Dr. Kay Decker tells about arts projects in Alva, Oklahoma. She explains how and why the First Friday Art Walk was started here.
Here is a summary of what Dr. Decker said:
The art space we are sitting in, Graceful Arts, is a project of Freedom West Community Development Corporation, where she is executive director.
Art walks are very common in arts communities around the country, frequently sponsored by arts districts, to bring the community, neighborhood or town to the arts district. The intention is to get the public into the galleries, studios, stores, restaurants and shops, and to get the public engaged with the arts.
When Alva, Oklahoma, formed a local arts district and the Graceful Arts Studio was opened, the leaders decided to focus on creating an art walk and to bring the other local art venues and businesses on board. At the very first local art walk, one nearby merchant stayed open, and in two hours did $300 worth of business. By the second art walk, more merchants were coming on board. (Note: over a year and a half later, the art walks are still going strong and growing.)
Every art walks’ goal is to engage the public with the arts, regardless of the form, to get them in tune with the art that is going on in their community. This includes visual arts and performing arts.
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.