Fremont's First Fridays

We favor alliteration in Fremont, so fixing first Friday for art feels frankly fortuitous.

Begun by Priceless Works Gallery's Ragan Peck last fall, this event invites all curious to stroll 15 galleries, shops and studios on the first Friday of each and every month from 6 to 9 p.m.

While I know that you would find my ignorant and terminally emotional reactions to the art shows I've attended positively fascinating, I decided to let a few of the participants speak for themselves.

Sara Tro operates Trofeo as both gallery and frame shop. She can't tell if people visit her on Friday nights on their Art Walk rounds, or each artist's self-promotion.

Located slightly east of downtown Fremont, on the corner of North 36th Street and Woodland Park Avenue North, she admits, "I get less traffic, but all the food gets eaten."

She declared the event as "definitely worth my while," and while she just opened last September, "I'm booked until January with artists" wanting to show.

Gallery 154 sits to one side of the Fremont Foundry, with its buzzing collection of artists' studios. Roger Wheeler represents the gallery, although a committee curates the shows, where featured artists need not be residents.

Roger felt the Art Walk "worth a shot. We don't have any complaints. Art Walk offers more visibility, definitely."

Roger, long a fixture in Fremont, plans to move soon to a new artist live/work building in Pioneer Square, and the future of our famous Foundry (currently up for sale) remains in doubt.

Within the Art F/X gallery, Doug Stacy shows the work of a new artist every three months. In the gift shop, he features "eclectic collectibles" - 90 percent of them produced by artists representing more than 100 local people.

Doug praised the Art Walk: "I am really pleased with the way it is going. We're getting a lot more traffic."

Doug also curates another show at the Fremont Red Apple Market, also on the walk.

Gail Bradley, of Frame-Up Studios, admits the Art Walk inspired her featured artist wall display: "I've been wanting to do something like it. I had a plan, but I was moved by Ragan. I love it! Ragan dug in and said, 'Let's do this!'"

Gail respects that. "It's nice to be open at a different time. It brings in other, different people."

Frame-Up doesn't try to be a gallery, only to "support local artists - very important."

At Frank & Dunya, Jody Carter and Mary Jane Shirakawa also decided to dedicate one room of their shop to an art display with the advent of the Art Walk. The shop features "functional art," while the gallery focuses on anything from sculpture to jewelry.

"It's going to be really fun when it gets going," Jody says, hoping for more attendees "and more galleries. Yeah, definitely more galleries."

She admires the way Ragan "orchestrated it. Whoever wants to come in on it can."

Jill Wenger owns MPulse, a creative space with art studios, a gallery, a clothing boutique and a café. Jill loves "what Fremont stands for," and she loves the platform of First Friday. "It could be another big draw for Fremont. It could be really young and really fresh."

Within MPulse, she added to Ragan's original concept with live music from 9 p.m. to midnight.

"I want to create an energy," she told me.

Different energy, different styles and wildly different spaces have banded together to satisfy every reasonable taste, and with all things being Fremont, they probably have something for the unreasonable as well.

I encourage you to come take a look - as long as you don't block my view.

Kirby Lindsay lives among the artists of Fremont and still can't tell "ironic detachment" from "overweening self-indulgence." She welcomes your comments at

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