First Friday showed off some notable galleries, but was a mess to find convenient parking.
For the Tulsa Arts District, the beginning of every month means a return of the First Friday Art Crawl, replete with music, vendors, activities and, of course, art. Despite the threat of rain, I headed downtown to see what this month’s First Friday had to offer.
I’ve been to this event before and have enjoyed it, but the one thing that I always hate about First Friday is the lack of free parking. I’m a student; how am I supposed to drop 20 bucks to park at a free event? After circling the area for 10 minutes, I ended up parking pretty far away in a grass “lot” north of I-244, something I was not happy about, considering I had to walk back in the dark alone. Pepper spray can only help my anxiety so much.
So, this being an art crawl, I hit up the galleries on M. B. Brady St. The Henry Zarrow Center featured the works of Mariam Stephan in “In the Middle of Far Away.” I really enjoyed these paintings, marked by violent strokes and a minimalist color scheme. The black and white aesthetic was very pleasing. The collection also featured a few projected paintings alongside their real-life counterparts, the moving light seeking to merge the two images. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of them, but it was a nonetheless visually interesting experience.
Next door was the Philbrook’s downtown location. I was immediately struck by the atmosphere of the gallery. Normally, the museum is well lit, but for this collection, the rooms were dark and moody. All of the works seemed to be themed in memory, with projectors lighting up the walls and floors with videos. I particularly enjoyed “a small world…” A collaboration between two artists, this work had their home videos were projected side-by-side, showing the two growing up in separate African-American and Jewish-American families. The contrasts were intriguing, and the piece gave me a lot of nostalgia.
I had previously seen this particular art installment in 108 Contemporary, but “Diaphanous Embroidery” was just as lovely as I remembered it. Hundreds of delicate, embroidered pieces hung from the ceiling, creating an almost ethereal experience. Perfect for Instagram, but even more so for contemplating the transitory nature of existence.
After poking around the vendor stands and watching a few street performers juggle batons and pound on bongos, I made my way onto the Guthrie Green. They seemed to be pumping everyone up for the opening of The Gathering Place, projecting previews on the stage and handing out frisbees and construction hats to the kids.
Eventually, a hip-hop dance group called the Gather Round Crew came on stage and made their performance my favorite part of the night. I’ve always admired dancers, and this group was both talented and animated, not to mention super entertaining, especially when they brought a bunch of kids on stage. If I didn’t think young kids were into Fornite before watching a couple of them take the stage, I do now.
Having survived the trek back to my car, I can say that September’s First Friday was a pretty funky, contemplative time. I would definitely recommend checking it out with some friends next month! But maybe carpool.