by Kirby Lindsay
On Friday, December 3rd, Lenin will get lit. Produced by the Fremont Chamber of Commerce, the annual Lenin Lighting will take place between 5p & 6p, with attendees enjoying great live music (provided by the Rabbit Stew String Band), hot chocolate, a visit by Santa, and comments, commentary and possible carols by two Masters of Ceremony – the Chamber President Marko Tubic and yours truly, the always Fremocentric, Kirby Lindsay.
This celebration kicks-off the Fremont holiday shopping season, and builds fellowship among a truly diverse (and inherently irreverent) community. Ultimately, though, the celebration is timed to launch the Fremont First Friday Art Walk, which starts at 6p – immediately after the Lenin statue gets lit.
In years past, the Lighting has occasionally overshadowed the Art Walk, although organizer, Melanie Masson has reason to be optimistic that this year will be different. “I’ve been really encouraged by the way support has ramped up over the months,” she admitted, “I really thought the number of venues would slack off with the end of the warm weather.”
She’s marking an anniversary too. The night of the 2009 Lenin Lighting, explained Masson, “that’s when this fell into my hands,” as she met with LaRae Lobdell (now with Studio R) and learned about organizing First Fridays. “The Art Walk is a big undertaking,” admitted Masson, “It’s like the Olympic torch, you carry it a while, you do the best you can, and you pass it on. I think new life is breathed into it every time it is passed.”
Fortunately, Masson talks about carrying the Art Walk ‘torch’ for a while longer. She admitted that the monthly commitment has proven to be “a big sacrifice of time,” she said, “It’s a lot of juggling.” So, she’s looked at ways she can modify it in 2011.
When Lobdell ran Art Walk, she published a postcard annually, sometimes bi-annually, with a list of venues. When she took over, Masson created a monthly handout that she distributed, to every location, with up-to-the-minute information on the venues, and their artists. “I’m scaling back to a middle ground,” she explained. She wants to return to publishing postcards – that advertise the Art Walk all month long – but revise them more frequently and urge participants to check the website. “The most up-to-date information is on the website,” she explained.
First Five Reasons
Masson can quickly rattle off reasons to visit the Fremont Art Walk on December 3rd. Consider these her first five –
1. It’s Free! Visiting the venues costs nothing – and many offer complimentary food, music, and/or goodies – plus, art!
2. Knock out your gift shopping – most Fremont venues have interesting merchandise for sale, in addition to art.
3. The Art Walk currently has the highest number of venues (17 in November) than have participated all year...
4. …and many venues display more than one artist (like ActivSpace and Art F/X) to offers a chance to experience multiple artists and artisans during one visit.
5. “If you are going to go out for Happy Hour anyway,” Masson pitched, “make it a more enlightening experience by taking in culture with your adult beverages (and [Theo] chocolate.)”
Check out the Fremont First Friday Art Walk on December 3rd. Lenin Lighting has a lot to recommend it - live music, Santa and some serious silliness (plus, it’s free) but Art Walk venues do have something more going for them that will be of particular interest after standing outside in ‘Red Triangle’ to watch a star get illuminated on the head of a bronze statue of a dead dictator – the shops, restaurants, and studios are heated! I’ll meet you inside!
©2010 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.