By, Rick Beitman
First Friday, the monthly art walk, took place on “Roosevelt Row” in Downtown Phoenix on October 3. Every First Friday provides locals a glimpse of the city’s Bohemian underbelly where vendors can sell their wares and artists can display their creations.
Situated on Roosevelt Street just east of the Central Corridor and a short walk from ASU Downtown, the art walk has a myriad of offerings in an eclectic neighborhood. There are several permanent galleries, such as the monOrchid, which has an ever-changing exhibition and also houses the Songbird Coffee & Tea House. On First Friday, empty lots host the temporary booths where artists can sell everything such as handmade trinkets and jewelry, paintings, sculptures, and digital photography.
When taking a stroll at the art walk and one fancies a nosh, the variety of food carts and trucks cannot be missed. There are also permanent businesses that include casual dining like Carly’s Bistro, coffee shops like Jobot Coffee, bars like the Lost Leaf, and even an independent theatre, the Film Bar. Many of these are housed in historic homes that have been converted for commercial use.
Typical patrons of First Friday keep up with the times and seasons, with many dressing in Halloween costumes this month, as an example. It is also a good spot to view a nonviolent, political protest or listen to the rant of street preachers.
Best of all, the art walk is free, making it an ideal venue for students. T-Birds will occasionally frequent the area. – However, the art walk is not the only gratis artistic locale in town: The Phoenix Art Museum, showcasing modern art, offers free admission every First Friday from 6:00 PM until 10:00 PM. An added bonus, the Phoenix Art Museum provides free entry every Wednesday, from 3:00 PM until 9:00 PM.
If you enjoy the neighborhood and want to view some of the historical homes on a more intimate level, there is a Historic Roosevelt Home Tour taking place on Sunday, November 9 from 11:00 AM until 4:00 PM. Not a free event, tickets are $12.00 per adult.
When you need your art fix or are simply craving some culture, First Friday may be the remedy. The next art walk will be on November 7 from 6:00 PM until 11:00 PM. – It provides a unique opportunity to take the pulse of the city.