With initial goals accomplished, event looks to get organized, sell more art

When First Friday Art Walk started 11 years ago, Sally Dallas and Kris Horn had one goal: get people to downtown. Now with their goal accomplished, they have a new goal.

“We want people to look and enjoy, but we also want them to buy art. We want to encourage our local artists,” said Horn, Art Walk co-coordinator.
“I’ve bought until I can’t buy anymore. So Sally’s limited and I’m limited, so it’s my goal to let people know that they can just drink wine, look and eat nibbles, but if they see something they love they should buy it.”

But it’s taken a while for Art Walk — an event occurring the first Friday of ev­ery month showcasing local artists — to get to this place.

“We started with five (participants) the first six months until people started saying, ‘What’s going on down there?’” said Dallas, co-coordinator. “We gradually had people join in. Some dropped out because it doesn’t work for everybody. But that’s fine.”

Now there are an average of 30 participating galleries, businesses and wineries each month.

“I think that’s a good amount,” Dallas said.

With Art Walk taking January off, Dallas is busy organizing the next year.

“It has been in the past Jan. 15 (deadline for submissions) for February. I’m trying to push it out an extra month,” she said. “I’m trying to do month and a half ahead. So Jan. 15 I’m asking for March. I’m tired of being under that kind of pressure (scrambling to put together Art Walk in 15 days).”

So, she’s made a schedule for the year.

“It tells you exactly when I need stuff; I look out a full year ahead,” Dallas said.

But it’s not all scheduling changes. She said they are looking to add some more fun events to Art Walk as well.

“I want to do a couple more themed ones this year,” she said. “We’re thinking this year to do something for Valentine’s Day.”

Horn said perhaps one of the best Art Walks was Hawaiian themed.

“My husband had a store downtown for three years. I made the joke that obviously we’re not going to ever take another vacation so we did a Hawaiian-themed cabin fever party,” Horn said. “We ordered leis, grass skirts, we had blow-up palm trees. Next thing you know everybody wanted to do it. Our guests love the themed events.”

And although they are planning to put out an artist catalogue this year, they said they are always looking for new artists.

“I just think there is such a wealth of talent in this area,” Horn said.

For more information, visit www.newbergArt

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