Culture » Festivals

The First Friday 500

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Can’t you smell the motor oil? Hear the revving? Feel the crush of beer-swilling race fans?

That’s right, it’s almost May. May… in… Indianapolis. Something big is coming, and it’s First Friday.

Yeah, okay, just run with it.

Before you head to the Brickyard or escape town to avoid the crowds, race to downtown galleries to get your art on.

Photographer Barbara Heywood-Chasey's pictures of Indianapolis are featured at the Art Bank this First Friday. This one is titled To the glory of our forefathers. - COURTESY OF  BARBARA HEYWOOD-CHASEY
  • Courtesy of Barbara Heywood-Chasey
  • Photographer Barbara Heywood-Chasey's pictures of Indianapolis are featured at the Art Bank this First Friday. This one is titled To the glory of our forefathers.

Indy in the bank

Indianapolis transplant Barbara Heywood-Chasey got to know her adopted home the way she knows how: by snapping lots and lots of pictures. The photographer employed what she learned in 18 years of experience doing scenic photography during her quest to portray Indianapolis’ heart and soul.

“I moved to the heart of Indianapolis to experience the life of the city,” Heywood-Chasey says. “With my camera, I walked through the city and photographed people, places and events for the past few years. I want to share my love of the city and experiences with our gallery visitors.”

Her show Celebrating Indianapolis will be on display at the Art Bank (811 Massachusetts Ave.) from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, when her son Michael Heywood will perform live music. Any attendees who want to support the Julian Center can buy a raffle ticket for $1. The lucky winner can take home any piece of art at the exhibit, so long as it’s 11 x 14 inches or smaller. The exhibit runs through May 26.

Kirstin Divers' work is on display in the City Gallery at the Harrison Center for the Arts this First Friday. - COURTESY OF KRISTIN DIVERS
  • Courtesy of Kristin Divers
  • Kirstin Divers' work is on display in the City Gallery at the Harrison Center for the Arts this First Friday.

Celebrating Indianapolis portrays a day in the lives of those who live in Indianapolis,” Heywood-Chasey says. “The architecture of the city is incredible, and I’ll show unique photos of the Marion County Library, the Sailor & Soldiers’ Monument, the Indiana World War Memorial and other interesting buildings. The center of Indianapolis has become a huge flower garden that also enhances the parks in the area. May is also Indy 500 month. What better way to celebrate than with photographs related to that event?”

Finding the art in artifacts

Sun King Brewing and the Stutz Artists Association teamed up to put on Obsolete ARTifacts – A recycled pARTS series event at The Raymond James Stutz Art Gallery (212 W. 10th Street). The annual exhibit features art, found parts, and technology, especially defunct technology—all pieces on display feature at least one recycled tech part. And all proceeds benefit the Stutz Artists Association.

Book it

A great thing about Indy is that it’s easy to see the visual arts outside of the traditional boundaries of galleries -- in craft breweries, coffee shops and the downtown bookstore Indy Reads. The independent bookstore at 911 Massachusetts Ave. that supports adult literacy and has branched out into publishing will feature the work of well-known local artist Jonathan McAfee, a Herron grad who just had a large exhibit of work inspired by American Apparel ads at Gallery 924.

A secret world of sound effects

First Friday offers more than just paintings and the visual arts. Drop by the Heartland Film Office at 1043 Virginia Ave. to watch a movie instead. You can sip a Sun King brew and munch on popcorn in the Heartland Basile Theatre while watching the free short documentary film The Secret World of Foley. The 14-minute short, which runs on a loop 7 - 10 p.m., shines a light on Foley artists who make films come alive with expertly timed sound effects.

Kipp Normand and other artists give their take on the NATO phonetic alphabet at the Alpha Romeo Tango group show at the Harrison Center for the Arts. - COURTESY OF KIPP NORMAND
  • Courtesy of Kipp Normand
  • Kipp Normand and other artists give their take on the NATO phonetic alphabet at the Alpha Romeo Tango group show at the Harrison Center for the Arts.

Whiskey Foxtrot Whatever

More than 30 studio artists in the Harrison Center for the Arts will open their doors for one of only four annual open studio nights, but there are also some exciting exhibits. The Harrison Gallery, for instance, features the group show Alpha Romeo Tango from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday. Artists such as Kyle Ragsdale, Asa Gauen and Erin Drew riff on the NATO phonetic alphabet -- you know, Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo and so on.

Of course, the Harrison Center is a Hotel-Uniform-Golf-Echo place, and there’s a lot more going on. Indy is captured on the canvas in The Gallery Annex, where Harrison studio artist Jed Dorsey is showing new paintings of urban Indianapolis, and The City Gallery, where Kirstin Divers’ show What’s Your Pleasure? depicts her favorite places in the city, including her Chatham Arch neighborhood.

Gallery No. 2 takes a holier bent with a liturgical art exhibit that celebrates Advent, Lent, Pentecost and Ordinary Time. But don’t expect to see generic felt doves -- the Harrison Center warns the art is surprising and sometimes shocking.

The mother of artistic invention

While at the Harrison Center, make sure to stop by the Underground gallery. The Mother Artist Project, which aims to create a sisterhood of artists who navigate two different worlds, is showcasing art and handcrafted items at its inaugural Mother Artist Market. Sara Grain and Kara Beth Rasure will entertain with folk music (for more details on this exhibit, see Sky Blue Window’s Mom's the Word from Tuesday’s post.

Minnesota Viking, singular

Erik Ullanderson's Old Erik Came Wondering or Throw Steel Over Their Heads exhibit appears at the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Arts at the Murphy Art Center, 1043 Virginia Ave. His work features Norse imagery that draws on his family ancestry and his Minnesota heritage, while referencing pop culture, fantasy novels, gamer manuals and mall kiosk caricature booths. The School of Art Institute grad who's now based in the Twin Cities has exhibited internationally, and he will show his work in at iMoca in​ Fountain Square through July 23.

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