If it’s free, it’s me; that’s why we went the first time. We got to learn a little about the, history, architecture, hobbies, events, interests, and people, place we currently call home. Biking and foot traffic is not allowed over the many bridges into downtown and we aren’t familiar with the bus schedule so we park our car in the Downtown Garage on Clay and Adams that allows free parking on this night.
The center of the arts and crafts is at Hemming Plaza near the MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) that is free on Artwalk night. They are constantly updating their exhibits and we were able to enjoy Project Atrium: Melanie Pullen along with other new artists portrayed in the upstairs galleries. From here, we can walk to churches, cafes, the main library, apartment offices, barber and cell phone shops, banks, and other venues displaying local art.
There are paintings, bead work, homemade earrings, pottery, theater, live music, costumes, monthly themes, zoo animal visits, authentic cuisine and samples of local bakeries, dancing, scraps to sculptures, recycled plastic and glass being reused, t-shirts, buttons, guys playing cards and dominoes, trinket boxes, decorative bags, wire art, face painting, wooden toys, healthcare and fundraising booths, book signings, pets, beer and wine, and enough Downtown Ambassadors and police to make sure the event goes smoothly.
The first time we went we used the paper map handout and attempted to see what we could. We haven’t used the map since. I enjoy “getting lost” as we meander the few blocks between Hemming Plaza and The Landing. We find new businesses starting out and others that have begun to display art to attract more attention; it works. We have enjoyed speaking with the artists about their methods and motivation. There was a mom and wife, the spokeswoman for her kids clothing line and husband’s novel The Unsolved Murder of Lynyrd Skynyrd Bassist.
I used to under-appreciate art thinking, “well, even I can do that” and sometimes I still might. Seeing the art and hearing the artist describe their techniques and how much time it has taken them to create their project makes me appreciate art a lot more. Perhaps more now that I enjoy photography, writing, sometimes knitting, original paintings, wood and wire sculptures, other creative arts, and the fact that I know I can’t do what these artists do as I struggle to create myself. I enjoy supporting the arts in different media (when I can afford to) and give thanks to all the inspiration (other artists) out there that keep me thinking and enjoying other aspects of life.