The Downtown Artery’s Art Night comes to a colorful conclusion

Dom Brazeau

Men sing
Musicians jam together at the Downtown Artery during the last Art Night Friday, Feb. 15, 2019. (AJ Frankson | Collegian)

Creativity flowed throughout The Downtown Artery at the gallery’s final Art Night.

Art Night has been a staple event for the Artery over the past few years, but Feb. 15 was its final affair. The Artery could not be reached for comment on the reason for Art Night’s conclusion, but many visitors are disheartened that the monthly tradition will not continue.

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According to Downtown Artery Assistant Director, Maxwell Tretter, Art Night is ending at The Downtown Artery so he can expand it further.

“I think we could have a much larger impact if we hit that grassroots scene,” Tretter said. “So that’s why it was the last one here because I’d like to take it somewhere else with me.”

Many people who had been to the Artery before returned to enjoy the event one last time, as well as many people who were experiencing it for the first time. Visitors like Finnegan Mahoney say every experience is full of interesting characters.

“I’ve been to the Artery once on another Art Night, and it was goddamn amazing,” Mahoney said. “The atmosphere is great here. I mean everybody is just a person to talk to, everybody’s a total personality.”

The more people that arrived, the more the Artery came to life. Musicians were encouraged to play their instruments on stage. The audience was just as involved in the musical process. Once one audience member started dancing, others began to join in.

I’m very sad. I feel like I was just getting into it and looking forward to it. I feel like the rug’s been pulled out from under my feet, but I hope that in some way, shape or form it will continue.” – Finnegan Mahoney, visitor

In addition to the artwork that can typically be found upstairs, guests were encouraged to draw their own art on the walls. One wall allowed guests to draw whatever came to mind, while another urged visitors to contribute to a garden-themed motif. The garden-themed mural allowed visitors like Lacy Lichtenhan to build off of others’ ideas.

Person paints
An attendee of the last Art Night paints on the wall at the Downtown Artery Friday, Feb. 15, 2019. (AJ Frankson | Collegian)

“I saw some red paint, and I was like ‘That’s a good color,’” Lichtenhan said. “I was just embellishing art that was already started, vines and flowers that people had just left.”

In addition to the beautiful visuals that can be found at the Artery, many people love the experience of making new connections. To some, the social aspect is just as much of the experience as the artistic aspect. Veteran guest Ally Bormann loves bonding with new and familiar attendees over their creations.

“I feel like it’s a really good way to bring people together and have a good time making art,” Bormann said. “I’m not an artist, but it’s a cool way to get together with a lot of people and make cool stuff.”

Lichtenhan also loves the social atmosphere of Art Night.

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“It’s just a bunch of people hanging out, very relaxed and social and like bonding over the fun of making art,” Lichtenhan said.

The decline of Art Night is a disappointment to many, but there is still a sense of optimism.

“I’m very sad,” Mahoney said. “I feel like I was just getting into it and looking forward to it. I feel like the rug’s been pulled out from under my feet, but I hope that in some way, shape or form it will continue.”

Editor’s note: This article was updated on Feb. 25, 2019 with the purpose of clarifying the motivations for ending Art Night.

Dominic Brazeau can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @DomBrazeau.