First Thursday ArtWalk
There are a couple of monthly events in Joplin whose names are so similar that people – understandably – tend to confuse the two.
Most people have heard of Third Thursday; held in downtown Joplin, this event celebrates the culture, commerce, and cuisine of our city, and it does so on a grand scale, offering a festival feeling which caters to people of all ages.
The other event,First Thursday ArtWalk,also celebrates the arts and culture of Joplin, but is does so in a more subdued fashion. I’ll sum up the general atmosphere of each event like this: Third Thursday county fair meets art festival; First Thursday hipster coffee shop.
I hope that’s at least a teensy bit clearer than mud. To get a better idea of what I mean, you can read about my experience at Third Thursday here, then read about my experience at First Thursday ArtWalkbelow and then compare the two.
First Thursday Art Walk
There were multiple art venues set up the day I went to First Thursday ArtWalk. I found a map of these venues online and printed it out before I left because I like to be prepared (later, I noticed that the maps were also available at the ArtWalk venues themselves). I said goodbye to my husband and kids, hopped in the car, turned on my music (not the unintelligible rap songs that my kids insist on playing), and headed downtown to to enjoy some grown-up time.
I began my First Thursday ArtWalk experience at Spiva Center for the Arts, where several artists had set up exhibits in the lobby, like Brenda Hayes who was selling her fantastical jewelry.
I also stopped and spoke with Jane McCaulley who was selling her whimsical glass work and offering visitors the chance to create their own glass pendants at her booth for just $5. I once took a class from Jane, and her awesome teaching abilities (and patience) enabled me to create a glass tray that I’m proud of and that I actually use as a serving tray when company comes. You can peek at it here.While talking to Jane and browsing through the exhibits at Spiva, I could hear subtle folk music playing in the background. I rounded a corner and saw the Ozark Bards playing in the corner, their live American and Celtic music adding a richness to the surrounding art on display.
From Spiva Center for the Arts, I meandered across the street to Create N Sip Studios.
Normally, this venue is a place where people can paint a picture or a sign while they socialize (and sip a grown-up beverage), but at this First Thursday ArtWalk event, people could shop for finished artwork to bring home.
Next, I popped into Joplin Avenue Coffee Company, where I saw the whimsical works of Charlie Zimms Art.
Most of the remaining ArtWalk venues were located on Main Street, and helpful sidewalk signs guided me to them.
Most of the remaining ArtWalk venues were located on Main Street, and helpful sidewalk signs guided me to them.I also stopped at the Urban Art Gallery, which features the work of area artists all the time and not just during First and Third Thursdays. There, I chatted with Kristin Girard from Kristin’s Laboratory (I’m obsessed with her jewelry), and saw the works of Linda Teeter, Debbie Reed, and other local artists.
Many of the artists that I saw at First Thursday ArtWalk I have also seen at Third Thursday events. This time, though, I had the luxury of taking my time to really examine and enjoy their work without kids vying for my attention.Like a real grown-up.
To read more about my adventures in the area, visit JoplinMOLife.com.