Joey Vanas, Managing Partner, First Friday

Jennifer Metzger, owner, Vanguard Lounge

Joanne Russ, Gallery Coordinator, Contemporary Arts Center

First Friday is going to look different in August. Many of the tents and vendors will move to the north side of the Arts District, creating more accessibility for galleries. In recent months, downtown business owners have raised concerns about rowdy crowds and underage drinking. Will the changes help shift First Friday's focus back to the arts? And will they alleviate concerns about safety?

What exactly is going to be different?

Joey Vanas, Managing Partner, First Friday: It will look quite different. The area south of Charleston where the primary portion of the event which First Friday actually produces will be a giant art installation. So we’ve got  a lot of local artists collaborating and working together on this immersive art experience. There is a theme to it, it’s Antarctica, basically in response to the heat wave that we’ve had this summer in the last couple of months. The attendance has been down a little bit. It’s been extremely hot out there. The name is obviously a play off of that, and just trying to change perspective a little bit and give a pure art experience for this month.

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Why are you scaling it back?

In response to the heat, we’re trying to get people to go explore some other areas, go inside. In terms of scaling back, it’s the heat. The numbers have been down a little bit on the attendees as well as the vendors. And there are a lot of great galleries and places in the area that are indoors that have some great art and things to explore, and we just thought that a lot of people miss that. I think people just come and they go to where they know. Oftentimes and if they don’t know and no one’s telling them to go somewhere else, they just follow the crowds, and where they know, so we’re hoping to entice them to go explore a little more.

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