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!