-off to Lawrence’s first Final Fridays Gallery Walk, a monthly arts extravaganza set to take place the last Friday of every month.

More than 30 venues took part in the walk, from commercial galleries and restaurants to retail store and empty storefronts. The event also featured several live performances.

Jane Pennington, director of Downtown Lawrence Inc., said the goal was to allow artists to display their work while bringing the arts together in a fun and creative way.

“Many local artists are starved for space,” Pennington said. “With the type of talent and general interest of the arts in Lawrence it is a great opportunity for everyone.”

Tim Forcade, an artist who combines painting with graphics, said because so many talented artists reside in Lawrence, a lot of support is needed as well.

“We really need the help,” Forcade said. “We need events to sell at and allow people to support the arts.”

Darin White, curator of the gallery at 837 Mass., said Final Fridays is a great way to get people interested in art who perhaps don’t normally take the time to visit typical galleries. Having an event where the arts are combined in unique ways and on display in unconventional venues is a great way to attract new interest he said.

“It’s immediate — ‘I see it, and I want to look at it,’” White said. “It’s just like a store so I think it’s very appropriate that store space is being used for art.”

Artists are not the only ones excited about the opportunity. Residents are also enjoying the new event.

Colette Bangert, Lawrence, said she was thrilled to see an event like this in town.

“Art is finished when someone else looks at it,” Bangert said. “I think this is the most wonderful event that has happened in Lawrence for art and artists and businesses, etc., in decades, maybe ever.”

Final Fridays is presented by the Downtown Lawrence Arts District. Expansion plans are already in the works for next month. Interested artists can email or visit them on the Web at


funkdog1 7 years, 3 months ago

This is a great idea, but I was out with friends last night and by the time we were finished with dinner, most of the spaces were closed. C'mon downtown Lawrence! Really? Closed by 8 p.m. on a Friday night? The Final Friday needs to last untill 10 p.m. Come to think of it, most of the businesses downtown should be open until 10 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. This is just a no-brainer.

woodscolt 7 years, 3 months ago

One of the dumbest posts of all times.

CaraB 7 years, 3 months ago

Most local business owners work full days as it is. Many cannot afford to hire extra employees because of the high cost of rent on Mass Street. I worked downtown for years and never attended, or even ever heard of any "liberal elite cocktail party." Past 8 p.m., people are just looking, not buying. Plus, shop owners do have families to go home to. They work too many hours as it is.

funkdog1 7 years, 3 months ago

@CaraB: I've heard this argument for years, but it seems to me that the downtown shops can't possibly be doing more business from, say, 9 a.m. to noon on a Monday or Tuesday morning than they would be on a Thursday or Friday or Saturday night. So why not open shops a little later on Mondays and Tuesdays (and maybe even Wednesdays) and save those hours for the times when there are throngs of people roaming the sidewalks? My friends and I are soooo willing to spend money in the evenings, especially after we've had a few drinks.

onceinawhile 7 years, 3 months ago

I think it'd be great if the event lasted until 9 or 10 as well. Hopefully they will try that next month for a trial run, at least.

Mike Edson 7 years, 3 months ago

funkdog1 I agree with you on the Final Friday's continuing past 8 pm. The same thing happened to my wife and I last night. By the time we finished dinner most of the activities were over. However, I can understand the ending by 8 pm because Mass street and surrounding streets get sketchy after 9 pm.

Phil Minkin 7 years, 3 months ago

9 is a little early for "sketchy". Sketchy starts around midnight and moves into wierd and freaky around 2.

CaraB 7 years, 3 months ago

I think this is fantastic. Lawrence boasts being "the city of the arts" and now, something great is being done to support the artists. And downtown Lawrence. And residents. Although I no longer live in Lawrence (First Fridays at the Crossroads is closer to me now), I will make the drive to come to Final Friday. Yay Lawrence!

vuduchyld 7 years, 3 months ago

Great event! Really fun....lots of folks out walking around and hopefully spending money (I know I did).

We would have certainly spent more time out and seen more things if more of the venues had been open later. Actually, the flash gallery in Maurice's old space DID stay open probably at least an hour after 8:00...much appreciated!

I'll definitely be back next month!

BigPrune 7 years, 3 months ago

Lawrence is starved for REAL artists. "Garbage Art" - (things made from garbage) might be the "in" thing in Lawrence, but gimme a break. A few thousand dollars for a hunk of iron with a few bolts jammed through it is not art, empty milk cartons cut in half tied together to resemble a mass of empty milk cartons tied together is not art!

Lawrence art, as a whole, sucks. Maybe we should stop promoting ourselves as some legitimate place for "art."

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

Maybe we can get Norman Rockwell or Michelangelo to move to town so you can have access to "real" art.

Liberty275 7 years, 3 months ago

The medium is irrelevant to the artwork. Maybe you would prefer schlock, but I find a lot of "garbage" art interesting.

Liberty275 7 years, 3 months ago

Jackson Pollock could, but he was teh gay and a drunk. Oh, 2 -3 million, not thousand.

cobaltblue 7 years, 3 months ago

Time should be extended to 9pm. Also, how about closing off Mass Street to traffic and make it a pedestrian mall for the evening.

Jim Williamson 7 years, 3 months ago

Or maybe you could go after work, like 99% of the people who attend the hundreds of First Friday and Final Friday art events across the country do.

d_prowess 7 years, 3 months ago

KC's First Fridays goes until 10pm Wichita's Final Fridays goes until 9pm Chicago's 2nd Fridays goes until 10pm

I could go on, but I think you get the point. Ending at 8pm is too early.

blindrabbit 7 years, 3 months ago

Tom: Jackson Pollock was quite successful at what you proposed for yourself, need to do quite a bit of drinking before you start.

Friday nights have been tried before, does not work! Reason, Friday nights are set aside by many people to dine out, and after a busy workweek they do not want to eat in a rush and hurry to meet gallery closing deadlines. This is especially true for the Final Friday of the month.

Agree, Lawrence has many "artists", some gifted, some bad and many "crafters".. Lawrence considers itself a "artsy town" but this is really a mind fantasy. Comparing wannabee Lawrence to "real" art towns (Santa Fe, Scottsdale etc.) is a joke. Many so-called art collectors here are satisfied with mass produced commercially art (Thomas Kinkade. Ethan Allen, etc.) Not being snobby, but most residents are not "sophisticated enough", do not appreciative, or too tight to buy "real" art.

bad_dog 7 years, 3 months ago

Ethan Allen was an artist? I must not be "sophisticated enough".


blindrabbit 7 years, 3 months ago

I Should have said Ethan Allen Gallery Art, sorry for the confusion. Although Ethan Allen (the man) was a diverse and talented man including the following (listed below), I don't think he was an "artist"!

Revolutionary War Patriot and Hero Surveyor Land Speculator Farmer Writer Politician Businessman Philosopher

bad_dog 7 years, 3 months ago

Agree on all counts, but have to admit you had me going for a moment. I knew he was something of a Renaissance man, but an artist too?

It is interesting to note that on the subject of art, there are apparently no authenticated pictorial depictions of Allen in existence.

fiddleback 7 years, 3 months ago

Again, there's something a little desperate about the whole affair. I don't really expect the artwork to sell any better. Maybe at It's About Time since they're closing next month and everything's 40% off. Phoenix has beautiful craft pieces but seems to just get by, not thrive. Signs of Life always has tiresome pap to court art history-ignorant Baby Boomers - I won't go into SoL's not-so-subtle Christian allegiances, the James Dobson books in their store. Wonderfair goes too far in the direction of toss-off hipster cleverness; I can't see that selling. LAC has had some good shows here and there, but I still don't see things selling. Even mentioning Sante Fe is just pathetic. If we can barely support the craftsmen at Phoenix, we simply don't have patrons with the money or aesthetic temperament to buy innovative fine art - and therefore most innovative artists wouldn't see the point of showing here.

Liberty275 7 years, 3 months ago

Rednecks out in full force today. No creative inspiration just criticism

Careful. I'm a redneck with a deep appreciation for art and a masters degree in fine arts. I'm not Joe Sixpack though, I'm Joe Glenlivet.

ralphralph 7 years, 3 months ago

Free Tip: Grab a quick snack after work, make dinner reservations for 8, browse the galleries first.

You're welcome.

make_a_difference 7 years, 3 months ago

Except for the dinner reservations, this is exactly what I was thinking. Viewing before dinner would also add to dinner conversation. I understand wanting to take an "after meal stroll", but sometimes one must make adjustments. :)

corduroypants 7 years, 3 months ago

Is there any thread that you don't take a giant s**t on?

fiddleback 7 years, 3 months ago

Puh-lease. Things would be getting worse no matter who was in office, even the vaunted Ron Paul, you can be sure of that. We could just agree that it's the hollowing of our economy now that everything's made in China, rather than go round and round with you blaming entitlements and everyone else blaming military spending, same old bla, bla, bla. And you should just let the labels go - because you really do sound like a rube/redneck cliche with all this "Heh-heh, you call that art? I guess liberals'd buy it." and talking about pulling off a Jackson Pollock (that joke was seriously old 50 years ago), just like most of the middle-age middlebrow people perusing the art venues look like liberal cliches. We all use labels; you're certainly no exception. Quit trying to take high ground when you clearly have none.

Ralph Reed 7 years, 3 months ago

Tom, you're slipping. It took you until 1430 to take a swipe a President Obama. What's wrong? Maybe you SHOULD follow your plan from a few months ago and just go away.

Ralph Reed 7 years, 3 months ago

On a better note, we went downtown and had the opportunity to see most of the art walk. Despite what people say who don't live in this county, much less in Lawrence, it was a great time. A lot of interesting things to see and it was good to see families downtown on Friday night.

I agree with edson443 and onceinawhile in that the Final Friday art walk should stay open until 2100 or 2200. (Tom, that's when it's dark out and the big hand is on 12, and the little hand is on 9 or 10.) More people would have the opportunity to see a lot without having to rush.

youngjayhawk 7 years, 3 months ago

Who are you people? We had a lesiurely dinner and still had ample time to see all of the Final Friday venues. Use your time wisely!

Ralph Reed 7 years, 3 months ago

I commute and don't get back to town until 1800 or 1830. So, 1-1/2 to 2 hours doesn't allow for a lot, does it.

irvan moore 7 years, 3 months ago

it was fun, i don't think anyone who had art in the exhibits thought they were the next Monet. It was a good time for all of us fortunate enough to enjoy the moment and all our friends we ran into downtown.

blindrabbit 7 years, 3 months ago

Participated as a business owner in downtown Lawrence for many years; also participated and hosted gallery walks for most of that time! Some observations based on my experience:

Fridays is a good idea. To accommodate people who are dining out, a suggestion would be for the participating venues to stay open to at least 9:00

Closing of Massachusetts St. Good idea, we tried to get this to happen many times. Four reasons this did not/could not happen. (1) Fire Department said that they need access to the storefronts along Mass. St. (2) City has rerouting traffic issues. (3) Loss of parking on Mass. St. would effect the businesses that are not near parking garages or lots.. (4) Certain (you guess who) business owners are adamantly opposed to closing Mass. St. for any event, parades, bike races and/or festivities.

Congratulations, the first Final Friday was a good event, good crowd, mix of venues great, yellow participant flags were good. Need to beef up the advertising locally and surrounding areas.

verity 7 years, 3 months ago

I was there. It was fun.

I even broadened my horizons a little bit.

verity 7 years, 3 months ago

The restaurants seemed to be doing a good business---I thought more than usual. I would be interested to know how much art was sold. I wonder if some people might not come back later and buy something they saw and went home and thought about.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 3 months ago

A good beginning judging from the negative comments.

Keep it up,give it plenty of time and publicize,publicize,publicize.

How about the Haskell Indian Community artists? Where are they?

8 PM seems a little early to shut down if we are looking to promote not only more exposure for artists but stimulating more dollars for local business. The again I've felt for sometime that Downtown Lawrence stores should do 11AM till 9 PM.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 3 months ago

In Santa Fe native americans are allowed to set up in the town plaza. Here they spread blankets and on sidewalks then lay out their hand crafted merchandise. This has been going on for at least 35 years it seems to me. This is quite successful and weekly as the weather cooperates.

We were there Thursday between noon and two. It is very very very busy.

Why not consider this type of venue as an addition?

d_prowess 7 years, 3 months ago

Did anyone go into the restaurants that were displaying art? We ended up only really going into the venues that were more like stores since we felt the restaurants were already crowded and it would be weird to go in while so many people were sitting and eating.

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