by Kirby Lindsay
February 5, from 6 – 9 p.m., the Fremont First Friday Art Walk invites art enthusiasts to meander our sidewalks for the first time in 2010, with Melanie Masson, the newly installed organizer, leading the way.
She had, by January’s end, already signed up ten participating venues:
Fremont Jewelry Design (3510 Fremont Place N)
Homegrown (3416 Fremont Ave N)
Renaun Design (600 N 36th #329)
Fremont Abbey Arts Center (4272 Fremont Ave N)
Art F/X (420 N 35th)
Evo Times Infinity Gallery (122 NW 36th)
Studio R (315 N 36th – upstairs)
Frame Up Studios (3515 Fremont Ave N)
and POTS Gallery (619 N 35th #100 – in the alley behind PCC)
Masson recently took over the Walk from LaRae Lobdell. “She’s left me such a great framework to work with,” Masson allowed, but “it has a lot more potential.”
“This event can bring a lot of attention to the neighborhood,” Masson stressed, “and that helps everyone.” Everyone, except perhaps Masson. She doesn’t own a business in Fremont, or plan to demand participating venues display her photographs – or let her perform her poetry. “My focus isn’t to get exposure for my own work,” she admitted.
So, why do it? “I always use up my free time,” she explained, “but it isn’t for creating...if I could use it toward a common good…” Art Walk organization utilizes skills she has gained from her work experiences, and it helps her neighborhood (she lives “on the edge of Fremont,”) and allows her to support fine arts.
She’s glad to be able to support the variety of venues here. They can attract a diverse audience of varied interests. According to Masson, this variety remains one of Fremont First Friday’s many strengths. “The more you offer,” she explained, “the more people come. The more people, the more we can offer.”
Beyond welcoming a variety of art disciplines, she also wants to expand the traditional boundaries of the Fremont business district. “I want to give people a reason to explore more than just the center…” she declared. She has planned a new poster, with a design that “reflects the culture of the area.” She also plans, “to be printing up the maps every month,” for distribution through participating businesses.
In the Nuts-n-Bolts
“It’s not all going to happen right off the bat,” Masson cautioned about her plans, “right now I’m getting people signed up.” If you know, or have, an interested business, contact email@example.com
The participating ‘Premier Venues’ maintain the Walk’s momentum by being annual members. They pay $250 dollars a year to put their name on the posters, and every other bit of promotional material. Other businesses sign-up monthly, for $25, and get mention in that month’s press releases, maps, on the web site, Facebook, Twitter, and e-newsletter – alongside Premiers.
Eventually Masson plans for First Friday to return to being a big draw where “it gets people to Fremont,” she mused, and “they come for the art; they stay for dinner, a show, music…it serves Fremont beyond the arts.”
©2010 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.