First Thursday knows no actual season. But with the expansion of the event to what is now being called “a cultural arts experience,” and with temperatures that will welcome the return of outdoor live music and other activities, it’s hard not to get a “season premiere” kind of feeling this month.
The city’s visitors bureau was recently authorized to manage First Thursday Fayetteville and has since launched a website and created a partnership with the square merchants to encourage longer hours during the event. Most importantly, though, the bureau has expanded what was once a mostly inside art happening to include an outdoor art walk with artists set up along East Avenue, similar to the Farmers’ Market vendors who are around the square during market season.
Here’s what we know:
On the street
For the first time in First Thursday Fayetteville history, East Ave. will be blocked off to traffic and there will be artists set up on the street from 5 – 8 p.m. We know that Heartwood Gallery will be represented as will Fernsong Art, l : e custom design, and others.
Fayetteville Underground, located in the downstairs section of East Square Plaza, turns one year old today and hosts four art openings in the Revolver, Hive, E-Street and Vault Galleries. All exhibitions generally run through the entire month. Birthday!
Between You and I – Paintings by Basil Seymour-Davies
Fayetteville Underground, Vault Gallery
Basil Seymour-Davies spent his impressionable adolescent years in Bangkok, Thailand. He grew up staring in awe at the enormous hand-painted billboards and movie posters that were are a part of a rich Thai tradition. When he decided to pursue painting in his late twenties, he inevitably reverted back to the images of the larger-than-life figures and story vignettes he saw in the city streets as a kid.
He currently lives and works in Fayetteville.
It Eels What it Eels – Paintings by Matthew Depper
Fayetteville Underground, Hive Gallery
Matthew Depper studied graphic illustration at the Academy of Art, University San Francisco. His latest body of work is a collection of stylized sea creatures painted on convex wood panels. The title of the series,”It eels what it eels,” reflects the typically clever and playful nature of Matthew’s art.
Paintings by Anthony TW Myers
Fayetteville Underground, Revolver Gallery
Anthony spent most of his childhood exploring abandoned structures, getting dirty in creeks, and pestering his fellow neighbor kids in Oklahoma. During his perilous escapades, he’d hoped to discover a new, unrecorded aquatic species, a real live ghost, or most importantly, a true friend that was at least half as crazy as he was. Whether or not these aspirations ever became a reality is hardly relevant.
His childhood ambitions stewed and fermented in his soul and his head throughout his life. They evolved and spun into all humanly possible directions getting expelled and contorted through drawings, mud sculptures with yarn hair, homemade forts, puppets, and finger paintings in the process. If the neighborhood kids didn’t fear Anthony’s capabilities, they might have envied them. But mostly, they ended up loving him because he brought something unique and priceless to the town and to the world.
Jewelry by Teresa Hall
Fayetteville Underground, E-Street Gallery
Teresa Hall is a mixed metal artist with a focus on rustic and organic forms, abstracted from nature. Her fascination began with an accidental walk around a junkyard about fifteen years ago where she discovered an array of metals with intriguing patinas that were a result of weather and age.
Teresa began experimenting with the manipulation of metals by creating large format wall hangings and jewelry. Teresa considers the art of jewelry design to be closely related to sculpture, as her pieces involve building and balance to achieve a comfortable and aesthetically pleasing piece that can be worn on a daily basis.
As one of the original First Thursday galleries to participate in the monthly event, ddp gallery, located next door to East Square Plaza at 7 E. Mountain, has recently restructured its operations from retail sales to art dealing and special events. Tonight’s special event is Found & Fauna, an exhibition by sculptor Chris Weaver. Anyone who’s been in ddp gallery in the past few months and marveled over Chris’ deer grill sculpture will surely enjoy seeing even more of his work.
Starting at around 6 p.m., there will be a couple of options for live music during First Thursday. On the square, is local band Guta, and just around the corner at Sound Warehouse, is The Great Scotts.
At 5:30 p.m. Mayor Lioneld Jordan will be unveiling a 1.3 ton elephant sculpture made from recycled tires will be on display at the Town Center plaza through May 18.
The elephant, Nomkhubulwane, was created in South Africa and her visit to Fayetteville was funded by Jim and Nancy Blair, Linda and Bob McBride, and Rosamund and David Banks. Walmart and BNSF Logistics helped transport her here.
To ease parking needs, the city usually allows free parking in the lot next to East Square Plaza, but as of publishing time, we haven’t gotten confirmation on this yet. There are, however, two large city lots that are free after 5 p.m. to the west of Block Avenue between Mountain and Meadow.