Thursday, January 31, 2008

a beginnner's guide to first friday

Responding to some our esteemed commenters, I'll attempt to summarize the thing that is First Friday in Knoxville.

1. It's on the first friday of every month. Yup, very important to mark the ol' calender, this is a shifting date. If it's TGIF at work and you just got payed, it's time to go see some art.

2. It's "cultural." Mostly of the "artsy" type. FF has a plethora of different artistic endeavors on display at various galleries and businesses. Supposedly it can be anywhere in our city limits, but most of FF takes place in downtown where you can walk from exhibit to exhibit. There are many different types of art, but mostly it's paintings, sculpture, photography, and "installation" art. Occasionally there's video art.
Around all this cultural outpouring swirls a crowd of art museum high society types, old hippies, hipster art students, and the occasional shmuck who took a wrong turn trying to go see Rambo at the Riviera.

3. There's free food. Let me underscore this: there's free food. And usually beverages of the adult nature. The highlight of The Pol's night is the meatballs. It usually good food, but the fact that it's free makes it scrumtulescent.

4. The main stops:

(a) The Emporium. This the headquarters for the Arts & Culture Alliance of Knoxville. It usually has the largest exhibit, on two levels. On the Corner of Jackson and Gay, just up from the Old City.

(b) The UT Downtown Gallery. Supported by the University, it usually has a mixture of art students' work and visiting Artists-in-Residence. Right next door to the Emporium.

(c) Gallery 1010. All art students, all the time. This the more indie of the main galleries, with weirder installations. Across the street from the Emporium.

(d) The Art Gallery of Knoxville/COPYSHOP. If you want so see some really unusual stuff, go here. Part of last month's exhibit involved brewing beer on site. Over the Gay Street viaduct, across from Regas.

(e) The Downstairs Gallery. An underground (literally) gallery that specializes in ultra-indie stuff. Across the street from Manhattan's in the Old City.

(f) Lox Salon. Sometimes there's art, sometimes not. Usually they've got something cool going on. Last month they had a chili competition. On Central in the Old City, across from Big Don's Costumier.

(g) Bliss Home. They usually have local art for sale during business hours, but the main draw on FF is the Pasta Trio catering and the wine. Next to La Costa on Market Square.

(h) World Grotto. Usually I don't go here for First Friday. But check it out and tell if I'm missing anything. They've had belly dancers on occasion, I've heard. Market Square.

(i) Deka Bakari Gallery. This one just opened up last month, housed in what was Suttree's The Huddle. It's hike down Gay, around the corner on Cumberland across the street from the First Tennessee Tower. I really liked Deka Bakari- it's worth the walk.

(j) The Fluorescent Gallery. I never knew where this one was, but I had always heard it was cool (probably ultra-ultra indie). I finally spotted it on a bike ride a few weeks ago on Central Ave., up the street from the Broadway intersection, near Emory Place. I'll be checking it out tomorrow.

As you can tell, lots of things to see on First Friday in Knoxville. There are even more places open for it, but I tried to hit on the coolest stuff. FF starts after work around 6:00 and most places shut down at 9:00. A lot of the indie places party later, though. It's enough art to satiate the average person 'til next First Friday rolls around.

Good night and good luck.

5 comments:

Mickey said...

Thanks for the run-down. Your response to reader requests is impressive and appreciated.

You should have waited until the end to mention the free food, though. I was distracted throughout.

em said...

the emporium usually has the best free food. unless some place is doing a special, one time type event. then food at that place is probably gonna be pretty choice. bliss home sometimes has free pasta trio.

em said...

oh, and that new store on the 100 block had really good free food last time. unarmed merchants? free wine, too, of a much better quality than the free stuff at emporium.

katie said...

Three more galleries to add to the list:

A-1 Lab Arts: in the Fireproof Storage building at 201 Randolph Street in Knoxville's Old City.

The Birdhouse: on the corner of 4th and Gill aves. (down the street from Sassy Ann's).

Host: gothic DIY extravaganza. Next door to the Basement Gallery (across from Manhattan's)

All probably have food out for First Friday.

Anonymous said...

The Art Market - Formerly located in the Candy Factory, the Art Market has been featuring the work of local professional artists for over 15 years. Free food and wine on FF here, too. Gay St., next to Downtown Grill and Brewery.

Vagabondia - Featuring artwork by reknowned Knoxville artist Cynthia Markert (these are the paintings of 1920s-esque women you've seen around town.) Market Square, next to Bliss Home.