Highlights of April’s First Friday

Taylor Thornberg
Spectrum Editor

This past First Friday, Gallery 5 celebrated it’s 10-year anniversary. Inside, shows and performances were in full swing. Photo by Pilar Curtis

On Friday, April 3, a balmy 75 degree evening, scores of Richmonders gathered and traversed the monthly art walk down Broad and Main streets. Although rain and thunderstorms threatened to send everyone home, they held off until almost everyone had the chance to check out the galleries.

While a few of the bigger galleries along Broad Street had new exhibit openings, most of the new things to see were slightly off the beaten path.

At the very beginning of the art walk in the new VCU graphic design building at 417 W. Broad St., sophomore graphic design students displayed some of their most recent class projects, which included posters and video clips.

At Sediment Gallery at 208 E. Grace St., the “Scatter/Structure” exhibit opened with a reception from 6-9 p.m. People packed in to see works by Sarah Nance and Heather McCalla, both Fountainhead Fellows for VCU’s craft and material studies department. The exhibit featured drawings and architectural installations by both artists that explored concepts like the complexities of familial relationships and the idea of “fixed states of being.”

One block over at 205 E. Broad St., mOb, a design studio run by VCU students and professors, showed their latest designed posters. The art displayed wasn’t just contained within the building, but was also put up in the median strip of Broad Street for passing cars to see. mOb’s goal with the posters and all their projects is to connect the community through design.

The biggest event of the evening by far was Gallery 5’s 10-year anniversary celebration. If First Friday seemed a little emptier than usual, it was most likely because most of the crowds gathered in and outside of Gallery 5 at 200 W. Marshall St. Brook Road, directly next to the gallery, was closed off to accommodate the Party Liberation Front’s fire-dancing show, which drew a huge crowd, including a group protesting the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

Inside, burlesque shows and musical performances by White Laces, Lobo Marino, Dave Watkins and The Awesome Few went on all night. Upstairs, cake was served to gallery-goers, and photos taken in and of Gallery 5 over the past five years were on display. Although Friday night was the biggest celebration, Gallery 5 will be hosting events for their 10-year anniversary all month, including a series of concerts by local bands and touring bands.

Despite the spring temperatures, some of the usual warm-weather outdoor fixtures of First Friday were missing, such as the small market that takes place in the lot next to Quirk Gallery at 311 W. Broad St., which usually features vendors of jewelry, soaps, baked goods and traditional Vietnamese food. Others, like the street DJ outside of the Turnstyle music store at 102 W. Broad St., embraced the warm weather and kept the art walkers entertained.

April’s First Friday may not have been the busiest, but by May, the warmer weather should see the art walk activities in full swing.

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