Originally posted by mrsblueskies:
I have been acquainted with the concept of First Friday (or whatever day of the month a city chooses)for a long time and have visited them in other areas when traveling. First Friday in Florence does not come close to qualifying in even the spirit of the event. These are always about art and artists, galleries, music, but always with the ART and ARTIST front and center. They are not sidewalk sales where you might find office supplies, comic books or discount dresses. That is called a flea market.
Florence started out trying to center the event around artists. What happened? It's like all of the downtown shops decided that they wanted to try and make a buck as well. I would be very embarrassed to think that a tourist visiting our area would have walked down Court St last night with the idea that they were going to a "First Friday". What a disappointment.
As one of the artists I beg to differ with your comment. The requirements for participation for First Fridays is that all items be crafted items, not purchased, mass produced items. I've never seen office supplies or comic books or discount dresses. And the artist or maker of the items must be on hand. Now, your opinion of what constitutes art may get in the way of your view of the event. Art just isn't paint on canvas. I'll grant you, I've seen things there that I questioned myself, but these items WERE handmade in this area and the maker was behind the table. I'd also give the new committee in charge of the event a few months to get things going. I've been involved since 2006 and had just about decided to not paticipate anymore due to previous committees lack of direction, communication with the participants or adherence to the guidelines they themselves put into place. Give us another try in a month or two and and if you still find it as distasteful or not artistic enough for you, then complain to the committee. Oh, and as for the tourists, an out of state visitor just about gushed to me this past month about how impressed they were with the event.