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First Friday and First Saturday

If you’ve never been to a First Friday art walk – maybe you live out the road or simply can’t wait to get home after work on a Friday evening – this would be a great month to check it out. First Fridays used to feel a bit scaled back in the summers, but if this month’s docket is any indication, that’s no longer the case. As Juneau enters its 10th year of art walks, they appear to be stronger than ever.

More than 35 artists will be featured in tonight’s openings. They are old and young, accomplished and just starting out. Most are local, some are from other parts of Southeast.  They’ll show photography, paintings, drawings, carvings, sculptures, collage, mixed media work, jewelry, glass art, block prints and ceramics, as well as give talks and play music, among other things.

For the artists, First Friday represents a chance to unveil a tangible product that’s been weeks or months in the making -- sometimes even years, as with DeRoux’s current show at the Alaska State Museum. Bringing their work out of the studio and into the public eye is for many an important final stage in the creative process.

For the community, it’s a chance to see what these artists have been working on – to check in with old favorites and find new ones – and to talk to the artists themselves, as well as to visit with friends and neighbors.

For me, the allotted two-and-half hour time frame, between 4:30 and 7 p.m., has always been a bit frustrating – that’s usually not enough time to see it all, unless you plow through and don’t talk to anyone. (If you could teleport yourself between locations, this month you could spend 10 minutes in each of the 16 or so galleries on the list. But since you can’t, it works out to about 7 minutes.) So I usually extend First Friday to First Saturday, when I can leisurely walk around and look at things without feeling like I need to get to the next place. 

Lately, First Saturday has been my only option, as I’ve been playing co-host to artists at Adorn during art walk itself, like I did years ago with Rock Paper Scissors, when art walk was just getting started. Now as then, the frustration of missing art walk is balanced out by the pleasure of getting to interact with artists as they prepare for their shows, and of watching people get excited about the art on display. I don’t feel like I’m missing First Friday, just experiencing it from a different angle.  

But if you’re not working tonight and are planning to aim straight for your sofa, bar stool, or local trail with your dog – whatever – I suggest you make time for First Friday before any of that. It’s as if the town is inviting you to an art party once a month – all you have to do is show up.

•••

This month’s featured First Friday artists include Nancy Brown, Barbara Craver, Jay Crondahl, Cristine Crooks, Jim Fowler, Timi Johnson, Sue Kraft, Pua Maunu, Michelle Morrell, Alan Munro, Teri Robus, Barbara Sheperd, Mary Anne Slemmons, Jane Stokes, Carole Baker, Ariel Rolfe, Christianne Carrillo, Travis Croteau (music), Nell MCConahey, Misty Ostrowski, Sarah Arntson, Sharon Filyaw, Karen Beason, Rachael Juzeler. Michaela Goade, Carey Akagi. Kathleen Wiest, Holly Lena Winkelman, Allie High, Toby Harbanuk, Eve Griffin, Arnie Weimer, Fumi Matsumoto, Dan DeRoux and Mary Ellen Frank. 

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