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by Grace Liao, staff writer


“First Friday started about two-and-a-half years ago,” said Rich Richardson, assistant director at The ARTS at Marks Garage.

It was based on a similar community art program in Portland, OR., Richardson explained. He added that the number of people attending Honolulu’s First Friday event has gone from 500 in the early months to about 2,000.

“ The artists have been generous to sponsor the entire event with free food and beverages for the viewers,” Richardson said.

Andy Friedlander, also with The ARTS at Marks Garage, was identified recently by Midweek magazine as one of the people responsible for what is becoming known as Honolulu’s arts district. He took the reporter on a tour of the gallery as he explained how First Friday first came about, pointing to every intricate piece of art, a twinkle in his eyes expressing his enthusiasm as he explained aspects of their significance or aesthetics.

Along with art, many of the galleries provide live music, and there’s enough food on Nu‘uanu Avenue to keep everyone’s eyes and stomachs full. Not surprisingly, people often start dancing on the streets, giving downtown a lively Mardi Gras atmosphere very different from its staid, daytime, business-as-usual presence.

“ I hope First Friday will be able to make people who don’t love art become interested in it just as I have,” Friedlander said.

Friedlander believes that First Friday art walk tours have been in large part responsible for the growth of the downtown art community. First there were four galleries, he pointed out, then 19, and now 24 galleries have moved into the neighborhood.

“ The renaissance is not over yet,” Friedlander said. “In the next 15 to 18 months there will be so many more changes that people will be amazed.”

Don’t miss this October’s First Friday later this week. Every First Friday offers different demonstrations of art techniques, including glass blowing.

For more information, contact The ARTS at Marks Garage at 521-2903, www.artsatmarks.com.



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