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First Fridays in the Exchange

August 3, 2013

First Fridays (FF, not to be confused with #FF or “Follow Friday“) is a monthly event (on the first Friday of the month) in the Exchange district in which many organizations and galleries open their doors to the public.

Often, there is way cool stuff happening. And often, I’m too busy to attend any events. Yesterday, though, I was lucky enough to have some time to explore.

Ace Art Inc Saves Nine

aceartinc’s exhibition opening

In the past, my travels have led me down to see Sue Gordon‘s encaustic works, numerous galleries like Gurevich Fine Art, and visit places like the PO-MO office and Skullspace. There are so many galleries in the Exchange that you can turn a corner and walk into one with ease.

This time, I decided to follow my friend Lindsey to her desired destination – RAW gallery, where they had an exhibition of architectural toys from the 70s. Unfortunately, we arrived too late (I’d spent the day in the US, which took longer than expected). We ventured next door to AceArt instead.

Saves Nine, a collection of craft work, was opening at aceartinc. The benefits of going to an opening are numerous. You usually get to meet and chat with the artists, and also, there is free food and drink.

There is a very wide variety of work you can encounter at a gallery, and First Fridays is working toward creating a better public understanding of art. There is a very cool-sounding initiative by Sarah Swan on the FF website.

Sarah recognized that the majority of people at art exhibitions were artists themselves, and is striving to bring non-artists into these seemingly niche spaces. Her lectures include topics such as “I don’t get it – why art is so hard to understand, and practical steps to help you approach any work of art.” and ““Weird” Art – Performance and Installation art clearly explained!”.

I love this idea, because I think that there are so many people who are scared to go to a gallery for fear that they won’t “get it”. Understanding and appreciating art in our contemporary world can be challenging, but it is also a rewarding skill to have. Not only is your mind opened to the possibilities of what can be an effective (thought-provoking or awe-inspiring, perhaps?) work of art, it allows you to properly explain to others exactly why you like or dislike something.

Just as connoisseurs of wine taste many glasses of it before they can really pin down the subtle flavors they enjoy, so can we all peruse gallery after gallery on the first Friday night of each month to discover just what exactly draws us to certain works of art.