Indianapolis' First Friday has grown from a relatively small IDADA initiative to a full-blown, monthly, citywide must-do. It gives local businesses, galleries and restaurants an excuse to offer specials, welcome new visitors and flourish during First Fridays. However, while we love to see those (warning: massive alliteration) First Friday familiar faces, I feel as if the growth of First Friday has left some behind. It's not a one-destination, show up and be done type of event... which complicates things in its own right. It also encompasses the art and culture community in the broadest of senses -- meaning that not everything is for everyone -- but something certainly is. Trust us, this is more than men in berets professing about art. Here is how we would suggest you get started on your own First First Friday.
1. Plan your food stop. Food is important and can set the tone for the evening (this is somewhat my mantra in life - no joke). While there are nosh-able snacks and drinks at most events, being well-fueled for the evening (or at least having a food endgame in sight) is a must. The good news is that your options are wide open (and with the awesome Devour Downtown happening, it's a double bonus). Outside of these picks, Revolucion & Pure Eatery in Fountain Square are great picks, and they make it convenient to hit up the Murphy Building in FTNSQ which houses much of the central activity on the Fountain Square scene. (See #3.)
2. Stop By The Harrison Center. Unless you are an early bird, this is probably best done before dinner... But this really can be considered a 'quintessential First Friday stop'. Expect it to be relatively crowded and be sure to hit up all the galleries (it's somewhat of a never ending, winding experience). This month the title here is "Black Light" with works from Samuel Levi Jones, Brian Alley & Crystal Vicars-Pugh.
3. Plan On Fountain Square. The great thing about FTNSQ is that it's really expansive in regards to the arts. This month, MOKB Presents & Do317 have an awesome line up for their free First Friday Show - details are here. But be sure to plan some extra time to explore the nooks & crannies of the studios within the Murphy Building. Also, don't miss our friend Kipp Normand along with Jonathan Frey at Heartland - details here. The film will be shown about every fifteen minutes and both Normand & Frey will be in attendance. Another place to stop: the Upland Propaganda Room to hear DJ Jackola & see art from Jake Lee - details here.
4. Mass Ave Options. Dinner went over downtown? Want to stay closer? No worries: Mass Ave has you covered. To be honest, Mass Ave is what I used to think of when "First Friday" came to mind - die hard art galleries (sadly, some have left), along with the street's art-vibe is the perfect combo. Lots of the stops here can be on the quicker side, so hit them all up (and check your options here). Looking for a quick gift or want to spruce up your place? A few minute browsing Silver In The City is always a good time!
5. Expand Your Evening. Ditching work Friday afternoon? We won't tell... but we may see you at the Stutz Building. Their artist galleries are open from noon to 5 - details here. Running late? Head over to The Alexander and check out the art installations in the newest downtown Indianapolis hotel that reminds me of the much acclaimed 21C, and while you are there, grab a drink at Plat99.
We know we missed some great events, but hopefully the detail and plan we've put together will inspire someone to have their own First First Friday... which will, of course, lead to many more!