OCEANSIDE — Friday will be the final monthly Art Walk, at least as it has been organized up to now.
First Friday Art Walks began in August 2014, and have been held year round.
Gumaro Escarcega, MainStreet Oceanside program manager, said the monthly event met its goals and displayed diverse local artists, and benefited downtown galleries, shops and restaurants.
However a lack of volunteers and funding caused the Art Walks to stop.
“The reason for the event was to raise awareness for artists and make downtown Oceanside a walkable community and a destination,” Escarcega said. “We had new people at every Art Walk and heard positive comments about our improved downtown.”
The monthly Art Walk provided spectators with a downtown map that showed locations of art on display. Along the walkable route were musicians, fire dancers and pop up shops. Inside galleries and businesses light refreshments were served.
The event proved to be a boon to downtown.
“The Art Walks brought people out to enjoy art, live music and have dinner in downtown Oceanside,” Escarcega said. “Most of the restaurants had an increase in business during Art Walk, and many were thankful to have a monthly event in downtown Oceanside.”
While the Art Walk will cease after Dec. 2, downtown arts events will continue.
As part of the final Art Walk a Merry Makers Fair featuring handmade gift items will be held at 409 Mission Ave.
In the coming year Oceanside Friends of the Arts will hold quarterly arts events.
“We hate to see it go on a monthly basis, but are eager to see the new changes,” Escarcega said.
The idea of a city Art Walk was brainstormed at an Oceanside Cultural Consortium meeting, which brought together a wide range of local artists.
From there a few interested individuals moved forward with the idea and made the walk happen. Businesses were recruited to display art, artists were paired up with locations, and new maps of the walk were printed each month.
Another idea generated by the now defunct consortium was to develop an arts master plan to encourage artists to live and open businesses in the city.
The city Arts Commission is in the process of developing a Master Plan for the Arts, which has similar goals. Currently the commission is working on a request for proposals to find a consultant to help develop the plan.