With the holiday season right around the corner, you’re likely searching high and low for the perfect gifts for friends and family. It is not an easy task, especially when hours of online shopping lead you only to discover the gift you’ve found is on backorder.
Fortunately, there is a better alternative: shopping locally with the Gallery Walk of Bloomington. Within each of their nine galleries, you will find a variety of artful and unique gifts including paintings, photography, pottery, sculptures, jewelry and more from a collection of emerging and established artists. Some galleries also offer classes, workshops, and special events for the community. Every purchase directly supports hard-working gallery owners and talented artists, making everyone’s holiday a little brighter.
Gallery Walk was founded in 2003 by five women, spearheaded by Mary Hambly of the Bloomington Academic Advising Council. The concept was to strengthen the art scene in Bloomington by having various galleries come together with a mutual purpose of promoting local, national, and international artists.
“I saw joining [Gallery Walk] as a step up to participate in the greater gallery community in Bloomington,” said auxiliary member Erin Tobey, general manager and co-owner of Rainbow Bakery. “I appreciate that Gallery Walk provides a context for folks working in the visual arts to collaborate and connect, and to give the community an accessible point of entry into the visual arts scene outside of the university.”
All member galleries are a part of the Bloomington Entertainment and Arts District (BEAD), meaning they are within walking distance of each other. Every first Friday of the month, from 5-8 p.m., the galleries open their doors to the community to showcase their artwork and serve refreshments. They display new exhibits at each First Friday event, giving the public a unique experience every time they visit.
“The idea is to create a festival-like atmosphere that makes it fun for people to come see great art,” Martha Moore, chair of Gallery Walk and co-owner of Pictura Gallery said. “They’ll get some refreshments, they’ll see friends, and hopefully do some shopping as well.”
Currently, however, First Fridays are not being held in their usual fashion due to COVID-19. To compensate, galleries are inviting patrons to make appointments to individually explore the exhibits and shop, and some are offering online ordering options and delivery.
“I’d like to think that we’ve encouraged people to come and enjoy the arts, and get a little better understanding of local art”, remarked founding member, Ruth Conway.
To find up-to-date information regarding each gallery’s participation in First Fridays, as well as their regular store hours, you may visit gallerywalkbloomington.com.