OCEANSIDE — First Friday Art Walk launches in August and promises to be more than your typical gallery-to-gallery stroll. Instead it involves 13 museums, theaters, shops and galleries that will host indoor performing and visual arts.
“People can start at Oceanside Museum of Art or the public library and hear live music, then hop over to Artists Alley where there are three galleries,” Dinah Poellnitz, cofounder of The Hill Street Country Club gallery, said.
Venues are going all out to make the walk impactful.
Oceanside Museum of Art has moved its opening reception of Quilt National to Aug. 1 to coincide with the walk.
“I believe Oceanside’s time has arrived for arts, culture and entertainment to flourish,” Daniel Foster, former Oceanside Museum of Art executive director, said. “It’s the right time and right place.”
The walk is billed as a great opportunity for artists and businesses to get exposure to new patrons.
“In my professional career I witnessed the transformation of communities’ economic prosperity come through downtown revitalization around the arts,” Foster said.
Sole Lab men’s specialty clothing store on Mission Avenue will display photography by Zach Cordner.
Storeowner Justin Valley said the art walk is a welcome fresh approach to introduce customers to his business.
“It’s something different,” Valley said.
Spectators can start at any point along the two-block walk on Coast Highway between Civic Center Drive and Mission Avenue. Maps will be available to guide viewers to a variety of art offerings.
Project manager Brigid Parsons said the art walk map pinpoints locations of venues and lets people wander.
There will also be yarn bomb art along the route covering bike racks, trees and other stationary objects.
“Yarn bombing is a great way to get the community involved,” Poellnitz said. “We’re
collecting yarn (finished knitted pieces) from knitting groups in North County.”
The idea of a downtown art walk has been talked about for a couple of years. Plans to hold the walk came together during monthly Oceanside Cultural Consortium roundtable discussions. The consortium promotes regional arts, culture, entertainment and tourism.
The Hill Street Country Club gallery and Oceanside Museum of Art are members of the consortium, and have been instrumental in recruiting artists, businesses and coordinating event plans.
“Our hope is to have more people come downtown, and develop our own truly thriving arts and culture center,” Parsons said.
Plans are to gradually expand the art walk south and involve more artists and businesses. Art walk maps will be updated monthly to identify participating venues.
“We’re very intentionally adding offerings of fresh new arts talents each month,” Foster said.
First Friday Art Walk is held the first Friday of each month from 6 to 9 p.m. beginning Aug. 1.