Tag Archives: Anchorage First Friday

My First Last Thursday.

After college I spent a brief period in Portland, Oregon, where I began working as an artist full time.  Every first Thursday of the month art galleries downtown and in the Pearl District would be open with new exhibits.  My portfolio was not quite developed, and getting an art curator to take me seriously as an artist didn’t pan out.  I wasn’t the only artist who wanted to participate in First Thursday, there were many talented people who wanted to show and sell their art, so the “outcasts” of the established gallery scene in Portland started their own event on Alberta Street on Last Thursdays.  They displayed paintings, jewelry, sculptures and crafts on the sidewalks up and down the streets, and soon the event became quite popular.  There were live musicians, food vendors, fire dancers, and overall great times!  I joined in one time and paid for my space by trading one of my paintings to the business owner who let me display my art in front of his store.  I didn’t sell any work that night, but I made connections and had a blast!

When I moved back to Anchorage in 2002, we didn’t have as vibrant of an art scene like the one in the City of Roses.  There was no First or Last Thursday, and very few galleries.  I don’t remember how, or when First Friday started in Anchorage, but I’m very glad that it happens now.  This is the first week of October, which means that Friday is the day that all the galleries, and some coffee shops, tap rooms, and restaurants will be hosting art opening receptions.  This is your chance to shop for the newest art, and to speak with artists directly about their inspiration.

I sometimes have art shows at various venues around town, and when I don’t have one booked, we open our painting studio to the public just for a few hours during the First Friday Art Walk.  Normally, when we’re not hosting an event, our doors are closed, and we’re just working in there, but you can make an appointment to visit if you want to shop for art, or commission a painting.

This Friday we will be open to the public, and I invite you to stop by, especially if you’ve never seen where we work.  We have an incredible view of the Inlet and the Port, and I’ll bake my famous chocolate chip cookies.  This is a great opportunity to see a real painting studio, meet the artist, and see the newest paintings.  We’ll be open from 5 to 7:30pm, and the studio is inside the 4th Avenue Market Place at 333 W 4th Avenue.  We’re in Suite 4, just follow our Art Show signs.

There are three other First Friday events that I recommend you attend.  The Anchorage Museum is free and often has live music, talks and special exhibits, and is open late on First Fridays.  Williwaw Social is hosting their first First Firkin Friday event, and is celebrating the grand opening of the Midnight Sun Brewing Dining Hall.  And lastly, check out the new tiny gallery called Blank Space where my friend Justin DeWolf is having his first art show.

Supporting local artists keeps our community vibrant and creative, and First Friday is a good way to see a lot of local art in one evening.  Don’t spend your PFD in one place!

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Putting Together an Art Show

~ by Maria Benner

Last night Scott and I hung an art show at Midnight Sun Brewing, which was a culmination of planning, painting, and getting everything ready for the venue.  We’ve done this many times, so we’re getting pretty efficient at it.  The process begins several months in advance when I book a venue.  Then Scott and I brainstorm about a theme, decide how many new paintings he needs to paint, and what they should look like, and which existing paintings to hang.  About two weeks in advance, I submit event information to the venue, ADN, and the Anchorage Press, and a couple days later, create a FB event, and schedule on my calendar the e-mail blast, and social media posts promoting the art show.  A day before we hang the art, we work for about five hours making prints, framing paintings, pricing everything, creating an inventory sheet, and signage.  Normally we have to wait until the venue is closed to the public to set up.  Midnight Sun Brewing closes at 8 PM.  So we packed everything up and loaded it into our truck from the studio around 7:30 PM, and arrived at the brewery with just enough time to order a beer before last call.  Setting up took about two hours this time.  We always have a great time at MSBC after hours, because the employees have a lot of charisma, and they appreciate Scott’s art.  They get first dibs, because they’re the first ones who get to see all the paintings, and sometimes, someone buys their favorite piece.  Last night the Banksy beer parody sold.  The theme for this art show is Beer Art History, and it features many of the beer parodies of famous paintings that Scott released in 2015 on Thirsty Thursdays.  We are also unveiling the new Pops series, which is several bright oil paintings of poppies in front of Anchorage scenery.

Scott’s art will be at the brewery until February 4th.  We hope you stop by and check it out.  You can take the paintings and prints home with you right away.  Scott will be tapping a firkin on January 8th at 5 PM, since First Friday was on January 1st this year.  Click here for more event info.

Hopefully the firkin will do this again.

Here are some pictures from last night.

We put together this list of things to do to get ready for the art show.

We put together this list of things to do to get ready for the art show.

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November Art Projects

Winter is officially here with the first snow fall that didn’t melt, but we’re too busy working in the studio to notice the cold and the darkness.  Here is our list of projects for November.

  1. In October we offered a 10% discount on commissioned oil paintings, and as a result, Scott will be working on five pieces.  The largest one is 3ft x 4ft.
  2. This First Friday we are having an art opening at Resolution Brewing in Mountain View.  This is a new venue for us, in a different section of town, and we’re looking forward to seeing how things play out.  Click here for the deets.
  3. Scott recently finished building two large supports for new paintings.  He has interesting concepts for them, but today we found out that a major set-back happened.  The 8ft x 4ft panel warped.  We think this happened, because the wood fibers in the birch panel naturally wanted to twist.  Fighting the natural tendencies of wood is a losing battle, so Scott is going to dismantle the panel, and start all over with new pieces.  That’s a lot of wasted time and money, but we’d rather cut our losses sooner than later, and make a product that’s perfect.  Defects are not acceptable at this level.
  4. We will be hosting art lessons for a Girl Scouts troop in our studio.  They will be working on their collage and comic strip badges.
  5. This year the Maury Pottery sale is not happening for the first time in 30 years, so we’ll be hosting our own Holiday Studio Sale.  Scott will have new paintings and prints for sale.  Stay tuned for details.
  6. Lastly, if we have any extra time, we’re going to update our website with new images.

So that’s what we’ll be doing, in addition to managing the Etsy shop, fulfilling custom stickers orders, and maybe brewing some beer.

Have a great November!

Working on a commissioned painting.

Working on a commissioned painting.

The view from the studio has changed to winter mode.

The view from the studio has changed to winter mode.