You’re invited

Party downtown at May’s Last Friday Art Walk

I love a party. People, food, drink, celebrations, music, something new to see, old friends to greet, new friends to make -- there’s just nothing better than a party.

Give me a party in May, after months of cold, boring winter and soggy, iffy March and April, and there is just nothing better than a party in May.

Unfortunately, I rarely have time to throw parties. Most of my friends don’t have time to throw them either. Before you feel sorry for my party-less state, let me tell you that every single month -- including soggy April and wonderful May -- Maryville throws a party for me.

So don’t despair that you or I must be in a party-less state. It’s time again for the Maryville Arts Coalition Last Friday Art Walk.

Art Walk happens every month, but there is always something special about the spring and pre-summer months. Folks are in such good moods. Everyone is so happy to be out of the house and walking around in clothes that are faux-fur lined and zipped against the wind. At April’s Art Walk last month, there was just such a feeling of release in the air, such a great feeling of “Man, it’s good to be out again.”

And I only got to three places on the map! There was so much hugging going on, so much catching up with folks I hadn’t seen in a while, plus a Find the Art in Arthritis Scavenger Hunt to promote, that I didn’t get very far down Broadway.

My mission for May is to visit as many of the Art Walk participants as I can squeeze into the 5 to 9 p.m. time frame.

I wonder if we are beginning to take for granted the talent we see every month at the MAC First Friday Art Walk. I’ve been to some of those gallery crawls and walks in nearby cities, and I’m telling you that the variety and the talent level of what these businesses and MAC are bringing in to downtown Maryville is top-notch. I could spend my whole paycheck and greatly expand my cultural knowledge just talking to the artists and soaking in their offerings each month.

May’s Art Walk is certainly no exception. Some of the featured artists are new names to me -- which isn’t hard as I’m not the most cultured person in town. Some, however, I am beginning to recognize from previous Art Walk experiences, and I am excited to see what they are offering this month.

Plus, there are two new businesses on the walk for May, in addition to the exhibits at the Clayton Center for the Arts, which was added a few months ago. Little Nifties, 300 E. Church Ave., is under Dandy Lions, where Lyda Plemons gallery used to be. I’m as anxious to see the store as I am featured artist Linda Sharp’s mixed media gourds.

Morgan Place Spa, 206 High Street, stretches Art Walk almost to Lamar Alexander Parkway and gives another place to stop on the way to-or-from the Clayton Center. Katie Kinney will have an exhibit there that she has titled “Soul Searching.”

Other features this month include Fine Arts Blount ArtSpace Gallery at 106 E. Broadway Ave., hosting Sallie Macy and Olga Radar who will feature an exhibit entitled “A Leg at Every Corner.” On the second floor, Maryville High School student work will be on display. I’ve seen some of the talented work by MHS students, so trust me when I tell you not to skip the second floor. It could be some of your favorite work this month.

In Ta Dye 4 Ink at 113 W. Harper Ave., the sounds of the band Cup O Jazz will entertain folks in the store for Last Friday Art Walk. Ta Dye 4 Ink is adding some variety to Art Walk, so I’m anxious to hear the band.

At The Village Tinker at 417 W. Broadway Ave., which is one of the most eclectic and interesting stores you will find anywhere in East Tennessee, artisan Jean Terry will be featured with her jewelry.

Professional Hair Design, tucked away at 120 E. Broadway Ave., will show silk work by Debbie Harrington. I’m not sure what silk work is, but I’m sure going to find out.

Tomato Head Restaurant at 211 W. Broadway Ave. has a photography exhibit entitled “Discover Life in America.” At Broadway Gallery at Preservation Plaza, oil paintings by Gail Kornoupakis and Norma Riegle will be on display.

Clay sculptor Leanne Moe will feature her work at Studio 212. The business is located at 212 E. Harper Ave.

Boyd Thomas Clothing at 227 W. Broadway Ave., will feature paintings by Tammy Schlosser. Tammy is a member of Fine Arts Blount, and the works of hers I have seen are primarily in oils and have that Old Masters look and feel, so it is sure to be a great exhibit.

The Capitol Theatre promises to keep the party going even after Art Walk officially ends with the Streamliners Big Band sound, so you will have plenty of excuses to make a night of it.

Come on out Friday night. You will see everyone you know and a bunch of folks you need to know. Just strolling around downtown will make you smile and lift your spirits, I promise. As they sang in Camelot -- “It’s May, it’s May, the lusty month of May. The lovely month when everyone goes blissfully astray…”

Last Friday Art Walk is the perfect place to celebrate the last few days of this great month!

Following are photos we took last month as folks enjoy the April Last Friday Art Walk.

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