By Molly Leutz
I love the idea of the art walk, the art crawl, the art gallop. However you maneuver it, the art walk feels like an important flag staked in the landscape of a city or a neighborhood, claiming cultural cred. But while I love the idea of the art walk, the reality can be a bit of a mess. Whether it’s the first, second or third Monday, Wednesday or Friday of any given month, it can be fun to be out in a crowd, drinking cheap gallery wine. But if the art portion doesn’t live up to the walk portion, the culture flag is back at half-mast.
And although I’ve been burned by bad art before, I was still game to take on my new town’s Third Friday at Golden Belt. It was a beautiful night – warm after a cold snap – and there was a great crowd, eager to be out in it. I started in the LabourLove Gallery, which featured “SafeKeeping,” the photography of Lori Vrba. Visitors wandered (the art wander?) in between black-and-white images of children, trees and water; scenes that felt as sweet and melancholy as the country-tinged folk music playing in the gallery.
Moving on to Room 100, I saw “Spill” featuring the ceramic sculpture of Sarah Spencer White. The walls were full of small-scale sculptures of utilitarian objects all glazed in white. Personal admission – I adore a bunch of small pieces on a vast expanse of wall. And I wanted them, all of them. Moving on. People were packed into the concrete hallways and each open artist’s studio was buzzing with conversation. The open artists’ studios, with the opportunity to see artwork as more than just a finished product, are a huge bonus. Thank you, Durham! Third Friday was frankly what I think the art walk should be – diverse, artist-focused, inclusive, busy and fun. The wine wasn’t bad either.
“SafeKeeping” runs through March 15, 2010
“Spill” runs through February 14, 2010
Molly Leutz recently moved to Durham from Charlotte.
IMAGE: Courtesy of Golden Belt.