It really always surprises me just how many people show up to the colder First Fridays. At least, it seems like there are always big crowds when it’s freezing. On the other hand, we might all just be hanging out in the same areas to try to stay warm.
There was only one place to hang out to stay warm this (pseudo-)First Friday. The theme might’ve been “Fire and Ice,” but most of us were content to hang around the fire. There were a couple that dared to dance with it, though.
The Jackson majorettes spun flaming batons for a quick show before running back to coats for warmth. Definitely pretty cool, though I wish my camera had behaved a little better to capture a few of these shots.
Some Canton South students also had the chance to show off some art that wasn’t as volatile.
I’m a big fan of that swan in the center; I also liked a dolphin over by 2nd April Gallery (that I mistook from across the street to be a bear; sorry!).
Beyond the art in that gallery, Anderson Creative was doing a really neat show called Blind Date, in which writers and artists paired words and images for an overall effect. I really want to take the time to read some of the work if I get the chance before it comes down.
My favorite work of the night was an ice chimney that brought the elements together in a strange blaze. I’m still not exactly sure how it works, but it was amazing.
Even though it took me 20 minutes to find a parking space and cold rain was drizzling over everything, Light Up Downtown, put on by the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce, managed to brighten an otherwise dreary December night for me.
I showed up a little bit late for the stage show about Christopher Pop-In-Kins (for which I am, admittedly, a little old), but was marching through the street right when the lights burst on and fireworks started fighting the rain. Instant smile.
Lots of local school groups got a chance to show off, too. There were choirs from at least three schools, though I only really saw the Jacks-N-Jills of Jackson High School. With the stage show, there were dance teams and even faux Rockettes.
Honestly, my favorite part about the night was the same thing that I end up liking about First Fridays during the winter: no matter how cold it really is, there are enough people out doing things that there’s sort of a heat in the crowd. There are some times when I’m down there for events like this where I’m fooled into thinking that Canton is a much larger city than it really is.
The holiday lights will be up for a while, so take some time to go check them out before Christmas comes around.
I refuse to believe that November is here, especially in that the days are starting to get shorter and colder. Despite a little bit of a chilly night, plenty of people showed up to First Friday November: Harvest Moon.
I was out there with a coat and scarf, and I was still a little cold. I sort of wanted to get a warm snack, so I stopped at Sheri’s Sweets. I ended up choosing a pumpkin spice cake, but it was tasty enough that I didn’t really worry about heat. While I was there, I got to listen in on the sounds of several performers in the Canton Idol contest, which I had forgotten about entirely. To the little girl (I didn’t catch your name) who was singing “Soak up the Sun,” best of luck; you sounded really good!
The galleries were pretty packed, and I saw a few new pieces that I liked over at ACME Artists. I can’t believe I’ve gone so long with First Friday without mentioning this gallery here, since they consistently have visually interesting pieces up. I was really getting into a couple of the new Mona Lisa mashups they had on display.
Since I had gotten to the party a little late, I finished off by heading down to Muggswiggz. Actually, I went and got my car, and then drove down to Muggswiggz, because I did not want to walk all that way. I know, I know, I’m a wimp when it comes to cold!
I didn’t actually make it out to First Friday this month, but I hear it was a good time. I’d be a little iffy on the family-friendlyness of the “Oktoberfest” chapter of the monthly event, but there was apparently plenty of focus on the food and fun parts of the harvest season.
The Kresege lot was the scene for people focused on pumpkins, where there was painting and a seed-spitting contest, put on by the Canton Jaycees.
I’ve noticed a growing trend of musicians on just about every street during the events this year - I can’t believe this many musicians got out to different venues for shows this month. The site lists 25 performers and groups, all spread out over downtown Canton. For my own taste, I’m a bigger fan of the visual art, but I’m glad that so many people are getting something out of First Friday that it’s growing like that. I hope the November harvest moon brings out even more!
Geez, is it September already? And already the end of it, I guess. I have no idea how it got so late in the year so quickly, but I think I’ll be okay with it (if for no other reason than all the great comfort food that comes with colder weather).
First Friday this month was all about “the color of music.” There have been academic battles back and forth in the art world about tying music and visual art, but the evening focused more on sounds parading through the streets. Musicians covered almost every street in the festival with lots of different musical tastes. I would have the names of some of the musicians, but there were actually crowds around almost all of them.
The closest I got to really being involved with the music was up on 4th Street, where the drum circle that I had taken some photos of a couple months ago was keeping a heavy beat. The circle leader got the crowds around involved even if we didn’t have instruments by clapping our hands and shouting along. I’m not great with rhythm, but playing along with a group was a ton of fun.
I would be remiss to forget to mention the Joseph Saxton Gallery of Photography, which I visited again while I was out at First Friday. I stopped by the first night of the grand opening, a few months ago, but their site wasn’t up and running at the time.
This time, I managed to bump into an old colleague, who is now the assistant manager of the gallery - it also turns out that I went to high school with the general manager! They’ve both obviously been working hard on the place; the gallery is a wonderful collection of both local artists and prints of famous work. I think the thing that throws me most is that it looks so much more like something you’d find in a big city. I know this place is sort of a labor of love, but maybe Canton is getting to that point artistically? Either way, check this place out (and talk to some people that I used to work/go to school with)!
I, for one, was pretty glad that the Hound Dog Days of Summer wasn’t as accurate for the weather at First Friday this month. In fact, it was a pretty mild evening, and the weather made it perfect to get out and enjoy the galleries. The size of the event has only grown over the summer - I saw at least two live bands playing and I’m sure there were a couple more around. There were some residual hula hoops and chalk drawings, but it seemed like a lot of people found their own ways to break down.
I was expecting to see a lot more dogs around, given the theme, but I was only greeted by a couple small pups. Those dogs seemed to get a lot of love from kids and others alike. I barely got a clean photo of any of them, but this little guy was giving out puppy eyes for free in front of Anderson Creative Studio.
Arts in Stark spun the theme a bit so that the goal of the evening was to capture as many shots of Elvis as possible. I only saw one or two images floating around (though there were a few guys out that I could’ve sworn were impersonators), but I couldn’t pass up a shot of some nice chalk art on the corner.
After spending some time out in the galleries, I finished up the night out at Muggswigz with some friends. Pretty good for a cool summer evening.
First Friday July had a lot to live up to for Independence Day weekend. There were enough people crowding the streets when I got there to have our own parade, though most were wandering around and staring down.
This month’s theme was Chalk the Walk, with more than a dozen works of chalk art up and down 4th Street by local artists. Moreover, there was space designated for kids (and big kids) to do some doodling of their own with huge pieces of chalk. It was hard to feel uninspired when huge dragons and mermaids traveled the ground under your feet. I wasn’t exactly artistic, but I couldn’t help scrawling this blog’s address on the road. So, if you’re visiting because you saw my doodle, HI! (and do you always visit Web addresses that you find on the street?)
This big guy by Jeffrey Keirn was my favorite, even if I couldn’t get a good shot of him. The flashing lights from the Ryan Humbert concert being held about 20 feet from here messed with my camera.
There was plenty to do outside the concert, as well. I think the outdoor food stands have become a staple during the summer months, and I saw something else that I never believed I’d come across: a cornhole set featuring the logo and colors of Iris. I sort of wish I had taken a picture of that, now.
So I was pretty impressed a few weeks ago when I went to Zing in the City and could not physically move from my spot because of the huge crowd. I thought that downtown Canton couldn’t draw in any more people than that.
I was wrong.
June’s First Friday was a sea of people almost everywhere I looked. I was running a little late, but it seemed that families were taking advantage of the summer evening to have some fun playing with jump ropes and hula hoops. I would’ve joined in, but as any of my friends will tell you, I have no rhythm.
I wandered over to the grand opening of the Joseph Saxton Gallery of Photography (why do these places not have actual sites?) and was pretty astonished at the huge range of famous shots paired with snaps from local photographers. The gallery itself is a large, clean white and tan space with the air of a museum. It brings a different kind of class to the already-stylish arts district. I hope to see that place do some growing.
I also stopped by Anderson Creative Gallery and Studio to see some very cool work from the Canton Montessori School Student SmArts show. Thanks to an Arts in Stark grant, these kids got to put together some very impressive pieces. I really enjoyed the constellations and the pipe cleaner creations.
Great work, guys.
Did I also mention that I stopped at Sheri’s Sweets again? Well, I did. Sugar cookies have had something like an unholy grasp on me lately.
A few days ago, a friend passed this along to me, so I thought I’d share. The Canton Stark County Convention & Visitors’ Bureau is determining the winners of the 2009 Best of Stark County Awards. Now, this isn’t directly arts-related, but it might make a difference to some of the cultural events coming in the next year. Listing your favorites for each category doesn’t just bring a little bit of recognition to local places - it also gets you a shot at a $200 gas card, which might help shuttle you to winning venues.
I’ve already made my choices, so I am not going to try to sway your votes. I am totally unbiased, I swear.