Adrian First Fridays start March 2Written by Brigitta Burks | News Editor | BBurks@toledofreepress.com
Parts of Main and Maumee streets in downtown Adrian will turn into an art gallery starting 5 p.m. March 2.
The first installment of the Adrian First Fridays art walk features artwork displayed in local businesses, musical performances and an open-mic session.
Erik Gable, special projects editor for The Daily Telegram in Adrian (and a Toledo Free Press Star contributor), and Jackie Koch, a freelance writer at The Daily Telegram who also works at Lourdes University, came up with the idea while at a bowling alley one December evening.
Gable had experienced art walks in Fairfield, Iowa, where he once lived.
“It really grew into a major monthly event and a major point of pride for the community, so I was interested in doing something like that in Adrian,” he said.
“We didn’t want it to be a retail promotion, we wanted it to be an offering. The benefit to businesses is that the businesses will be more visible,” said Koch, who began organizing open-mic sessions in Adrian last March. The two approached Chris Miller, the Adrian Downtown Development Authority and Economic Development director, and Elizabeth Arnold, communications and marketing coordinator for the City of Adrian, for help. Together, they got the Lenawee Council for Visual Arts, the City of Adrian, the Croswell Opera House, the Adrian Symphony Orchestra, Adrian College and Siena Heights University to form a planning committee.
The first event will occur alongside the city’s annual “Wine About Winter” event, featuring wine tastings at area businesses. Art walk highlights include Toledo native Charles T. Gabriel Jr.’s display of landscape photography at the Adrian Public Library, oil paintings by Michigan artist Margaret Davis at the Lenawee Council for Visual Arts Gallery inside the Croswell Opera House and Toledo jazz singer Cynthia Kaay Bennett performing at 8 p.m. at Sauce Italian Grill & Pub. An open-mic session is also set for 6:30 p.m. at the Adrian Public Library. Middle-school students will kick off the open-mic session with poetry readings.
Upcoming months will have a theme to tie the walks together. April is “Forever Young” with family-friendly activities and May is “Swing into Spring” with a focus on music and dance. Each event is slated for the first Friday night of each month.
“It’s a really exciting time for downtown Adrian. It’s a lot of good things coming together at once,” Gable said.