Bite-sized Art Experiences

1stFridayArtstory by Adrienne Waterston

Looking to check out the art scene in State College without committing to anything in particular? First Friday State College is a great option!

The Downtown State College website says, “First Friday goers will experience after-hours access to galleries and shops, free bites and beverages, live music and entertainment, retail and restaurant specials, and more. And there’s free parking in the Pugh, Fraser and Beaver garages with validations from participating merchants.”

Margaux Wolszczan’s Fraser Street Gallery hosts monthly art shows highlighting local and nonlocal artists and strategically hosts the art show openings on First Friday. Says Margaux, “First Friday has not only helped to launch the Fraser St. Gallery, but has also brought other creative venues to the community’s attention. Art is becoming a ‘go-to’ First Friday trend and I am very grateful to be part of this new Downtown State College tradition.”

The State Theatre also hosts artists every month and coordinates its opening reception with First Friday. October show participant Marisa Eichman says, “The State Theatre is located in a central place to a lot of other First Friday events, so it’s easy to stop in and see the art then hit the other First Friday happenings. [The State Theatre] is also adding other things to the art in the gallery, like live music and upstairs poetry readings/events on First Friday. It was a great experience.”

Another creative First Friday participant is The Makery in Calder Way, a ten artist collective offering classes, workshops, parties and events. Amy Frank, owner and instructor, said that The Makery’s experience with First Friday has been amazing. Since they opened in September they have hosted three First Friday events, culminating this past month with their Holdiay Pop-Up Party. The response, Frank says, has been incredibly positive with many people coming out to discover what The Makery is about, all while enjoying music, food and drinks.

Some other local venues participating in First Friday State College are: Webster’s bookstore and café, featuring events with artists and writers; Appalachian Outdoors with everything from beer tastings to chair massages and equipment sales; Harper’s men’s clothing store, featuring local artists; and Discovery Space with science explorations for the family with half-off admission. Many other participating stores feature First Friday specials and discounts.

To round out the arts, local music and dance acts appear both on the street and inside participating locations, making for a very lively scene.
So head on over to State College on the first Friday of the month and be prepared to have a great time and enjoy some art in the bargain. Check the First Friday State College website for specific upcoming events and specials!