It’s a night of art and music in downtown Aurora, yet it might be more of a celebration of community. On the first Friday of the month, First Fridays (yes, with an ‘s’) is growing an urban downtown that is constantly fighting vacant buildings, bad attitudes, and low marketability. On the first Friday in February, the crowds at 14 venues defied the image that is slowly melting away, and instead brought into focus the strengths of the historic and artful downtown in the state’s second largest city.
The Book of Revelation is depicted by Aurora artist Chris Hodge. Chris Hodge “Raw and Un-cut” opened at Allen + Pepa Architects at 121 W. Benton St. in downtown Aurora during First Fridays. Photo by Jason Arthur.
Artist Chris Hodge explains his work during the First Fridays opening at Allen + Pepa Architects in downtown Aurora. Hodge, a teacher at Naperville Central, had work at three venues on Feb. 5. Photo by Jason Arthur.
A view of downtown Aurora from the Benton Street bridge with the Fox River in the foreground and Downer Place in the background. The downtown is experienced a revival thanks to local artists and community stake holders. Photo by Jason Arthur.
If These Walls Could Talk, a frame shop and art gallery at 32 S. Stolp Ave. in downtown Aurora, hosted The Alley Art Festival Show on Feb. 5 with a dozen local artists participating. The shop has participated in First Fridays since the beginning of the coordinated effort in September 2013. Photo by Susan May Moody.
Friends meet up at If These Walls Could Talk for The Alley Art Festival Show during First Fridays in Downtown Aurora. The show was a special preview of what’s to come at Alley Art Festival on August 27 at Water Street Mall in downtown Aurora. Photo by Jason Arthur.
If These Walls Could Talk welcomes unicorns and others at The Alley Art Festival Show on Feb. 5. Photo by Jason Arthur.
So many friends! First Fridays at If These Walls Could Talk is more than a night of art. It’s a night of community. Photo by Jason Arthur.
First Fridays brings the community together. Friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers enjoy a night of art, music, and community-building at If These Walls Could Talk and other venues throughout downtown Aurora. Photo by Jason Arthur.
Jake Mack performs blues music in the lobby of the historic Leland Tower on Stolp Avenue during February’s First Fridays in Downtown Aurora. Photo by Penelope Garcia courtesy of Blue Bird Beat Cafe.
A group watches Jake Mack perform in the Leland Tower lobby during First Fridays. Photo by Susan May Moody.
Glass blowing at The Mausoleum Gallery on River Street draws attention from young patrons at First Fridays. Photo by Larissa Melton.
Coloring at The ArtBar at Two Brothers Roundhouse is part of the fun at the one-night-only pop-up gallery. The ArtBar draws a large crowd each First Fridays. Photo by Jason Arthur.
More coloring fun at The ArtBar. The ArtBar started the First Fridays tradition that has since spread throughout downtown Aurora. The pop-up gallery began in 2012 before the coordinated effort launched in the fall of 2013. Photo by Jason Arthur.
Music is a big draw at Two Brothers Roundhouse where The ArtBar sets up in an adjacent room for First Fridays. Photo by Susan May Moody.
The ArtBar at Two Brothers Roundhouse features the work of dozens of local artists. February’s theme was “The Red Show.” Photo by Susan May Moody.
What is First Fridays?
The Alley Art Festival Show
Jake Mack: It Hurts Me Too
Always a fun event! Portrays our downtown very well. I’ve had great times and made new friends at First Fridays.
That’s my bald head! Lol. âť¤ď¸Ź