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First Friday: A recommended plan of attack

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First Friday flourishes even when it’s freezing.

But I'll be braving the cold (for the sake of art); perhaps even on bicycle (for the sake of the earth). Even in the cold, bikes work best for navigating between First Friday galleries. Once you get downtown (if you live downtown already, kudos to you, you lucky duck), then it’s five minutes to there, ten minutes max to somewhere else.

While proximity is good, it's the price of First Friday that is great. Not only is it free to get into galleries, most offer free drinks and appetizers, and, if you're smart enough to pedal, you aren’t spending any cash on gas. Just don’t drink too much, because you don’t want to get one of those BUIs (they exist; I’m not kidding). Besides, if you read this blog all the way through, you will eventually come upon the phrase “complimentary limousine service.” (You'll also find a snazzy slideshow of art featured in the recommended exhibits. But only if you read to the end.)

Mab Graves, 'Abbie and the Goldfish'
  • Mab Graves, 'Abbie and the Goldfish'

My plan is to start the First Friday Fun at the Harrison Center, where my old pal Tim Harmon has gathered together over 60 artists for a group show he’s calling The Sign Show. It should be a rocking good time, since group shows tend to draw, well, groups, and besides, it’s a benefit for Horizon House, a multi-service day center to empower our homeless. Artists include: Mike Altman, Erin Drew, Jenny Elkins, Mark Alan Miller, Brooke Merry, Kyle Ragsdale, Kipp Normand and Daniel Axler; you’ll see paintings, photographs and sculpture — all associated with “signs.” From 6-9 p.m., there will be an artist reception and silent auction; what a great way to start off your First Friday activities — and the new year — by giving back to your community. (Harrison Center 1505 N. N. Delaware St.)

From there, it’s a nice walk, a wee bike ride or a goofball trip in your car to Phil Campbell’s new gallery at the Indy Indie Artist Colony, 14th and Penn, where The Fish Show, will be about all-things-fishing, including, presumably ice fishing. Artists include Joyce Garner, Mab Graves, Jim Walker, Kyle Morgan and Justin Cooper.

Right on down the block — 5 blocks to be exact — is the Arts Council Indianapolis’ fairly new space, Gallery 924. This is a warm, inviting space, with lots of friendly of people. This month’s exhibit features work by landscape photographer Brad Ford Bell.

Now it’s time to descend further into the downtown and you have a variety of options. Note that most galleries say 6-9 p.m., so if you want to hit them all, you have to keep moving, or clone yourself — but we know the consequences of that solution are usually problematic.

Coinciding with the one-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, the Athenaeum Artspace hosts Provocate-Haiti, a diverse show of local artists hoping to raise money to help the ongoing rebuilding efforts. Fashion by Catou’s Berny Martin, photos by Amy King, who documented the aftermath of the disaster. Event t-shirt designers, DJ Kyle and Artur Silva of Cultural Cannibals will be on hand to provide music.

If all that ain’t special enough, here’s one that’s special-different: ARTBOX (217 W. 10th) and the Skyline Club (American Square) will premiere twin exhibits of work by local artists Jason Zickler and Evan Morrow Rogers. The event begins at ARTBOX on 5:00 p.m. The Skyline's show will begin at 7:00 p.m. Abstract expressionist Zickler’s style has been compared to Jackson Pollock (in a good way). Rogers’ work combines aspects of pop art and European surrealism.

And check this out: The reception will feature complimentary limousine service between the venues from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Man, oh man, I might just lock up my bike and ride the limo for awhile, see how the other half lives! Guests can enjoy live entertainment and prizes and are invited to attend the IDADA after-party at the Skyline Club beginning at 9:00 p.m. This is gonna be one swanky First Friday!

If you planned well, there should still be time for you to get down to Fountain Square to the Wheeler Arts Community Center, which is always rippin’ good fun, and to the Murphy Building where something surreal is constantly afoot, including an interactive, multiple-performance event called Fluxus at Big Car Gallery.

There are still many other galleries to consider for this month’s First Friday. Download a map of all the galleries from IDADA and check the NUVO Calendar listings for more options.

See you out there! And don't forgot to share the road with art-loving bike-enthusiasts!





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