Nevada City’s First Friday Art Walk kicks off this week |

Nevada City’s First Friday Art Walk kicks off this week

Streets in downtown Nevada City bustle with excitement during the annual First Friday Art Walk in this archive photo.
Faye White | Faye White

Know & Go

What: First Friday Art Walk

When: Starting at 5 p.m. June 1, July 6 and Aug. 3

Where: Downtown Nevada City

For info: Go online to, to the Art Walk Facebook page, or call Cynthia Levesque at 530-575-8846

Back in 2012, Cynthia Levesque dreamed up an idea for an event that would help local artists showcase their work and attract more attention to businesses in downtown Nevada City.

Levesque, an artist who at the time owned Neva Co. Boutique, was inspired by events such as Art Murmur in Oakland and proposed a First Friday Art Walk. With only 30 days of planning, she told The Union at the time she just hoped people would come, especially in 104-degree temps.

That first event, in June 2013, attracted several hundred visitors and prompted organizers to close off parts of some streets.

Five years later, the art walk is still going strong. Friday marks the first First Friday Art Walk of 2018, with 25 downtown businesses featuring local artists, and hosting receptions and live music.

“It’s definitely a lot of work, but a work of love,” Levesque said. “It makes my summer busy. But I feel like it’s worth it. I like to see the town bustling, to see families out and about. It really is an event for everybody.”

There will be live music and theatrical performances at various locations throughout downtown. This Friday, the Boardwalk on Commercial Street will feature The Ruckrich Family Band and the Buffalo Gals.

There will also be a Youth Arts Showcase featuring Artists between the ages of 4-18 with some fantastic prizes donated by local businesses, as well as a “Kids Zone” on York Street with activities and art projects for kids of all ages and performances by The Aerial Lab.

Multiple venues will be hosting art exhibits, including LeeAnn Brook’s new gallery and studio space at 231 Broad St.

Osborn Woods Gallery at The Miners Foundry Cultural Center, 325 Spring St., is curating a special theme for each Art Walk. It is the starting point on the art walk map and a great spot to grab a map to start your “art walking,” noted Levesque. This month, the gallery’s show, MYTH, features the work of 15 local artists, including sculpture, paintings, photography, jewelry and handmade books. There will also be music, a bar and food.

While not a complete list, here are some of the other planned events: The new Nevada City location of Make Local Habit at 241 Commercial St. will have a book signing by local photographer David McKay. Nevada City Winery at 321 Spring St. will host an opening reception for artist Angela Apostal with guitarist Ananda Vaughan playing jazz originals, improvisational and covers. Nevada City Chocolate Shoppe, 236 Broad St., will feature Alison Kenyon of Skin Wars doing live body painting with a special “Sweets” theme. The Chocolate Shoppe also will celebrate the release of a new flavor of chocolate.

After a two-year hiatus, artists are returning to Calanan Park, Levesque said.

“We turn the park into an outdoor gallery, with twinkling lights and artists set up along the paths,” she said. “It feels like Paris or London.”

Levesque said there are a lot of new participants, including EJ Gallery inside the New York Hotel, Heartwood restaurant and Industrial.

“I’m excited to see these new businesses and what they bring to the event,” she said.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at

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