Indiana Daily Student

First Friday brings arts outdoors

Zion Crossroads performs during Streetdance!, part of the the First Friday celebration, on June 5th along 7th Street in downtown Bloomington.
Zion Crossroads performs during Streetdance!, part of the the First Friday celebration, on June 5th along 7th Street in downtown Bloomington.

Downtown galleries and local bands combined efforts to kick off the summer during Bloomington’s First Friday event.

The most recent Downtown Gallery Walk and Street Dance, which took place Friday, are designed to support local artists and musicians.

The Gallery Walk, a combined art opening of 10 downtown galleries, occurs every other month as a part of First Friday.

“It’s a great insight into Bloomington – something you really gotta do,” said Bloomington resident Linda Dausend, who comes out to the galleries every month.
“You get to look at different kinds of art and you get to see a lot of people.”

Jaime Sweany, owner of participating gallery The Wandering Turtle, agreed.

“Bloomington has a really vibrant arts scene, and people need to come out and support it,” Sweany said. “I try to keep it local or regional, and also try for an emphasis on music.”

Bloomington-based multimedia artist Janice Williamson said events such as this add to the city’s cultural scene.

“It is really important to Bloomington,” Williamson said. “You get to meet artists, enjoy music and meet gallery owners.”

Along with the Gallery Walk this month was Street Dance, a block party featuring local bands which took place on Seventh Street between Walnut Street and College Avenue.

“This is an old Bloomington tradition that began in the ’60s,” event organizer Scott Kellogg said. “The idea is to have a free rock concert in the middle of the street that brings the community together.”

The success of Friday’s event is a good sign for upcoming summer arts events. There will be two more street dances in conjunction with July’s and August’s First Fridays, as well as Rock the Shops, an event designed to support Bloomington’s downtown that will feature musician Carrie Newcomer.

“The artists are really dependent on each other and need to support each other,” Sweany said.

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