The increasingly popular First Friday ArtWalks that have become a recognized and fun community event in support of the arts is changing.
The Historic Woodland Downtown Business Association is taking over for YoloArts now that the California Arts Council will no longer be funding the artists to help bring together art and musicians to create their monthly event.
The Woodland Downtown Business Association, a public-private partnership with local board members who “support the business, cultural, entertainment and government center for the region by recruiting business, encouraging economic development, revitalizing and promoting downtown, supporting existing business and acting as a liaison between diverse interest groups and government”, will now be responsible for producing an artist’s event.
Wether or not they will present or limit opportunities for artists during the art driven event remains to be seen. The Woodland Art Walk had been supported and organized by artists and arts institutions with the California Arts Council forking out a stipend for exhibits and maintenance, but after 2 years, the CAC has decided to stop the funding which was helping to pay for the presentations.
“While we are disappointed not to receive on-going grant funding, the last two years of California Arts Council funding provided significant support to create a strong community collaboration and foundation for future First Friday events,” commented Danielle Whitmore, YoloArts, executive director.”
“We are proud of the past partnership with YoloArts and are confident that Woodland will continue to present quality First Friday events that our entire community will enjoy,” said Ken Hiatt, Community Development director for the city.
The idea of the First Friday Artwalks originated in the early part of 2012 by the owner of Blue Wing Gallery, Al Eby. YoloArts, however, took over coordination of the event within a few months.
Throughout the years, the number of artists as well as venues has changed. A number of restaurants have participated by hanging artwork on their walls, for example. There have also been downtown street performances by musicians and musical groups. Some vacant downtown businesses have even been used on certain occasions to host so-called “gorilla art” displays.
It’s expected that showcasing local artists and musicians will continue as Ron Caceres, president of RCI Development and the WDBA, stated he didn’t see a need to change at this point but didn’t mention artists in his statement either, rather stating, “First Friday events will remain a great way to support many established and new downtown businesses and highlight Woodland’s unique architecture and musical roots.” The main website for the WDBA doesn’t seem to showcase any local galleries however.
Meanwhile, YoloArts will continue to curate Gallery 625, host First Friday receptions and maintain an artist directory.