First Friday Art Walk in full swing

By Sarah Glenn


POCATELLO –– On Friday evenings, beneath vintage brick buildings and the quaint storefronts of Old Town Pocatello, scattered groups will meander among art and music for Old Town Pocatello’s First Friday Art Walk.

“It is a great opportunity for kids to be exposed to different types of art available in our community,” said Stephanie Palagi, executive director of Old Town Pocatello, Inc.

More than 25 local artists set up inside Old Town shops and display their work. During the summer some businesses encourage kids to create sidewalk-chalk masterpieces outside their storefronts while bands play nearby and charities host raffles.

While the event goes on rain or shine the first Friday of every month, Palagi said the summer season makes the art walk really come alive.

“Summer is a great time to bring families out and make it a family event,” Palagi said.

Art-walk guides are available at the Old Town Pocatello Inc. offices on the Thursday prior to the event. These guides can help families plan a fun and educational evening.

“It is important for kids to learn about the arts in our community, and this gives families a way to experience that,” Palagi said.

The businesses that participate are spread across Old Town from east to west, meaning a map or a little pre-planning is helpful for those who want to see it all.
In June the ability to see it all will get easier with the introduction of a trolley service, expected to shuttle locals around the art walk’s far apart locations with two or three stops on the west side of Old Town, one stop on the east side of Old Town and two stops near the warehouse district. The route will be similar to the service that operates for the Gate City Brew Fest.

For now, parking for the art walk is scattered throughout Old Town with city street-side parking, the Old Town lot and Pocatello High School providing several options.
In the summer, as many as 35 different artists participate. While most are local, others often come from surrounding states. An art-walk coordinator organizes the event, with individual artists coordinating with the store owners themselves about displaying their work. Artists are often Idaho State University students or others from local high schools, giving a wide array of people an opportunity to show their art to the community.

The decade-old Pocatello tradition began as a one-time event organized by a few businessmen to attract traffic to downtown shops. Since that summer evening in 2005 it has grown into a huge monthly event.

“When we started the art walk the original idea was to get people into our stores,” Palagi said. “Now, they can experience more of what is available and come back to buy if they want.”

There is no charge to attend this monthly event. Art Walk guides are available both online and at the Old Town Pocatello Inc. offices beginning the Thursday prior to the event.

First Friday Art Walk is sponsored by Old Town Pocatello and the participating merchants and businesses in the Old Town area.

The First Friday Art Walk is from 5 to 8 p.m. on the first Friday of every month. For maps, dates and more information, visit http://oldtownpocatello.com/do-1/first-friday-art-walk/.

Doug Lindley/Idaho State Journal Venders selling jewelery on the sidewalks during Friday Art Walk.

Doug Lindley/Idaho State Journal
Venders selling jewelery on the sidewalks during Friday Art Walk.

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