If you’re reading this, you’ve most likely heard of a little thing called First Fridays. These art walks (and in some cities, African-American business networking or conservative political events) happen in urban areas all over the United States on the first Friday of each month.
But here in Dayton, things are getting a little out of hand. First of all, you’ve got dozens of art studios, performance venues and event leaders offering so many awesome opportunities downtown, how’s a fan supposed to see it all? Second of all, pretty much everything’s free. Whatever happened to good old-fashioned capitalism?
I’m joking, of course. The Gem City’s art scene is as vibrant as any I’ve seen outside the big metropolitan meccas. And good old greedy capitalism can go take a dose of its own medicine in a third-world factory or a Dayton factory layoff line. Because you know what? We’ve got Handmade Holiday.
On the first Friday of December, for the past three to five years (yep, even the organizers can’t remember exactly how many now), Dayton’s best knitters, photographers, crafters, painters, and urban revolutionaries pack themselves into a brightly lit storefront and offer their wares to folks who care about keeping their shopping dollars local.
You can find hand-crocheted caps for babies, joke books for 8-year-olds, edgy phone pouches for the teens on your list, and enough wildly sweet local art (and cupcakes!!!) to satisfy your friends and grandparents from here to the end of Kwanzaa. And your cash? Sure, you’ll hand out more than you’d pay for one of those plastic things from a box store, stamped out by slave kids in other countries whose bosses got our old jobs. But your extra dollars will get at least one more cycle in the Miami Valley, and it makes a world of difference to the dedicated artists sharing their creative energies with us First Friday revelers.
Want to see the wares? Check out the Handmade Holiday market at the St. Clair Lofts, St. Clair Street at 4th Street (just north of the Neon and south of the Dayton Metro Library) from 5 to 10pm Friday, then 11am to 6pm Saturday.
And yes, fans, there’s talk of making this market a monthly event in 2012. Organizer(s) and venue(s) needed!
If you don’t recognize plenty of the works and their creators this weekend, keep on coming to First Fridays! It’s all about connecting us with our communities, after all.
(Click the poster to view it full-size — how many names do you recognize?)