Local Artists Make a Colorful Splash for 'First Fridays'
By UPMA KAPOOR
Devotees to art: know that your fix is not limited to the DuPont and Ridderhoff Martin Galleries on campus, but sprawls down Caroline Street every “First Friday,” a downtown tradition local to Fredericksburg and free for the community.
As the name suggests, every “First Friday” gives special focus to the local artists and culture that, surprisingly, goes unnoticed.
From six p.m. to nine p.m., shops, galleries and restaurants, adopt an open door, open house policy toward the public, inviting everyone to participate in the evening and observe the array of art the city has to offer.
No two galleries are the same. LibertyTown Arts Workshop, the first gallery I went to that evening, offers a wide range of art forms, ranging from paintings and printmaking to pottery.
Studios are also a unique aspect of LibertyTown. There are two floors of booths for individual artists and their creations. The artists are commonly found in their booths, chatting with visitors and sharing work for sale.
Upon stepping in and observing one of these booths, I met Deborah Booth, a watercolor artist who is also experienced in other mediums.
When asked what made First Fridays unique from other art exhibitions, she said that it is “an opportunity to meet the people and connect.”
The opportunities and perks of First Fridays are limitless.
Virginia Wine Experience, a wine shop downtown, offers an exhibition catered to the local community, featuring three floors of various paintings of the Rappahannock River.
Virginia Wine Experience, though dimly lit, provides an interesting, intimate interaction with the art because of the taste-testing opportunities it offers gallery-dwellers.
Ponshop, a gallery familiar to the University of Mary Washington community, is well reputed for its ceramics, graphic design and contemporary art pieces.
While it may be one of the smallest galleries downtown, it remains distinguished with its incredible assortment of art compositions accommodating to the size of the shop.
Ponshop also offers internships for UMW students and a variety of classes catering to the Fredericksburg community.
This art scene is a less than 10-minute walk away from campus, so do take advantage of it and turn your Friday night into an enticingly educational and enjoyable experience that is also free.
There are over 12 establishments that participate in First Fridays. Frankly, you will need more than one Friday evening to get through them all.