first friday

Liz Unruh, freshman sociology and art major, shows off her art to Kayla Mock, First Friday founder and coordinator on Firday at Soulride.

Every first Friday of the month, there is a free art walk in downtown Emporia that features various people and businesses with different mediums and styles.

“If you want to be a (featured) artist, you can go to our website and send us an email. Basically, we ask that you send us a couple of images and a little information about your work so we can put you in an appropriate venue,” said Kayla Mock, founder and organizer. “We want everyone, students, local people, everywhere.”

The art walk has participants from high school age upwards that are from different places in the area and many different forms of art, from painting to photograph to jewelry-making to even dying thread.

“We have some high school students,” said Joel Smith, founder and organizer. “We have faculty (and) teachers. We have a lot of retired people and everyone in between.”

The art walk has been happening since 2016 and takes place on every first Friday...rain or shine according to Mock.

“We kind of talked about it for a while with a handful of other artists, and everybody agreed it was something that would be nice,” Smith said.

The number of people who can display art depends on the number of stores that want to participate, each venue offers their space themselves for their own reasons. This month there were 13 featured artists each with their own venue.

“I used to be an art major, so I think living in a community where people care about art is important when you’re an art major if you’re spending the majority of time in that space,” said Natalie Martin, owner of Soul Ride and venue host for a featured artist. “It’s nice to know that there’s people that care about what you do.”

Emporia local Carolee Conway was set up in Salsa’s, 1120 Commercial St., and brought many types of art with her.

“I like acrylics,” Conway said. “I love watercolor. I’ve really gotten into paper cutting. I like to do paper cutting with painting. So kind of whatever I can get into.”

Liz Unruh, Emporia State freshman art and sociology major, was the featured artist in Soul Ride. Her main styles of art are acrylic, watercolor and gouache.

“I love how supportive the community is,” Unruh said. “It’s not about people buying it or making a lot of money. It’s really about how cool it is that the community wants to come out and see artists.”

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