With so much talent found around Utah county, it is only natural to establish a time and place every month for various artists to present their work to interested audiences. The First Friday Downtown Gallery Stroll is a venue where artists have found success as they attempt to break into the world of fine arts.
On the first Friday of every month, downtown Provo hosts an event allowing artists to share their work with the community. A cluster of local shops and businesses open their stores to share a variety of art collections. The art comes in different mediums, such as painting, sculpture, pottery, weaving and woodwork. While much of the art is visual, music and theater are large parts of the First Friday festivities and include the Rooftop Concert Series and performances held at the Covey Center for the Arts.
“I was shocked by how many people came in and looked around,” said Annie Farley, a new artist presenting at the Window Box Gallery on Center Street for her first time at the Gallery Strolls.
Farley began painting two and a half years ago. She recently graduated from UVU in painting and drawing and aspires to take her art to new audiences as she develops her own style. While it has been a whirlwind trying to establish herself in the world of art, Farley’s nature pieces can speak for themselves.
“If I had to choose a style, I would say it is really a blend between impressionism and realism,” she said of her artwork, which is made of thick swirls of paint.
As Farley stood by her paintings, patrons shared their opinions of her work and often showed curiosity about her artistic process.
“[People] want to know how it was done, even down to building my supports,” Farley said. “It’s good because someone is engaged in what we are doing, and that is where the beauty of [First Friday] lies.”
Sharing a space with Farley at the Window Box Gallery is woodturner Paul Russell from Lindon. Russell is no rookie when it comes to displaying his creations during First Friday. The close proximity between the two artists does not cause confusion because of the unmistakeable difference in mediums. Russell’s collection includes hand-turned woodwork formed into bowls, vases and decorative plates. The careful construction of each piece is a testament 0f the skill of the artist.
Russell’s hobby for woodturning started in his high school shop classes and has developed over the years. During his time at BYU, Russell was mentored by a professor who was also a professional woodturner.
“He transitioned what I was doing in high school to what I am doing now,” Russell said.
Russell had seen success during the Downtown Gallery Stroll.
“In my show I have done quite well,” he said. “Some do really well, some don’t.”
Pointing over at Farley, Russell commented she had already sold a few pieces during the evening.
The First Friday Gallery Strolls provide an opportunity for local residents to share an intimate evening with local art and entertainment.
“I really enjoy that it is exposing people of the community to the art of the community,” said gallery patron Paul Rasmussen, a BYU student majoring in construction management with a minor in art history.
According to Rasmussen, the Gallery Stroll is beneficial to the artists as well as the viewers.
“You are just there to interact and enjoy each other’s company and enjoy the atmosphere,” he said.
The next Gallery Stroll will be Friday, June 1 in downtown Provo.