Ask ten people what their favorite event in Findlay is and I guarantee at least 3 say ArtWalk, and for good reason. This laid back and fun event takes place in Downtown Findlay twice a year – the first Fridays in May and November and offer a slew of things to do during the course of the night. From live music throughout Downtown to art demonstrations to gallery openings, there is plenty to do! If this is your first time participating in ArtWalk – no worries! We have you covered with a step-by-step guide.
Step 1: Plan Ahead
A rookie mistake is to go into ArtWalk blind – there is no need for that! The Marathon Center for the Performing Arts has created a great guide to the event, with a map and a list of all the participating locations. With this map you can plan your route so you know which locations you definitely want to visit. Don’t have a printer? Head over to the Visit Findlay Welcome Center, 123 E. Main Cross St., and pick up a printed guide.
Step 2: Arrive Early
ArtWalk is a large event, it takes place all throughout Downtown. For the best chance to complete the entire map you will want to arrive as early as possible. The event officially runs from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. and you could spend four full hours going in and out of every participating location, and that is without shopping and having dinner. So make the most out of your time and give yourself enough time to visit all the artists, eat until full, and shop until you drop!
Step 3: See as many artists as possible
We know there are plenty of opportunities to see artists and their work during ArtWalk, but the trick is to see as many as possible. Luckily, there are ways to make best use of your time.
- Don’t miss The Jones Building and Findlay Art League – The Jones Building (#12 on the guide, on W. Crawford Street) houses many workshops for local artists and many of them will be opening their doors and giving you a peek into where they work and what they’ve been working on. The Jones Building is up a flight of stairs – so keep that in mind, especially if you have a stroller (I made that mistake during my first ArtWalk!). Right next to The Jones Building is the Findlay Art League (#11 on the guide), will be hosting their Fall Juried Show. This space is beautiful and the perfect place to begin your ArtWalk evening.
- Utilize Awakening Minds Art’s Drop and Date – My children love ArtWalk, it really is fun for the whole family. But, some of the spaces aren’t conducive to strollers or little fingers (and, let’s be honest, their little legs can slow you down!) so dropping them off at Drop and Date (#7) is perfect for all of us. Drop and Date offers children a supervised art activities from 6 – 8 p.m. for $10 per potty-trained child. Before and after Drop and Date you can still visit some spots the kids will love, like Seraphim Medical and Clinical Massage (#10) with spray paint art on canvas, St. Andrew’s UMC (#14) with interactive art for all ages, Jen’s Buggy Whip Cake Art Studio with some of cake artist, Jen Fulton’s, creations, or the Millstream Art Plaza (#21) to see artwork created by children!
- ArtWalk and Multi-task, shop while viewing art – It isn’t just galleries that will be open during ArtWalk, many of your favorite Downtown shops are opening their doors to artists and presenting displays of their own. Rieck’s Gallery (#26) will be participating in their last ArtWalk before closing their doors after 130 years. RooBarb Studios (#31), Trends! on Main (#24), The Dressing Room Boutique (#13), The Urban Market (#33), Flag City Clothing (#25), Smarty Pants (#30), and Objects of Desire Artful Living (#4) are just a few of the locations where you can shop while taking in the displays and live music!
Step 4: Participate, if you want!
ArtWalk has plenty to see, but it also has things to do as well. If you want to get in on the art action, don’t hesitate – jump right in! Many locations offer hands-on opportunities for you to participate in. I already mentioned Awakening Minds Art for the kids, during their Drop and Date kids will create a masterpiece to bring home. Coffee Amici (#9) will be hosting their weekly Open Mic Night, so sign up and prepare your pipes to put on a show. Did you know Painters’ Pottery (#27) has reopened in Downtown Findlay? Head to their workshop and paint your own pieces, which is fun for everyone in your party.
Step 5: Enjoy Dinner, and possibly a show, in Downtown!
When you’re planning ahead you will want to make plans for dinner, but don’t make them too early! You won’t want to cut into the time you have to see the galleries and artists. Also taking place in Downtown Findlay during ArtWalk is a very special show, Marth Reeves and the Vandellas at the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts. The Motown legend will be performing a special concert benefitting the Findlay-Hancock County Public LIbrary. This special concert will feature local talent as well – Martha Reeves will be opened and backed by The Flag City Rock and Soul Review, featuring members of the local Reunion band, as well as by her Music Director, Alonza McKenzie. The show doesn’t start until 7:30 so you can still enjoy much of ArtWalk beforehand! Very limited seats are still available, so purchase yours as soon as possible!
Step 6: Head home with plans to return!
Yes, ArtWalk is just a one-day event, but the fun continues! While all the businesses and galleries come together with extended hours for ArtWalk, many host artists, demonstrations, classes, and musicians every week. Don’t miss out on any of it by checking out our event calendar to see all the fun that is taking place in Downtown Findlay!
This blog post is written by Visit Findlay Community Relations and Development Manager Danielle Wilkin. Danielle is a reality TV aficionado, frequent Downtown diner, and a busy mom! That isn’t much, is it? See more about Danielle and read more from her here!
This article was originally posted on May 1, 2018 and has been updated.