30 Days of Philly Arts: First Friday Old City

first-friday-600[1]The original neighborhood of Philadelphia, Old City, started as a thriving waterfront district. In the 1970s it was discovered by artists who moved their studios into former industrial and warehouse buildings. In the 80s and 90s the transition was completed with an influx of art galleries, design firms, architects and performance groups. All of which led to the creation of the Old City Arts Association and its first ever First Friday in 1991.

Since then the first Friday of every month has made Old City the destination for art lovers, performance afficionados, scenesters, and anyone happy to be walking around in a vibrant urban setting. From 5PM to 9PM galleries are open, often with new exhibitions, groups like Headlong Dance Theater try out new work, the Arden Theater often has performances (with free beer!) in its lobby.and there’s music in the streets.

This First Friday will be extra special because of the FringeArts Festival happening at the same time with perfromances in Old City venues like The Painted Bride and Grasso’s Magic Theater. Some of the galleries featuring art openings this evening are Vivant Art Collection,  Muse Gallery, and The Clay Studio, but the joy of First Friday is ambling around and discovering what’s there.

First Friday has expanded into other neighborhoods but the greatest concentration of galleries is still in good old Old City.  To keep up with special First Friday events look here.