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First Friday: Stretch your legs in advance of Bloomsday and enjoy some art

Even if you don’t run Bloomsday, Spokane residents agree that First Friday Arts Walk is the best downtown warm-up for both body and mind. And it’s free.

Here are some suggested highlights, but check out all the offerings at http://downtownspokane. org/first-friday/.

New Moon Art Gallery has started an “early bird” First Friday to give art-goers a chance to come by its East Sprague locale before heading closer to the downtown core. This month’s featured artist is Kay West, the former owner of what used to be Little Dog Art Gallery. Known for her signature photography, West will show her new series of acrylic paintings with an Earth theme. From noon to 5 p.m. at 1326 E. Sprague Ave.

When happy hour begins you might want to grab a beer with friends at Iron Goat Brewing to reminisce about the railroads of the Pacific Northwest. For more than 30 years, former railroad executive Frederick Manfred Simon has been photographing these gritty and beautiful images. The fact that he was convicted of shady railroad dealings in 2009 just makes us want to see his art more. His reception at Iron Goat is from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 1302 W. Second Ave.

From there, head north on Adams Street to Barrister Winery to catch Melissa Cole’s colorful and textural acrylics of natural scenes. “Lonesome” Lyle Morse will entertain those who stay to purchase pours and dinner. From 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. at 1223 W. Railroad Ave. (It’s in an alley, so look for the signs.)

Continue north up Adams Street to Kolva-Sullivan Gallery to view the outlandish drawings, paintings, and mixed media on paper and board by local creatives Garric Simonsen and Ruth Mortensen. Simonsen collaborated with his young daughter to bring her narrative visions to life. They range from ethereal creatures and landscapes to pointed tales of morality, such as how Red conquered, and what White took from Black paint’s tragic death. Mortensen’s works, too, will reveal their own secret codes. The award-winning artist expresses some of her works with organic shapes and bright colors. From 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at 115 S. Adams St.

Right next door to Kolva-Sullivan, ceramicists Chris Kelsey and Gina Freuen are stoked (Get it? Stoked?) to reveal what they fired last week in their traditional Santatsugama wood kiln. The resulting vases, planters, bonsai, and unique ceramic forms are ready to please and surprise mom on her big day. Trackside Ceramics Art Gallery, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. 115 S. Adams St.

As you head further toward the river, take a walk on the wicked side and go around the corner on First Avenue to Art Seed’s show, “Pow’s!!! Last Stand.” There will be sculptures and spoken word, illustrations and installations. Don’t let the incidental location above Lucky Leaf keep you from inhaling the art, community, and conversations circulating from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. 1115 W. First Ave.

A half a mile East on Riverside Avenue, at Dodson’s Jewelers, LuAnn Ostergaard and her son Joseph Rastovich will launch their show “Kindred Spirits.” Ostergaard makes striking collages from her photographs of corroding metals and worn cement walls that she overlays on her images of trees and other landscapes. Rastovich works with iron to create functional art, including tables and lamps as well as outdoor art that involves unusual shapes and open spaces. From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 516 W. Riverside Ave.

Leftbank Wine Bar will present the works of muralist Nathan O’Neill, a local creative who has also been an actor, sculptor, and vocalist. O’Neill has even been a bank robber, for which he went to prison in Texas, but that was another life. He now calls himself a survivor, but most of all an artist. Redemption can come through a paintbrush. From 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. at 108 N. Washington St., No. 105 Legion Bldg

Saranac Art Projects will host two new installations by members Margot Casstevens and Dan McCann. With her exhibition “Underpinnings,” Casstevens displays printed undergarments and nightwear as a way to tell stories about who we are or who we want to be. She also collaborated with fellow artist Kurt Madison to produce a hand drawn stop-action film “Button,” that deals with the seemingly useless repetitive activities that fill so much of our time but include hidden interior meanings. McCann’s sound installation will reflect on what we hear and what makes sound. From 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at 25 W. Main Ave.

Five local fiber artists – Anna Carpenter, Remelisa Cullitan, May Kytonen, Margaret Mount, and Eva Silverstone – as well as the community group Craftivists of the Inland Northwest will remix fiber traditions to put on a group show “Fibrant” at the Terrain Gallery. The exhibition will explore a variety of concepts including identity, femininity, body, community, and fiber itself in the role of art. Performance artist Lou Lou Pink will interact with patrons to sew a large narrative scroll out of articles of clothing donated on the spot. The resulting scroll, “Fusion,” will be a reminder that human life is a tightly interconnected, continually growing chain linked together. From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 304 W. Pacific Ave.

Avenue West Gallery will exhibit works by new member Nancy Rothwell, whose exhibition “The Trees of Ancestors” shows how the palette and content of paintings can change dramatically when an artist moves. Having been well known in western Washington for her social and political artist statements about healthcare policy in the U.S., the Spokane native’s new series of work feature the power, beauty and resiliency of ancestors and family roots. The artist’s reception will be held from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 907 W. Boone.


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