With only 30 days of planning, organizers of the initial First Friday Artwalk Nevada City just hoped people would come. Especially in 104-degree temps.
They never anticipated the need to shut down city streets because of crowds.
But that’s exactly what happened June 7 when the inaugural event attracted a few hundred people to Nevada City.
“One city council member said it was a ‘flash mob’ type of success,” said organizer Cynthia Levesque, who owns NevaCo Artisan Boutique.
Levesque brought the idea of a First Friday Artwalk to Nevada City as a means to draw people into downtown businesses. She was inspired by similar events such as Art Murmur in Oakland.
“This event is pretty much designed to get people to go into shops,” she said.
Based on the instant success of last month’s event, Levesque is on to something. After the June artwalk, some businesses reported to Levesque that they had their best Friday since the Christmas season, she said.
“I think people were just hungry for this kind of event,” she said.
First Friday Artwalk Nevada City pairs merchants with local artists for art receptions, exhibits in stores, live demonstrations and more.
“It’s up to the business to think outside the box,” Levesque said.
Last month, for example, artist Kathryn Wronski sat in the window of The Gray Goose on Broad Street doing a live painting demo during the event.
This Friday, 32 businesses will participate in the Artwalk from 6 to 9 p.m. with music in various locations around town, including on stage at the Commercial Street Boardwalk, a young musicians stage on York Street sponsored by NEO and acoustic music at the Fantastic Finds parking lot at the corner of South Pine and Spring Streets. The family-friendly event also offers a Youth Arts Showcase on York Street, along with kids activities such as face painting and a banner project from Community Canvas.
Levesque has a team of 10 volunteers helping make the First Friday Artwalk Nevada City a continued success. She plans for the event to run year-round with “pop-up” galleries filling vacant business space in the fall and winter months. Currently, participating merchants contribute to help offset event-related costs, and artists have stepped forward to sell works to benefit it as well.
For more about the event, contact Levesque at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-575-8846.
Features Editor Brett Bentley can be contacted at email@example.com.