First Thursday relaunches with new art, reduced schedule

March 28, 2014
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CENTRE/SOUTH—Centre/South Main Streets’ (CSMS) flagship event, the monthly neighborhood art walk First Thursday, has been retooled with a new April-to-October schedule in a more structured format.

Held on the First Thursday of each month, the evening event features art exhibits in local businesses along with live entertainment. In recent years, it has been a year-round event that puts the First Thursday brand on shows booked largely by individual businesses. Sandwich board signs with balloons marked the participating businesses.

But now, CSMS Executive Director Andrew Zarro will play “matchmaker” between artists and businesses. CSMS will also produce a monthly guide to what businesses are hosting art.

“There will be a cohesive feel to the event with an emphasis on putting the walk into the First Thursday Art Walk, which was one of the biggest complaints from both businesses and artists,” Zarro told the Gazette.

The year-round schedule will also be condensed to April through October walks, with a holiday edition in December, partly because of poor attendance during the winter months, Zarro said.

“This allows for us to put that much more energy into delivering a fantastic program with higher attendance and less burn-out,” he said. “Plus, nobody wants to leave the house January through March.”

The monthly program will encourage visitors to patronize multiple businesses, Zarro said. He added that CSMS has also broadened its capacity to handle other types of art to boost First Thursdays’ inclusivity.

“We have been booking in advance so I am excited for the coming months based on the response from interested artists,” he said.

A monthly rotating “cash mob” will also be integrated into the program, a new social-media-driven way to drive cash-only business. Locations will be advertised in advance of each First Thursday Art Walk.

Businesses and artists can get more information by emailing FirstThursday@centresouth.org or by visiting CSMS’s website at centresouth.org.