“It’s great for business,” says Claire Campbell, owner of the Outback Trading Company in Felton, speaking about the First Friday Felton Art Walk. The free event joins shops, which provide the venues, with local artists who have a place to share their creative projects with the community.
Campbell has been opening her doors to artists for several months and venues now include 10 other stores. “You’ll get new people coming in the door not just to look at the artist’s work but they’ll notice your store and buy something. It’s great for the community because they’re excited to see great art work and not have to drive all the way to Santa Cruz.”
Each store creates their own venue calendar and provides snacks and wine at their receptions from 6:00 to 9:00. Artists who are interested in participating can place photos of their work on http://facebook.com/firstfridayfelton or visit the shops in person.
Garimo, who goes by one name, started the event last December when he invited many potters to his newly relocated store, Garimo’s Real Soap Studio and Galley, one evening. By February he was knocking on shop doors up and down Highway 9 in Felton inviting them to join First Friday Felton. Now merchants report that over 200 people have been attending the art walk.
“We are proud to be aligned with Santa Cruz First Friday,” the soap maker says, “and have a regional Felton events listing on their website and listing in the Good Times ads. Our event has been embraced by the whole valley and we have communication between shops that didn’t exist before. Even local restaurants, like Chopstix, have seen a marked increase in business on art walk nights.”
Katie Fitzgerald has been busy this week installing her plaster relief paintings for Friday night at Garimo’s gallery. “I will be showing a series of American Indian petroglyphs, and going deep into the Western myths, I’ve created a canvas of the Roadrunner and Wiley Coyote I call ‘Beep. Beep.’ I love crusty cultures.”
Her paintings, which include Roman faux mosaics, have a “range for anyone’s pocket book,” she says.
“The town is alive, thriving, and it was good to see that so many people were so enthusiastic about the art show,” Felton resident Elaine Golling says. “There were wonderful things to see and we discovered shops we didn’t even know were there. I didn’t know about the soap shop. The art work was beautiful and the crystal shop was giving out free little crystals to everyone.”