A smiling photo of Anne Crouch greeted visitors in the foyer of Barnes Jewelry, the new host for the First Friday Art Walk.
The recrudescence of the FFAW enjoyed a very positive public response, according to Bill Archinal, the COO/GM of Barnes, with 436 people coming through the doors during the first two hours.
Archinal went on to elaborate the process by which Barnes assumed responsibility for continuing this cherished cultural tradition. He said that first, Barnes had display space for artists; secondly, store management felt that some entity would quickly quickly offer artists a new outlet, and Barnes needed to be first in line.
He then related that artist Mary Solomon was contacted and asked whether any of her former colleagues at Sunset Center would be interested in a new place to showcase their creativity. Solomon responded within a few days with a list of “Heck Yea’s!”
Altogether some twenty-three artists have agreed to rent space and all were present for the Alpha Art Walk, some of whose works are noted below.
The large flowers of Mary Solomon instantly call to mind Georgia O’Keeffe, but against a black background they have a Neo-Baroque cast.
Jim Kiper draws much of his inspiration from the nine years he spent at his grandfather’s Cochise Ranch in New Mexico. His sculpture, Trophies of War, is a striking portrayal of a Comanche warrior with an attitude. The accoutrements of his victim, a cavalryman, are in hand, including the Soldier Blue’s scalp.
Bobbie Mason repurposes heavy stainless steel piping as incredible wind chimes, each producing a deep ongoing resonance, like a Tibetan chant. Several of these in the backyard would provide a pleasing alternative to the Grackles.
The ambience of this art walk was refined, yet relaxed, tres cultive et classieux, in a gemstone context with wine bar. The staff of Barnes seemed genuinely happy to see the hundreds walk through the door, and stood ready to help if someone wanted a closer look at their art under the glass.
This site is a good fit to perpetuate the vision of Anne Crouch. Hopefully the event will, after such a splendid start, continue to grow, attracting numbers consistent with Sunset Center.
That location’s probable demolition, with the ensuing termination of First Friday, has caused much grief and regret in this community.
But, thanks to Barnes Jewelry, that hallowed Amarillo tradition has enjoyed a new lease on life, helping to “Keep Amarillo Artsy! Keep Austin Weird! Keep Lubbock in the Rear View Mirror!!!”