Saturday, February 4, 2012

First Friday: An Evening of Knoxville Art

Last night I went to First Friday - something I'd been meaning to do for a while, and finally did, after about a year and a half in Knoxville. Knoxville's First Friday is a monthly event on the historic 100 block of Gay Street and Market Square. Art galleries and businesses all over downtown stay open past their usual hours as people stroll up and down the street on what is essentially a local art tour.

A view down Market Square
Last night was a beautiful night for it, since it wasn't too cold, and there were crowds of people everywhere enjoying the night and the art - as well as the food and wine provided by most of the art galleries.

I started at the Emporium Building, which had showings for several different artists, as well as housing studio spaces where most of the artists were taking advantage of the event to meet and talk to people interested in their art. The place was packed and most of the artists were busy, but I did get the chance to talk to Matt Salley from Marble City Glassworks. He and Chris Szaton had some really gorgeous glass pieces on display, and Matt was kind enough to let me get a picture.

They also had some bookmark/flyers out for a glassblowing workshop, which I noticed largely featured a QR code along with only minimal information:

I thought this was neat, and although only a smartphone user could read the info on the card, there were also business cards available with the Marble City Glassworks website listed on them.

Surprisingly, this was the only nod I saw to social media the whole night. I had expected to find a lot more artists referring people to Facebook, Twitter, or other places (such as art website DeviantArt or other portfolio/image sharing sites that allow the user to keep the rights), but while there were websites listed on some cards, most only had basic contact info. I was wondering if this was because artists were trying to drive all traffic through their personal websites, or if it was (in the case of Facebook) due to copyright concerns over posting images, or maybe another reason. I feel like I see artists, photographers, and others all the time creating Facebook pages to drive local interest, but if these artists had, they weren't making it obvious to the crowds showing up to look at their work in person.

(More photos after the break)

A wider shot of the glassworks table

There were these little bike artmobile things everywhere. I thought they were awesome.

This one was advertising for local restaurant Boyd's Jig & Reel instead of having art prints

One of several musicians on Market Square

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