First Friday's East Begins March 5
First Friday’s East begins its three-month run on March 5th. It’s the latest offering of Curated Culture’s First Fridays Art Walk.
There are four locations with First Friday East events planned, including the University of Richmond Downtown.
SHEEHAN : Which is at the corner of Broad and 7th St. We have a beautiful gallery here, sponsored by the Wilton Companies, and they will be showing an exhibition called Surface Tension. It includes work by UR art students as well as work by students from three local elementary schools: from Fox, from Overby-Sheppard and from Carver.
Dr. Liz Sheehan is Director of Partners in the Arts, part of the UR School of Continuing Education.
SHEEHAN : The teachers and the faculty at UR worked with students in the elementary schools to explore this theme of surface tension, which actually is an exploration of how pattern and texture and rhythm generate energy, visual movement and emotional response.
The art work, she said, is electric and vibrant and there’s music.
SHEEHAN : On March 5th we’re going to have a bluegrass acoustic duo.
Another partner in First Fridays East is the Library of Virginia.
SHEEHAN : The gift shop there will be hosting wine and food tastings, and these will be Virginia products. There will be Virginia artists and writers who will be giving demonstrations, talks, creating a kind of cocktail hour where you can meet with local Virginia artisans and artists and also enjoy some Virginia products.
From the library it’s only a short walk to historic St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Capital Square:
SHEEHAN : And they also will be having art exhibits and very likely musical performances, in addition to some kind of casual food, and then Richmond Centerstage, which on March 5th is giving a free performance of Othello at eight o'clock in the Gottwald Theatre.
The impact of the recession on education in the arts, she noted, is already being felt:
SHEEHAN : The arts are not an extra, they are what inspire people, particularly children, to realize what their potential is, and you don’t separate art. Whatever your art is, whatever your heart is, you put it altogether with the rest of what you’re learning, and this is a cost-saving measure for the schools because it is hard to sustain art programs and specialized projects like photography class and things like that. But if they are integrated into the teaching of history, social studies, math, science, it engages the students and it engages the teachers in a new way and it helps lots of students learn in new ways rather traditional subject matter, so it’s actually, I think, a very effective way of sustaining the arts in a very difficult, really budget crisis time for many schools.
Each of the venues involved in First Fridays East was willing and ready to give people a taste of the city’s revitalized downtown, she said. And for UR it was a perfect fit.
SHEEHAN : We train K-12 teachers to use the arts to teach all subjects. So our focus is on professional development of Richmond Public Schools as well as private school teachers, and this exhibit is just fits beautifully with the goal of what we are doing with Partners. It’s going to be great for us to expand our public understanding of what UR Downtown is doing.
The idea, Sheehan said, is to introduce people to the business end of Broad Street after dark:
SHEEHAN : People are reluctant sometimes to stay downtown. They don’t really don’t know what’s going on in the East End because there are a lot of government offices and City Hall. Things seem to shut down, but on Friday evenings there is alot going on here and we want people to enjoy that.
John Ogle, WCVE News