Monday, April 6, 2009

First Friday art displays

It was the first First Friday of Spring ‘09, and Downtown Lancaster was stirring with hints of the bustle to come in the warmer months ahead. At the Prince Street crosswalk near the Pennsylvania Academy of Music, a horse-mounted police officer had to direct the dense streams of artwalkers that concentrated along Gallery Row.

The evening’s weather was certainly a powerful draw, even if it did require a light jacket.

The City’s more eye-catching displays were found at the Infantree Gallery (21 N Prince, 4th floor), Metropolis (154 N Prince St), and the Lancaster Museum of Art (135 N Lime St). The Infantree displayed “Out There” an exhibit defined by muted colors and some ironic interactions between pop culture and wild nature.

A Strasburg resident and recent Tyler School of Art graduate commented that the art in galleries like the Infantree is “more than just an image, as opposed to a lot of the galleries in Lancaster. It’s not just about what’s ‘there,’ but there’s something deeper than that. And they explore a lot more mediums and ways of creating images.”

“Moist. Mammal. Doom” was displayed at Metropolis and carried the gallery’s propensity toward the colorful, the comic, and the grotesque. The Lancaster Museum of Art featured the work of illustrator Barry Moser in an exhibit titled “Portraits of Illustrious Persons.” More can be read about this exhibit in this post from Daniel Klotz’s local culture blog.

The night was rife with creative activity on a variety of fronts. Jazz pianist Matthew Monticchio held his usual roost at the Christiane David Gallery while several street guitarists strummed along the sidewalks of Prince.

Up at the 300 block of North Queen, Building Character hosted fire-spinning to the thumping beats of a live DJ. Across the street, at the newly opened Progressive Galleries, the Harrisburg-based band Smoke the Groove spread their funky tunes among the hanging displays.

The rush of incoming visitors was a boon to Downtown businesses, as is usually the case on such evenings. Around 10pm, a line stretched onto the sidewalk at 23 N Prince as dozens of patrons waited for ice cream at Carmen and David’s Creamery. Max Garcia-Hommel, who manages his parent’s recently opened shop, noted that things had been this busy since the early evening. Garcia-Hommel commented that it certainly makes up for the winter’s frigid effect upon patronage.