MARQUETTE — All summer long and into the fall, the city of Marquette has hosted its First Thursdays Art Walk series, which invites the public to check out more than a dozen local art galleries and studios on the first Thursday of each month.
The first installment of the series took place in June, and now, the last First Thursdays of the season is set for this Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m.
Participating studios, galleries and artists include Niik Creative Co., Graci Gallery, Rustico, Madgoodies Studio, Zero Degrees, Gordon Gearhart, HOTplate Clayworks, Epps Apothecary, HOTplate Pottery, The Gallery Marquette, Ann Russ, MidSky Gallery, Wintergreen Hill Gallery and Superior Culture.
The evening features gallery open houses, artist demonstrations, pop-up shops, and much more for the public to enjoy.
Tiina Morin, manager of the city of Marquette Office of Arts and Culture, said that similar events take place across the country.
“First Thursdays are actually a national happening,” she said. “They happen all over the United States. They’re very common in large cities, and Marquette has a giant arts and culture scene, so it seems appropriate that we have our own First Thursdays as well.
“First Thursdays is a free pass to check out all of the galleries in Marquette and the private art studios that maybe aren’t on the main drag and are a little bit more hidden. Art is everywhere in Marquette, and First Thursdays brings a lot more attention to that.”
Morin said being able to connect with each artist is one of the best parts of monthly event.
“The neat thing about First Thursdays is that you get to meet the artists who are showing work. You get to meet the artists and develop a relationship. If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about a particular artist’s work, this is an opportunity to meet them, learn more about them, and maybe you want to collect their work or maybe you want to have something special commissioned. So, it’s building relationships with artists.
“And every First Thursdays is new. All of the galleries and private studios often have special guest artists, which is really, really cool. MidSky Gallery on Washington Street above Wattsson and Wattsson (Jewelers), she has a special guest artist, Julie Benda, who is a printmaker and a wood carver and is going to be doing a demo there. So, that’s a really unique opportunity, are these kind of pop-up artists and special guests. Wintergreen Hill Gallery, which is a new gallery on Third Street, will also have a special guest, and that is Marcus Songer who is an abstract painter, and they’re offering a sale for 15 to 20 percent off of his work. Joe Graci, whose art studio will be open to the community, has woodworking students from NMU’s (Northern Michigan University) Art and Design program that will be there, so that’s really unique. You’ll see several young artists who probably have never shown their work before, so that’s a good opportunity as well.
“So pop-up shows, sales, but also, workshops and demonstrations. Ann Russ will be having demonstrations, there will be painting demos at The Gallery on Washington (Street), and also, there’s activities. Zero Degrees will be having a Zentangle workshop inspired by animals of the north and inspired by the mural across (Third) Street with all of the different animals in it. At the mural, we’ll have a scavenger hunt for adults and kids to find different animals and images in the mural. Also, Madgoodies will be having the community fiber art project that anyone can participate in. So, there will be some of those great hands-on activities.”
Morin said the event is one for people of all ages to enjoy.
“It’s for all ages,” she said. “Everything at First Thursdays is something that would be appropriate to bring your child or teenager to. It’s an opportunity for them to get involved in the arts and meet the artists as well. And it’s interesting for them. There’s something different to look at every stop, so we definitely encourage all ages to come. It’s free, you get to do things, you get to meet people and learn much more about art in Marquette.”
While this First Thursdays is the final one that is currently scheduled, Morin is not ruling out more events for the winter.
“It’s kind of a special night, because if we find out that there’s a demand for this, more than just the summer months, then it’s something we might consider continuing,” she said.
“I’ll be really curious to find out how it’s received Thursday and if we have interest for this to continue through the winter or not. So, it is something that we’ll continue to do, but we’re kind of looking to find the interest of going on into the colder months. I’m excited for that and attendance has been great this year.”
For more information about the final First Thursdays of the season and a map/list of participating galleries, studios and artists, visit www.mqtcompass.com/event/first-thursdays-art-walk/
Or find them on Facebook at facebook.com/mqtfirstthursdays/.
The city of Marquette Office of Arts and Culture is another contact at 906-228-0472 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ryan Spitza can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248. His email address is email@example.com.
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