28 February 2012

Out on the Town - First Fridays

Philly First Fridays, North of Arch St.
When living in a city, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the amount of great experiences. Often it is difficult to keep track of all the goings-on associated with city living. We here at The What Magazine pride ourselves on finding colorful ideas for making the most of your urban experience with Out on the Town, a feature highlighting the latest and greatest in your city.

On the first Friday of each month, Philadelphia galleries open their doors for free. Art enthusiasts and cheap people alike are able to enjoy artwork presented in a variety of media alongside free snacks and drinks. The First Friday tradition began in Old City, and today remains very popular in the neighborhood. However, most First Friday-goers never make it north of Arch Street, thus missing out on some of the most unique gallery experiences in the city.

One such place is The Painted Bride. Located at 230 Vine Street in Old City, this mosaic-covered building houses one of the coolest gallery spaces in Philadelphia. Not only does the Bride have a steady rotation of great art exhibitions, they also have special themed First Friday events that go beyond the typical wine and cheese affair. For example, this Friday (March 2nd) the Bride will play host to Salsa Caliente!, a BYOB cabaret and Dance Party. Show up at 8PM for some Salsa lessons, and stick around for dancing to a live Latin band at 9PM.

Snapped at the Clay Studio
Another fantastic gallery north of Arch is the Clay Studio at 139 N. 2nd Street. With new exhibitions rotating in each month, you are always going to see something new. This month at the Clay Studio is Small Favors VII. This exhibition focuses on small, high-quality ceramics that are perfect for smaller spaces and smaller budgets. When out for First Friday, I always make a point of visiting the Clay Studio, and recommend that you do the same.

In addition to the aforementioned more established galleries, there is the monthly gallery at the Museum of Elfreth's Alley. Their Artisans on the Alley series pays homage to the Alley's original residents: 18th century artisans and craftspeople. Each month, the Museum hosts a local artist in their exhibit space and has a variety of artists and craftspeople lining the cobblestoned alley. This month, the museum will be presenting a sneak preview of their upcoming exhibit Fashioning Philadelphia, a collaboration with Drexel University's Fashion program.

These three wonderful galleries are just a small sampling of what you are missing by not crossing Arch Street each First Friday. There is also the Center for Art in Wood, F.A.N. Gallery, Moderne Gallery, and even Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. Once you start enjoying the rest of what Old City has to offer, you are sure to have an amazing night out on the town.

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