First Friday kicks off on New Year’s Day

by Keith Barber

A bit of advice for New Year’s Eve revelers: If you’re a weary from watching non-stop college football bowl games and you’re not too terribly hung over, check out the First Friday arts celebrations in both Greensboro and Winston-Salem on Jan. 1.

A partnership between Downtown Greensboro Inc. and the United Arts Council of Greater Greensboro, First Friday in downtown Greensboro features an exploration of creativity, with a community bonfire, arts and crafts demonstrations and an avant-garde musical performance. First Friday runs from 6 to 9 p.m., and is free to the public.

Here’s a sampling of what you can expect at the monthly arts explosion:

First Friday patrons should stop in at Gate City Yarns, located at 231 S. Elm St., to check out its Explore Fiber Arts series, which features the work of knitters, crocheters, hand spinners, felters and weavers. Then, it’s on to Jules Antiques & Fine Art, located at 530 S. Elm St., where arts lovers can peruse the hand-knotted Persian rugs and a new collection of over 400 international, vintage jewelry pieces. Next stop: Just Be, located at 352 S. Elm St., which offers fair trade, arts and fine crafts. Then, it’s on to Lyndon Street Artworks, located at 205 Lyndon St., featuring artistic fire rings created by metal sculptor Erik Beerbower. Charlotte Ström will demonstrate painting techniques as art lovers soak in artwork created by the more than two dozen Lyndon Street studio artists, inclucing Erik Ström, Karen Bjork Dischell, Vance Garvin, Lida Witherspoon, Beerbower and Susan Ridenour.

The next stop on the First Friday tour brings us to Mack and Mack. Located at 320 S. Elm St., Mack and Mack, a fashion design studio, will feature F-Art Ensemble, who will perform traditional winter songs in unrecognizable fashion. Then, art lovers should check out Mary Contrary at 227 S. Elm St. To celebrate the New Year, Mary and her staff will teach patrons how to decorate flower pots. Art lovers are encouraged to raise a plant, but if raising plants is not their thing, then give the pots away or use them for The Yew Tree Gallery, located at 604 S. Elm St. will feature a demonstration by artist Anne Kiefaber. A graduate of the Shuler School of Fine Arts and in Paris at the Louvre Evening School and the Ecole Montparnasse, Kiefaber is a member of the National Portrait Society and the Pastel Society of North Carolina. Yew Tree will also feature an exhibit entitled Treasures that runs through March. To satisfy hungry arts patrons, many of the downtown restaurants will be open, including Grey’s Tavern, Liberty Oak, M’Coul’s Public House, Mellow Mushroom, Natty Greene’s and Thai Pan.

Winston-Salem’s First Friday celebration kicks off at 7 p.m. and runs through 10 p.m. on Jan. 1. The Downtown Arts District — the area surrounding the intersections of Trade, Liberty and 6 th streets — will be closed to traffic and galleries will be open extended hours with artist receptions and new exhibits. Sponsored by the Downtown Arts District Association of Winston-Salem, or DADA, First Friday represents an opportunity for Winston-Salem residents to meet local artists and explore the depth and richness of the local arts scene in the Twin City.

First Friday patrons should stop by Artworks Gallery, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary with an all-members exhibit. Artworks Gallery, located at 564 N. Trade St., will feature the works of the gallery’s 24 members reproduced into a set of note cards for sale. Started in 1984 by Tenley Shewmake, Artworks Gallery was the first co-operative gallery in Winston-Salem to be run for and by its artist members. Also, arts patrons should check out the Piedmont Craftsmen exhibit entitled Treasures from the Wilderness. The show features photographs by North Carolina photographer Tim Lewis and sculpture by area metalsmith Susannah Ravenswing.

First Friday is the perfect way to kick off 2010, and make good on those new year’s resolutions about developing your artistic side or supporting the work of local artists.

For more information on First Friday, visit: something other than plants. www.downtowngreensboro and