First Friday Art Walk: Explore Old Town, discover up-and-coming artists

Artwork+at+the+Fort+Collins+Friday+Art+Walk

Collegian | Mykyta Botkins

Artwork at the Fort Collins Friday Art Walk Oct. 7. The art walk is a self-guided walking tour that celebrates creativity, culture and community in downtown Fort Collins on the first Friday of every month.

Alex Hasenkamp, Arts and Entertainment Director

If you’re looking for an immersive way to learn more about art in your community, Fort Collins presents First Friday Art Walk — a completely self-guided tour that takes you all around the downtown area. 

This event is offered from 6-9 p.m. the first Friday of every month and is completely free of charge. It’s a great way to engage with local artists and learn more about the surrounding culture in town.

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The Downtown Fort Collins website offers a map displaying businesses that have chosen to participate, such as Alpine Arts, Bas Bleu Theatre Company and Driver 8 Records. 

With a myriad of unique exhibits, there is always room for more exploration.

“A lot of people who wouldn’t normally wander into an art museum end up coming in because why not check it out if it’s free?” –Josie Taylor, Museum of Art Fort Collins visitor services and gift shop manager 

The Museum of Art Fort Collins offered free admission to their current exhibition A Culture Preserved (in the Black Experience). With some local and out-of-state artists, it features a variety of mediums all relating to the exhibit’s topic, which “addresses how Black culture and its heritage reflect and shape values, beliefs and aspirations, which define a people’s identity,” according to the MoA website.

Josie Taylor, visitors services and gift shop manager at the museum, sat at her desk as intrigued citizens filtered in and out.

“A lot of people who wouldn’t normally wander into an art museum end up coming in because why not check it out if it’s free?” Taylor said. 

Artwork at the Fort Collins first Friday art walk
Artwork at the Fort Collins Friday Art Walk Oct. 7. The art walk is a self-guided walking tour that celebrates creativity, culture and community in downtown Fort Collins on the first Friday of every month. (Collegian | Mykyta Botkins)

The art walk has a similar feel to a scavenger hunt: You are constantly checking the map to locate your next destination. As you enter new buildings, you are greeted with a smile from the shop owner, and if you’re lucky, you’ll even get to speak to the artist.

One woman, Hannah Wood, sat at her booth surrounded by stickers in the hallway of the America Building.

“Actually selling stuff, I’ve only been doing for about a year,” Wood said. “I’ve been doing illustration as a freelancer for about 10 years.”

Her table featured all kinds of stickers: everything from moths and mushrooms to colorful character designs. 

“I follow a lot of artists on social media that I draw inspiration from,” Wood said. 

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Wood’s website is home to more of her creations, such as print designs, graphic illustrations and homemade templates for social media posts and school presentations. 

If you’re not into the visual arts scene, that’s OK — the art walk still has you covered. At Mugs, a local cafe, singer and guitarist Lewis Turner performed his original songs to a live audience. 

The door of the coffee shop was propped open so the soothing guitar could draw in passersby. Music lovers crowded every corner of Mugs, holding cups of coffee for warmth against the cool night breeze.

Lewis Turner describes his music on his website as a mix between folk and Americana and released his first song “Get Out of My Head” at the age of 17.

“I have a new project coming out in March; it’s going to be a cool little indie-folk record,” Turner said. 

Other businesses were less interactive and simply hung the artists’ work on their walls, such as Bloom Floral Boutique, which featured drawings by Jordan Secher. Secher’s artist biography said, “I press flowers and plants to include with most drawings because they are a reminder of a story still growing.” 

The First Friday Art Walk is a calm way to spend your evening while enjoying art in multiple forms. If you’re feeling up for a little downtown adventure, it’s worth a visit.

Reach Alex Hasenkamp at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @alexhasenkamp.