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First Friday arts roundup

First Friday will celebrate its 11th anniversary in the Arts District Oct. 4 from 5 to 11 p.m. Aside from anniversary festivities, there will be lots of pumpkins in keeping with the season. After all, October is Halloween month, and First Friday Las Vegas organizers never miss a chance to have fun.

With more than 20 First Fridays under their belt, the First Friday Las Vegas team decided to make some changes this August. According to Joey Vanas, managing partner, “August’s First Friday was a big shake-up for everyone and it definitely had a different feel. From all the feedback we received, people really liked it.”

He further stated, “We are still focusing on emerging artists and helping people show or sell their work for the first time, but we are also working more closely with the existing arts community in the area. Our mutual goal is to foster homegrown talent and help facilitate more creation right here in our neighborhood.”

Layout changes included moving vendors onto a few well-lighted lots where visitors can find what they are looking for in a more concentrated, bazaar-type area; creating a giant art installation, “antARTica,” south of Charleston Boulevard on Casino Center Boulevard; placing most of the stages, music and food north of Charleston Boulevard; and involving the arts community more than ever in the event.

“For the first time since we took over First Friday, it felt like a true neighborhood event with everyone working together toward a common goal. August was magic,” Vanas said

First Friday will continue the layout changes and periodically feature other art installations. In October, the south side of Charleston Boulevard will have more of an “art walk” feel, according to Vanas, with fewer artists than before (20 to 30 tents down Casino Center Boulevard), as well as opened-up sidewalks to alleviate congestion in the area.

Sampling of October Shows in the Arts District:

All shows listed will be open during Preview Thursday (the Thursday before First Friday) unless otherwise noted, as well as First Friday.

Amanda Harris Gallery: Solo show by Biscuit Street Preacher, a local artist, called “The Importance of Pretending.” It features paintings that are not just decoration, but rooted in deep stories.

Brett Wesley Gallery: An opening artist reception for Kevin Chupik on Oct. 3 from 6 to 8 p.m. and First Friday, Oct. 4, from 6 to 9 p.m.

Blackbird Studios: Artist Ali Fathollahi will show a group of assemblage “dolls,” as well as encourage viewers to make their own dolls at the gallery.

Clay Arts: “What Goes Bump in the Night,” a second annual show capturing the darker side of ceramics, with works from across the U.S. juried by Halloween parade grand dame Cori Mavis and Clay Arts

Contemporary Arts Center: “I Am My Own Cheerleader,” offering a combination of video, performance, sculpture and crafts by J. Casey Doyle, the exhibition explores acts of transformation.

First Friday Poetry Cyber Launch/Vegas Valley Book Festival: (only on First Friday), 6 to 9 p.m. Nevada Humanities Program Gallery in Art Square, Las Vegas haiku presentation and Cyber Poetry T-shirt giveaway.

Gainsburg Studio &Gallery: (only on First Friday), local sculptor Sharon Gainsburg demonstrates stone carving and will also feature other artists’ painting, mixed media, jewelry.

Trifecta Gallery: Tom Pfannerstill (Louisville, Ky.), “From the Street” carved wooden paintings and In the Attachment Room, Selena Davenport, Satur(n)day, a video installation.

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