Last Friday night I stepped out of my car and onto Brady Street with a hearty breath of fresh fall air and a faint, fluttery sense of anticipation in my stomach.
I had heard that this week’s art crawl was supposed to be extra special. It was, after all, the 100th First Friday event held by the Brady District.
Alas, an hour and a half later, I left the event vaguely disappointed. While this First Friday featured all the usual attractions and exhibits, it failed to provide any of the rumored extraordinary 100th art crawl celebration.
To be fair, I wasn’t able to make it to the art crawl until 7:30 pm, a full hour and a half after kickoff, so it’s entirely possible that I may have missed something important.
Despite the lack of special attractions, however, the art crawl delivered a lovely evening in its own right (as usual).
One of my favorite things about the First Friday art crawl is that many of the galleries in the Brady District open their doors for three hours of free art. This Friday was no exception.
All the usual suspects were open for business. The Hardesty Arts Center had an excellent and varied display of art by members of the Tulsa Artists’ Coalition, including a giant pop art painting of Darth Vader, a small cluster of mosaic landscapes and a sculpture made of golf tees.
The Philbrook Downtown featured an ongoing photography exhibit called “Local Weather.”
108 Contemporary, a gallery which often strays from the beaten path, was showing an exhibit that consisted mostly of winding amoeba-like structures made out of scraps of plastic.
Of course, there was also the usual roundup of booths around Guthrie Green selling local art and handmade items.
It’s worth noting one out-of-the-ordinary aspect of this art crawl: parked in the street outside the Green was a small Oscar Meyer Weinermobile and, for reasons which escape me, a small SUV with a bunch of colored lights shining on it.
The most exciting part of this week’s art crawl was the music. While there are usually a few street musicians and occasionally a performance on Guthrie Green’s main stage, performers went all out for this month’s art crawl.
The Hardesty Arts Center featured an up close and personal guitar and vocal performance by Rebecca Ungerman and Josh Westbrook which was smooth, jazzy and spirited. It established a perfect ambiance for the event.
Throughout the entire event there was music on Guthrie Green. This was clearly the focal point of the art crawl—the Green was packed with young adults, couples and families taking advantage of the many food trucks and enjoying the music.
Despite some research after the art crawl, I was unable to identify the names of the artists who performed on the Guthrie Green stage, but it seemed to be a number of bands throughout the night, ending with a jazz band that featured three female scat vocalists and some extremely funky basslines.
I won’t deny that the 100th First Friday was lovely, but no more so than any of the other 99 First Fridays. Though the lack of extraordinary celebration was a little disappointing, I still enjoyed myself greatly—there’s something about the atmosphere of the Brady District, especially when it’s lit by the Tulsa sunset and buzzing with art-loving people, that makes you feel hip and excited and anxious to discover something new.
I ended my night on the steps of Guthrie Green with a few fancy chocolates from Glacier (they’re amazing, seriously. The closest a chocolate can get to being an actual work of art), a brisk autumn breeze on my cheeks and some very pleasant music in my ears. Not a bad way to spend an evening.
If you’ve never been to a First Friday art crawl, I highly recommend that you do so. While the quality and quantity of the displays can vary from month to month, the atmosphere is always hip and upbeat and the Brady District is a lovely area to stroll through while enjoying some local art.
First Fridays are held on the first Friday of each month (shocker) from six to nine pm in the Brady Arts District. Many of the booths and attractions are held on or near Guthrie Green, so for those unfamiliar with the district, I recommend starting there.