First Friday events bring the art scene to students

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Downtown Provo hosts a variety of art and entertainment events at various locations in one of Provo’s fastest growing areas on the first Friday of the month. Music, art, food and theater productions keep visitors busy with a free art gallery stroll every First Friday night from 6-9 p.m.

Jared Morgan, executive director of Downtown Provo Inc., a new organization that focuses on promotion and development for the downtown area, shared his vision to convert downtown Provo into a cultural experience through the arts for visitors at no charge.

“The idea is that college students can come downtown and everything, all the entertainment — art shows, music shows — is free,” Morgan said. “It’s been a lot of fun; we’ve been growing a lot. Right now, all the participating venues are art venues, and we’re going to try to have music in every venue.”

Since its start 10 years ago, First Friday has become a cultural activity for those visiting Downtown Provo, and its newest feature, the gallery art stroll, has just started to get some momentum.

Here are the locations for the museums included in First Fridays Art Stroll.

Char Coleman, owner of Coleman Studios in Downtown Provo, has been part of the downtown art scene since 2005 and has seen a lot of great things from the First Friday Gallery Stroll.

“Things have really been picking up the last few months,” Coleman said. “During October and November we had about 80-95 people coming in, but in the last few months the numbers have gone up. We’ve been getting over 200 people every First Friday now. It’s been great.”

Coleman, as a local artist, hopes that the First Friday Gallery Stroll brings greater exposure to local artists and Utah art.

“We have a lot of great artwork in Utah,” Coleman said. “A surprising amount of successful artists are coming out of Utah, but not as many are selling in Utah. This is a great way to show up-and-coming artists and expose locals to what’s out here in their community. I think a lot of people here don’t realize they can find and buy fine art right here in Provo.”

During First Fridays in Downtown Provo, visitors can walk in to one of 12 different locations that provide refreshments, guest artists and live music. Starting at the Covey Center for the Arts Gallery, visitors receive directions to the next galleries open for that night, which are scattered throughout the area.

If one wants to stick closer to campus and still enjoy the benefits of First Friday, the MOA is the place to go. The MOA encourages those who come to all “First Fridays” events to take part in the special activities the museum has going in concurrence with exhibitions shown.

Carolyn Haynie, public relations specialist for the MOA, explained what First Fridays at the MOA tries to bring to the general public.

“First Fridays at the MOA occur each month to showcase current MOA art exhibitions,” Haynie said. “The event is in conjunction with dance, music or another creative medium that makes the exhibition entertaining and hands-on for visitors.”

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