I’ve never officially done the First Friday Gallery Walk, but I have visited most of the galleries at one time or another. Over the past few years, however, as the downtown arts scene has steadily expanded, I've fallen a little behind. So I decided to put together a personalized First Friday Mini-Tour.
My family and I made our first stop at Our Global Village Museum and Learning Center to check out their display of “Mystical, Mythical, and Magical Animals.” The gallery is off the beaten path, occupying a couple of rooms in a shared building at the corner of Mulberry and Mathews Streets. But there is a lot packed into those small rooms, and we had fun exploring the shelves and cases. The pieces come from three extensive private collections. Two of the collectors were at the gallery during our visit and took the time to share some of their stories.
This little museum/gallery has big aspirations. In 2009, the Global Village Museum was formed by the merger of the Mundovile Muesum and the entity formerly known as The Peace Corps Museum. This resulted in the donation of 4-6 million dollars worth of artifacts, many from retired Peace Corps Volunteers. The GVM folks plan to move into a larger facility, which will allow for expanded displays and greater educational opportunities. Check their website for hours and information about the founders’ vision. The current exhibition runs through November 30. It’s free, and it’s great for kids.
We then headed north, to the Center for Fine Art Photography and the public reception for their current exhibition, Black and White. Black and white photography is like my favorite kind of poetry: spare, clean, evocative, poignant. And deceptively difficult. (If you’ve ever tried it, you know what I mean.) Dried flowers, ice, sunlight on water, an empty staircase…without color, the subjects are reduced to their most basic elements of light, shadow, and texture. I plan to drop by and see this exhibition again before it closes September 25.
In the same building (at the corner of Willow and North College), we visited “Artists in Dreamland” at the Poudre River Arts Center’s main gallery. This exhibit showcases dream-themed art in the form of a “visual dream diary.” Each piece includes an explanation of the dream that inspired it, which was especially interesting to me in light of the dream I’d had the night before about being a passenger on an ill-fated airliner/cruise ship (in that strange way of dreams, it was apparently both at once). Some of the pieces are whimsical, some are dark, some are a little bit of everything, all of them are fascinating. This exhibit also closes September 25.
With the exception of First Fridays, the galleries are not open in the evenings, but they do have Saturday hours. As an additional enticement, the locally-owned f/stop cafe at the Center for Fine Art Photography serves up yummy things to eat and drink.