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June's First Friday: Cool Art in Warm Weather

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With summer almost here, it's the ideal time for a First Friday art walk. Weather is no longer a deterrence to getting out and seeing cool creative works all across the city.

This Friday evening hit the streets and stroll from one gallery to the next, taking in all the sights and sounds along Mass Ave., in Fountain Square, downtown, on the Near Northside -- or wherever you choose. Glance at restaurant menus posted outside the eateries, people-watch and pause to appreciate sculptures stationed along sidewalks and murals about town. Soak it all in. Enjoy the art and celebrate the coming of summer.

Here are some possible itineraries:

Lydia Burris's Divine Imprint will be part of the Energy gallery show at the Raymond James Stutz Art Gallery. - IMAGE BY LYDIA BURRIS
  • Image by Lydia Burris
  • Lydia Burris's Divine Imprint will be part of the Energy gallery show at the Raymond James Stutz Art Gallery.

Artists in their Natural Habitat

Before the gallery tour kicks off Friday evening, there's an opportunity to go behind the scenes and see where the artistic magic happens in the historic Stutz building.

Stutz artists will open their studios to the public from noon to 5 p.m. as part of First Friday Open Studios. It's nothing like the annual Stutz Arts Association Open House before which the studios are frantically cleaned and made fussily pristine so the artists can exhibit their best works. Instead, these spaces remain in their everyday working conditions so visitors can get a better sense of how the creative process unfolds. You can ask the artists questions or just soak in all the creative ambience.

The Culinary Arts

First Friday is of course about seeing the latest work that galleries have to display, getting a rare glimpse into artists' studios and mingling with fascinating and cultured people. And a little hummus, a wine bar and some live music never hurts. After all, there's more to the evening's festivities than just the arts.

All summer long, the Indianapolis Downtown Artists & Dealers Association's gallery walk will coincide with the First Friday Food Truck Festival in the Old National Centre parking lot. If you're looking to hit up some galleries, especially on Mass Ave., it's a convenient spot to grab some quick grub to power you through the night. Or you could end a gallery-hopping night there with a cold beer or two.

More than 30 food trucks showcase the culinary arts, and there's live music and Leinenkugel's beer. Getting in costs only $5.

BERNARD LE GRAND - Extrait from La Boîte à Fanny on Vimeo.

A Peter Pan for our Time

Every First Friday, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., the Heartland Film Festival screens a free short film in the Heartland Basile Theatre in its office in the heart of Fountain Square. This month's film is Bernard the Great, which is about a boy who dons an anti-growing suit on his birthday, because he doesn't want to end up as selfish and careless as grown-ups.

Up in the Attic

Morgan Howard, Nicholas Peaper and Jake Lee will exhibit their work from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. at The Attic gallery on the third floor of the Murphy Arts Center, 1043 Virginia Ave.

Lee will show work from his Media Control series, which uses collaging, drawing and other mediums to explore imagery the mass media chooses to display, while Peaper's work depicts natural landscapes around the city.

Jake Lee's work will be on display at The Attic gallery in the Murphy Arts Center this First Friday. - IMAGE BY JASON LEE
  • Image by Jason Lee
  • Jake Lee's work will be on display at The Attic gallery in the Murphy Arts Center this First Friday.

Howard says his work is inspired by graffiti surrealist fundamentals and is influenced by Basquiat, Andre Brenton and Frida Kahlo.

"Recently I have been pulling motifs from absent love affairs, fate, the idea of 'organic,' adolescent crisis, islands and symmetry," he says. "My hope is to show people what it looks like in one of the corners of my brain."

It's Electric

An invisible current will surge through the Raymond James Stutz Art Gallery, 212 W. 10th St., B110, between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. for the opening reception of this month's exhibition Energy.

Five Stutz Artists Association members -- Von Biggs, Lydia Burris, Kevin Raber, Ritch Hanna and Terri McClatchie -- present their own unique takes on the concept of energy in the group show.

"Each piece of art I have selected to be in this exhibit has been created with intention and passion in every stroke of my fingertips, brush and trowel," McClatchie says. "Together with my personal energy and intention, I use the energy of Reiki, essential oils, tinctures, crystals, metals and minerals to infuse the art with love, light and 'healing energy.' My many sleepless nights spent painting in the quiet of the Stutz Building would tell the tale that spirit guides and muses come out and play in the paint beside me."

Watercolors at the Complex

Don't forget to head east, or at least just under the interstate to the Near Eastside. Thirty new artists will be displaying their work at the Circle City Industrial Complex, 1125 Brookside Ave.

The Five Seasons Studio in the former automotive components factory will host an opening reception for Sandy Ezell's Summer Wind exhibit.

Summer Wind delivers a wonderful sense of spring turning into summer," studio owner Martha Nahrwold says. "Sandy is an experimental watercolorist and is painting on Yupo paper."

Ezell, a member of the Brown County Art Guild and a past president of the Watercolor Society of Indiana, is considered one of the state's premier watercolorists.

"Her beautiful landscapes are impressionistic or even abstract so that viewers may bring their own experience into it and see something unique to them," Nahrwold adds.

Emily Swank's By the Water is featured in The Water Show at Gallery 924 this First Friday. - PHOTO BY EMILY SWANK
  • Photo by Emily Swank
  • Emily Swank's By the Water is featured in The Water Show at Gallery 924 this First Friday.

Water, Water Everywhere

The Water Show will premier as the June/July exhibit at Gallery 924, 924 Pennsylvania Ave. The group show will feature the work of 23 contemporary artists from Central Indiana, as well as William A. Rasdell's Soul African Diaspora Best in Show-winning Migration: Wading in the Waters.

Indy Reads and Appreciates Art

Remember that galleries aren't the only places in town showing new art on First Friday. Photographer Andy Chen will display his work at the Indy Reads Bookstore, 911 Mass Ave. Chen, the co-director of the Raymond James Stutz Art Gallery, has won awards for his fine arts photography, which focuses on the natural world and themes of enchantment.

A Darkness at the Bank

The Art Bank, 811 Mass. Ave., will showcase the work of Indianapolis-based abstract painter Terrence Loftus, a Chicago area native who's previously participated in RAW Natural Born Artists, 5547 Project Gallery and Fountain Square Brewing Company shows.

Loftus will debut 18 new pieces in the The Darkness of Color exhibit in the Feature Room at the Art Bank.

"My show is designed to explore the wide range of visual concepts my paintings present, as well as the effects colors can have on one's emotions and ideas," he explains. "Some people see eyeballs and oceans; others see galaxies and endless tunnels."

His new paintings are in his distinct abstract style, which contrasts dark swirls with bright colors. Hints of shapes can be glimpsed.

Loftus says he "wings it," working with a wide array of items, including perfumes, rubbing alcohol, spray paint, candlewax, aquarium stones and metal shavings. Working with whatever is at hand gives his work a dimension of the unexpected and a visual depth.

The longer you look, the more you see, Loftus says.

"My approach to my artwork has always been, 'what can I do with what I've got?' Loftus says. "I have found a way to combine my graphic-detailed pen drawings and my love for bright, bold, colorful paintings into what I currently do."

Terrence Loftus's exhibit Darkness of Color will be brighten the Art Bank this Friday. - IMAGE BY TERRENCE LOFTUS
  • Image by Terrence Loftus
  • Terrence Loftus's exhibit Darkness of Color will be brighten the Art Bank this Friday.

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