First Friday was a couple of days ago. It was one of those rare nights for me where everything seemed to go smoothly; the weather was incredible and I had one of the best art-viewing companions around, The Modern Gal. We rode our bikes around and I was able to see almost everything I intended to see and more. We ran into friends and our group grew as the night progressed.
A few general observations about First Friday: Everything I look to experience in the way of art is typically not found downtown, but in North Knoxville at places like the Florescent Gallery and the Birdhouse. There is an energy there, something more raw and more dynamic, obviously more youthful.
Downtown has its exceptions, Gallery 1010 and UT's Downtown Gallery, but being on Gay Street and Market Square during First Friday is not as much about the the art for me as it is to enjoy Knoxville, to see people out and about enjoying themselves. There was a slew of people watching Casablanca in the Square and others walking in and out of restaurants rubbing their bellies. It's so much fun to see.
We went to the Museum of East Tennessee History, which was my first visit. I think the people working were surprised to see people under forty walk through their doors. At least they seemed that way. It's a quieter side of First Friday which I enjoyed.
One artist I was glad to have been able to see again was Jason Amos Oaks, a former UT student who lives and works in Knoxville. He had a show at Florescent in February that I was really impressed with. I immediately recognized his work when I went into Abode on Friday. I'm sure it will be there for the rest of the month so check it out if you have the chance. The painting below is an example of his work and not one of the pieces currently at Abode.
In conclusion, I give this past First Friday 8.73 wigs. Good, good time.