Last night was the 10th anniversary of First Friday in Knoxville (learn more). I was familiar with this concept from Dayton and was looking forward to all the open galleries and special goings-on to draw people downtown. I went with friends Lisa and Tom to attend a gallery opening at The Emporium (directions) featuring another friend, artist, and Sharps Chapel resident, Pat Clapsaddle (the free exhibition goes on through October – details here). Our goal was to show our support, but as is usually the case, the experience we came away with was so much more. What a fun time!
Talk about a contrast from Sharps Chapel’s rural, quiet, simplicity — downtown Knoxville had so much going on that you couldn’t possible scratch the surface in a single evening. I suggest that you go early to get a good parking spot, grab an outside table for dinner, and people watch, as we did.
Before we even got to the gallery, we saw everything from street art (there was a man who was dressed like a bronze statue and stood for hours without moving), musicians, people setting up for an outdoor movie later in the evening in Market Square (featuring the Princess Bride), a colorful parade of like-minded folks supporting a coveted cause that certainly got everyone to take notice, people walking their dogs, folks of all ages and ethnicities — all having a good time watching and being watched.
It was even fun trying to figure out who the undercover cops were. Some were obvious, even in plain clothes, as their handcuffs were easily accessible (and visible), draped over their rear waistbands. Tom later noticed an odd couple in an unmarked car (he picked up on the special antenna) that included an overweight woman and an African-American with a Reggae hairstyle.
When we finally got to the reception, it was hopping. We quickly found Pat and her husband Bill. As other friends from Sharps Chapel filtered in throughout the evening, there also to show support, I got the opportunity to listen in on and learn more about Pat’s motivation and technique for her art. Her art is called Majolica pottery where she paints people, flora, and fauna images onto her pottery. She is always on the hunt for unique faces and you can be honored if she takes your photo to use for inspiration for a future piece.
So, if you are “itchin’ for some action”, be sure to mark your calendars for the First Friday of every month – all year round.