Saturday, March 1, 2014

Where is the Love? Final Friday Numbers Drop

We went Downtown last night to check out February's Final Friday.   Word on the street is that Lawrence's Final Fridays has lost its luster as of late. In contrast to summer months, fewer artists are showing work and fewer people are attending events for the winter Final Fridays.

At the Love Garden for Taco 'Bout It

Perhaps it is just too cold for art. The Journal World reported in August that the Final Fridays atmosphere was "buzz worthy," Additionally, the article says that FF boosts exposure for local artists as well as increases "the kind of vibrancy that attracts visitors and new residents to town."  Although this Final Friday was promoted through a FF blog with map, and article in the Journal World, the streets were not crowded and many previous business hosts were not participating last night. 

We talked with Final Friday patron Jasper Teel during the Taco 'Bout it art show at the Love Garden. Among other things, he wants to see more solo shows. He lamented that artists feel compelled to price work that can be affordable for a FF event, but in doing so, produce work that is often made quickly as opposed to works created over a period of months. Additionally,  he estimates that the same "Downtown" people at FF events are pretty much the people who would be there on any Friday.  In other words, the winter Final Fridays are not drawing crowds of residents or out of town visitors as planners had hoped.

Another complaint among artists and hosts is that an event is a lot of work for one night. Ames Burdett, who has been showing art work at her business The Blue Dot Salon for the past seven years,  has chosen to call a quits for Final Fridays art shows.  She presented her last Final Friday last night.  Ames told us that while the past events have been successful and rewarding,  they've also been time consuming.

Taco Inspired Art at The Love Garden
Detail of Taco
by Adam Lott

Making Secret Order Cards at Wonder Fair with a press during February Final Friday

Read More
The Journal World reported in August that The Final Friday Event was growing and many businesses participating. 

Final Fridays is an event that people have come to expect, which fulfills a major goal, said Susan Tate, executive director of the Lawrence Arts Center, which established the event with the city and Downtown Lawrence Inc.
“We are all committed to it and committed to its growth,” Tate said.
Read more of the August Journal World Article Here:

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