First Friday ArtWalk
On the first Friday of each month, the Wenatchee downtown area does not quiet down at five pm, but instead, becomes alive with pedestrians making their way from one art gallery to another.
The Friday ArtWalk is nearly a decade-old tradition in town. It is the night when new works of art, be it sculptures, paintings or artisan items, are put on display at the participating galleries and businesses. The Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center and the Wenatchee Valley College also stay open until 8 pm on First Fridays.
There is no entrance fee to any of the venues on First Friday and to make the evening even better, most places serve free food and sell wine to the visitors.
The Regular Participants
Two Rivers Gallery
Located at 102 N Columbia, next to the Conference Center and the Railroad restaurant, the gallery is easily accessible with plenty of parking nearby also a good venue to either start or end the route.
Two Rivers displays the works of various artists, treating the visitors to watercolor, oil and acrylic paintings as well as clay, bronze and wood sculptures and jewelry. The maze-like space is a popular spot for artists and friends of the arts to gather and chat while browsing the new collections.
Ye Olde Bookshoppe
The Bookshoppe on 11 Palouse St. is not only a second-hand bookstore but sells jewelry, incense and other small items. Look for the store going downhill from Wenatchee Avenue towards Columbia Street.
They also organize open-mic evenings for poetry readings and welcome many kinds of art. A visit there may take a while as the small rooms full of books extend far into the heart of the building, demanding attention.
You never know what you might find in this interesting little store on 3 N. Wenatchee Avenue. Besides the art of the month on display, there is much to catch one’s interest. Maybe some crystals to energize yourself?
Lemolo Café & Deli
The Deli on 114 N. Wenatchee Avenue is known for its generous salads and delicious sandwiches. Many art lovers end up having their dinner at Lemolo while enjoying the paintings on the walls. The colorful chairs and the whimsical décor at the restaurant add to the creative atmosphere. They have a row of seats facing the street, creating the perfect spot for people-watching on the busy ArtWalk night.
Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce
The Chamber stays open late on ArtWalk evenings, offering the possibility for wine tasting and meeting friends and artists. The large glass windows open the view to the street, almost directly across from Lemolo Café, and inside, the rows of wines tempt one to have a taste or two.
While sipping a drink and enjoying the art, you may be treated to live music, as well. The friendly staff will be happy to answer questions regarding the wines or Wenatchee overall. You may leave the Chamber ready with a plan for the weekend.
Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center
Museum on 127 South Mission Street opens its doors for free on ArtWalk
evenings. You can expect to see or experience more than the permanent displays
at the Museum; maybe art by local students, a visiting exhibition or a night of
Wenatchee Valley College
The College is somewhat outside the downtown area, but well worth the visit. Check with Link Transit for free bus transportation, email@example.com.
Both the MAC Gallery (1300 Fifth Street) and the Robert Graves Gallery (Sexton Hall, Ninth Avenue entrance) are great venues for displaying art. The galleries are usually well-attended on ArtWalk evenings. And, as with all the other galleries, the artists are present and happy to chat with visitors.
The café on 17 N. Wenatchee Avenue has its brick walls available for new works of art every month. They keep the coffee and other refreshments flowing for those who come to enjoy the display. The well-lit space and ample wall-space are perfect for showing off paintings.
Designer Floors is an artistic business in itself, offering creative solutions for flooring. They are also regular facilitators of art displays of other kinds, be it paintings, sculptures or live music. Stop by to see the current works on display and maybe pick up some inspiration to add new touches to your home.
Collapse Contemporary Art Gallery
The Collapse gallery, situated on 115 S. Wenatchee Avenue, is one of the newer ones in town, but well attended every time. It is a true art gallery with light-colored walls and spotlights to best bring out the art on display. They often have live music on the premises during ArtWalk to make the occasion even more enjoyable.
Tumbleweed Shop & Studio
This small business on the slope of 105 Palouse St., uphill from Wenatchee Avenue, is surprisingly full of hand-made items, some purely art and others usable. You may find a beautiful piece of pottery or a leather wallet to purchase, as well as clothing and jewelry. Don’t let the small doorway fool you; there is plenty to see inside.
Wenatchee’s public transportation company, Link Transit, participates in First Fridays by offering free rides to some of the venues. Please contact Selina Danko for more information.
First Fridays are family-friendly and just friendly, period. Meet old friends and make new ones, talk to the artists and connect with Wenatchee. You will go home smiling.