As a student, Fridays can mean a lot of things to different students. Some enjoy a night out on the town; others prefer a quiet night catching up in the library. But if you are looking for an artful adventure, seek no further than the Old City and other areas of downtown Knoxville.
Once a month on the first Friday of the calender, businesses and galleries downtown host local artists to highlight and provide a cultural and artistic escape from the norm. Starting around four o'clock, galleries highlight local artists.
These galleries often utilize the University of Tennessee's art program to invite student artists to show their work. These artists are able to sell work and show their best and brightest to interested eyes. First Friday keeps Knoxville alive combining culture and fun.
"I love First Friday; I think it is a really great way to expose the Knoxville community and student population to art," said Marigrace Angelo, a senior in studio art and Spanish. "A lot of times students don't really know where to go to find and view art besides the Ewing Gallery and Knoxville Museum of Art."
Angelo continued, "With First Friday, it's so much easier because you see other people going into galleries on Gay Street and usually you can just go taste test the different galleries and their vibes."
Studios alongside Gay Street and all through downtown such as 501 Arthur, 8 Shooters Studio, Art Gallery of Knoxville, the Balcony Gallery, Fluorescent Gallery and the UT Downtown Gallery. All listings can be found online at knoxvillefirstfriday.com.
"I like the Ten Ten Gallery because it's only students so you can see what your peers are working on," said Angelo. "Also, the UT Downtown Gallery is really cool because you get to see the works of your professors or the works of other professors in other disciplines that you wouldn't normally interact with."
Also during these festivities, local venues also host bands. Downtown Knoxville's excitement picks up for a few hours. The galleries are normally open to around 10 p.m., but the excitement does not stop there. Be sure to peruse the downtown area or local bars to use your Friday to its fullest extent.
Emily Morin, a first year graduate student in biomedical engineering, encourages non-art students to go check out First Friday and its festivities.
"Go with a group of your friends and get to know some people. Don't feel intimidated by being downtown," said Morin. "It's a really good opportunity to explore more than just campus."
Whether you go to get off campus or just to experience a change in mindset, go and be inspired by local artists.
"It's always fun to see the stuff that the local artists come up with," said Morin. And as an artist myself, it helps with my inspiration."