Arts & Culture

Walking First Friday ArtWalk in Eugene

Lane Arts Council’s First Friday ArtWalk@@ provides an exciting and inexpensive way to spend a Friday evening this summer in Eugene.

The event is put on on@@yes, two ‘on’[email protected]@ the first Friday of every month. From 5:30 to 8 p.m., local galleries open their doors to community members and local artists to engage in a night of food, music and, most importantly, art. Cost of attendance is free.

“It’s the downtown party,” said Jessica Watson, who is coordinator for the First Friday ArtWalk. “It’s a reason to go downtown and a really great way to get people out in the community and for artists to show downtown and get their names out.”

University of Oregon student Frances Saucedo@@[email protected]@ was in attendance for her second ArtWalk.

“I think it’s really cool,” she said. “You get to see parts of Eugene as well, so it’s a good way to get to know the city as well as the artists in it.”

Artist Cassandra Warren,@@[email protected]@ whose work was shown at the fourth gallery stop of the Downtown Initiative for the Visual Arts, explained how the ArtWalk has affected her.

“This is probably the nicest, largest exhibit that I’ve been in, in a real gallery and in a long time,” she said. “So, this has been in some way — even though I’ve lived here since ‘93 — like some sort of debut.”

This past Friday, the ArtWalk guided a tour focused on five local galleries, spending a half hour at each observing the art and hearing the artists speak. In addition to drawing attention to local artists, the ArtWalk brings business to galleries that are just getting started.

A co-owner of Studio West, Ciara Cuddihy,@@[email protected]@ shared what the ArtWalk has done for the gallery.

“It helps bring new customers in, and it helps us get introduced to the glass (blowing) community in Eugene as well,” she said. “Myself and my fiancé Alejandro have been here for about three months, and I guess the ArtWalk today is like our unofficial reopening of Studio West.”

The couple met in a glassblowing class in Illinois and moved to Eugene for the prominent glassblowing community.

“It’s fantastic,” she said, “because it’s such a close-knit community, and everybody helps each other out.”

This stop included a live glassblowing demonstration from her fiancé.

In addition to the art shown by the galleries, the ArtWalk featured live art, like the glassblowing at Studio West. The last gallery of the walk, The Woodpecker’s Muse, showed Daniel Balter’s amazing exhibit “The Rise of the Robots” and hosted live drawings of a nude model for art walkers.

Whether you’re looking to explore the Eugene art community or want to find out more about the character of Eugene outside of campus, the First Friday ArtWalks are a great and inexpensive way to spend your summer.

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