The first Friday of every month the art galleries in Knoxville open their doors for what is aptly named, “First Friday.” In addition to the exhibits, the galleries have delicious food and drinks, and even the occasional band. It’s a great way to see a wide variety of artwork because every gallery offers something different. I met up with my friends Leigh, Qun, and Eric and hit the streets. Since everyone comes out for First Friday, you are sure to see someone you know. We eventually ran into our friends Kathryn and Darren. Poor Darren, he was the only non-lawyer (or non-future lawyer) among us. Here is a small sample of the artwork we saw:
Coral Grace Turner, Rabbit, Wool needlepoint and cotton velvet at The Emporium Center.
Megan Hensley, Twisted Element, Metal at Downtown Gallery.
Samantha Briegel, Glacé Chic, Ceramic at Gallery 1010.
Mike Naney, Berry Cold, Canvas wrap at URBhana.
There was even awesome art on the streets…
It was a beautiful night, so everyone was out enjoying the spring weather. We came across hula hoopers and a drum circle in Krutch Park, which continued to grow in size as we stood and watched. They seemed to play forever, prompting Eric to inquire whether they got union breaks.
The highlight of the evening was seeing the Lovearch in Krutch Park. Lovearch was sculpted by Andy Denton, a friend of mine from high school. After years of seeing photos of his art online, it was really exciting to see his work in person. Well, for the first time since our teens. Andy describes the statue as being like a love poem. “These two figures are each others’ grounding in life. They are flung upside down by the world but they stand on each other.” Lovearch isn’t just beautiful, it also is an award winner. It won 3rd place in the Dogwood Arts Festival. Go Andy! So proud!
A few weeks ago, I actually walked by as the sculpture was being installed. Yet, somehow I didn’t notice Andy standing just a few feet away. Why? Because I was either in a rush or had my nose buried in my phone, not paying attention to the world around me. Lesson learned.
We decided to end the evening at The Sunsphere. The Sunsphere was built in 1982 for the World’s Fair and has a bar and observation deck. For a long time The Sunsphere was empty, or, according according to a 1996 episode of The Simpsons, housed a warehouse of wigs. People still talk about the Fair like it was yesterday. I wasn’t around then, so I only know of The Sunsphere as the shiny thing that distracts me as I am driving. The windows are coated in 24-karat gold dust . . . what girl wouldn’t that distract!
We went up to the Icon Ultra Lounge on the 5th floor, where we were met by our friend David, yet another lawyer. The circular room is a little disorienting at first. The windows are slanted and run floor-to-ceiling, giving a 360-degree view of the lights of the city. We sat overlooking the fountains of World’s Fair Park; it was absolutely beautiful. While the music was loud, it was a relaxed atmosphere, perfect if you are looking for something different for a night out with friends.
After the evening was over it was time to head back to my car. My friends offered to escort me, but I insisted going it alone. It was a beautiful 60-degree evening, perfect for a quiet mile-long walk across town. Before you think I am crazy for wandering the streets alone at 2AM, you are more likely to see artwork in the alleys of Knoxville than get mugged in one. However, as soon as we parted ways I noticed that my iPhone battery died. My first thought: “great, this is how horror movies start.” Of course, the walk back was uneventful and I was greeted only with friendly Knoxvillians saying “hello.” And as you can tell from the blog post, I am still alive.
I’m glad you made it through First Friday alive! Thanks for the kind words. I’ll be sure to look you up next time I come to Knoxville.
Yeah, Knoxville is a nice place to live. Sad to see drum circles have invaded us though. Those are probably the surest harbingers of decay known to man.
And maybe just a touch of anthrax.
Even though I know that Knoxville is a safe place, I still hate that you walked that walk so late with a dead phone battery. However, it sounds exactly like something I would do and would catch all kinds of grief from Adam.
This post makes me super sad that I never went to the sun sphere.