First Friday kicks winter in the butt

On one of the coldest January Fridays in my recollection, Grand Rapidians and more still hit the streets of downtown Grand Rapids to experience the monthly art walk. ¬†They dealt with the cold first by heading to Old Central School to say hello to artists in residence Sheena and Diamond. Artist Sam was not in that evening. Their studio is both warm and welcoming. They love to talk about their work and the progress they’ve made over the past two months. You can be the next artist in residence. Go to www.grandrapidsarts.org to apply.

Josh and Marina bring color and laughter into a cold evening.
Josh and Marina bring color and laughter into a cold evening.

Across the hallway the Uncommon Loons were restaging Not Playing with a Full Deck. Room 203 is a perfect space for intimate theater. I saw this production’s first performance at an Insomniacs staging at the Reif. Insomniacs is a weekend theater marathon of writing, casting, rehearsing and performing within 24 hours. The play was fun the first time and polished and well-timed at Central School. Hats off to this troupe for taking community theater to a whole new level.

South of the School Deb and Chris of Frame Up were displaying Beth Joki’s ice lanterns. Ice lanterns were attempted several years ago outside galleries and businesses during First Friday, but unfortunately, it was raining. Last Friday they were displayed outside the store where the women had a lovely fire going. The weather was perfect for Beth’s display.

The women of Frame Up move the party outside.
The women of Frame Up move the party outside.

First Friday calls for acts of creation on the part of businesses and arts venues. While it is fun, it is a lot of work to be “on” monthly. The happenings at Central School and ¬†Frame Up were just a few events. Harry Corwin displayed his trains at the Historical Society. Brewed displayed Jackie Solem’s photography and had their signature molasses cookies and coffee on hand. The Mac opened with works by Vance Gellert and Laurie Jacobi. Then it was on to the Reif for Grand Rapids State Bank’s tribute to the arts as they kicked off their year-long centennial celebration with a fabulous variety show of local talent. Post Reif it was on to the VFW for Sam Miltich and Friends. A big thanks to all who take the time to make downtown fun and inviting even in the coldest of winter nights.