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! Download your map here – or check out the virtual listings (and all the vital details) at VisitFindlay.com/ArtWalk. 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., to 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 begins at 5 p.m. and most locations close at 8 or 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 (#24 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 (#9 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 (#4) 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 will want to make sure to visit the locations that are kid-friendly, especially the children’s activities at Hancock Historical Museum (#19), the living characters courtesy of Party with a Princess at First Glance Ultrasound Studio and Boutique (#13), Table-side magic by Excellent Elizabeth from 6 – 7 p.m. at Coffee Amici (#6), the Children’s Survivor Artwork courtesy of Open Arms at Wish Children’s Boutique (#43), and the rain barrels painted by area students located in the Hancock Hotel (#20)
- 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. Wish Children’s Boutique (#43) is Downtown Findlay’s newest location and they are participating in their very first ArtWalk with a special display of artwork created by children who have survived domestic violence. The Urban Market (#41), Trends! on Main (#40), Thistle Exchange (#39), Smarty Pants Findlay (#37), RooBarb Studios (#35), Objects of Desire Artful Living (#31), Journey’s Salon’s Free Trade Boutique (#26), Flag City Clothing (#14), Creative Fringe (#7), and Cammys (#5) and 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 (#6) will be hosting their weekly Open Mic Night, so sign up and prepare your pipes to put on a show. At Painters’ Pottery (#33) you can paint your own pottery pieces, which is fun for everyone in your party – read about our blogger, Sarah Mayle’s experience here!
Step 5: Keep an eye out for Tiny Art!
Something really fun to keep an eye out for this year is small canvases of art (think 1 inch by 1 inch) that when collected and put together make a mural created by the Tiny Art League! Locations that are hiding the art are indicated by a palette on the map and will also be hidden along the sidewalks in Downtown. Limit yourself to one piece so as many people as possible can join in on the fun and take your piece to Jack B’s (#22) on E. Sandusky St. to place your piece to complete the mural before 8 p.m.!
Step 6: Enjoy Dinner and Music in Downtown!
There is a lot going on ArtWalk weekend in Findlay and Hancock County. It is graduation weekend for both University of Findlay and Bluffton University – so make your reservations now! If you aren’t able to snag reservations take advantage of the grab and go spots in Downtown like Dougie Johns, Joey Fratello’s, Jack B’s, and We Serve. Coffee. Also available are food trucks – Dixie Girl Truck will be in the First Federal Bank Parking lot on South Main Street and Pull Up & Grill and Taco Fiesta will be in the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts back parking lot along Front Street. The Hancock Hotel will also be offering food in their lobby to enjoy while you check out all of their ArtWalk activities and for the road!
Many locations will be hosting musicians and performing artists throughout the night. Make plans to check as many as possible, including Open Mic Night at Coffee Amici. There will be a brass trio and woodwind ensemble from Heritage Christian School in Latham Courtyard early in the evening and Liberty Benton’s A Capella group will be at Hancock Hotel at 6 p.m. There is also a comedian and magician on the books!
Step 7: 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.