A Major Change To First Friday In The Downtown Las Vegas Arts District

Organizers of Las Vegas’ only ongoing monthly arts festival takes
necessary steps to preserve its future during tough economic times

(May 29, 2009) Whirlygig Inc., the nonprofit group that organizes the monthly arts festival now in its seventh year in the Las Vegas Arts District in Downtown Las Vegas, announced today that it will scale back First Friday’s offerings during the summer months in order to ensure the art festival’s future.

While neighborhood art galleries and artist studios, antique and clothing stores, and restaurants and bars will remain open from 6 to 10 p.m. on June 5, July 3 and August 7, welcoming the thousands of locals whose patronage of Downtown businesses is perhaps more important now than ever before, the outdoor portion of the event on Casino Center and Colorado Street with its artists booths, live music and street performances will be placed on a temporary hiatus due to lack of funding for the event. There will be visual and performing aritsts on the sidewalks and at surrounding venues.

Whirlygig Inc. relies heavily on generosity of sponsors and its annual fundraiser to provide the funding necessary to put on the event each month, especially the outdoor portion which costs upwards of $10,000 per month for such necessities as fencing, barricading and the presence of Metro officers to secure the safety of First Friday’s patrons. In recent months, sponsorship of the arts festival has gone down 40 percent, and the annual fundraiser (held in October 2008) raised 20 percent less than previous years’ events.

“It has always been the board’s goal to host First Friday every month, whether it’s an art walk and street festival or only an art walk,” says Whirlygig President Cindy Funkhouser. “It’s a challenging time for non-profits everywhere and we have chosen to be creative, to make a change that allows us to keep First Friday alive and to keep the Arts District the place to be on the First Friday of each month.”
Festival-goers will still find parking at the Clark County Government Center, where they can hop aboard a First Friday trolley and tour the Arts District or hop aboard the El Cortez trolley and visit the Farmer’s Market and neighborhood watering holes in the nearby Fremont East District.
For more information, please call 384-0092 or visit First Friday online at www.firstfriday-lasvegas.org, where you’ll find a complete listing of exhibition openings and special events.

Since it began in October of 2002, FIRST FRIDAY has only continued to grow. It is now considered the premier arts event in Las Vegas. From the shops and galleries on Charleston (the Arts Factory, S2 and more) to the new galleries on Main Street (Atomic Todd and others) to the spaces on Commerce Street (Commerce Street Studios), down to the whimsical offerings of The Funk House antique store, and the art galleries and vintage shops in the cottages on Colorado Street. While many people love to walk the neighborhood particularly now with our new beautiful streetscape on Casino Center, we provide arts tour trolleys that make rounds throughout the area and make pick ups every 15 to 20 minutes throughout the evening. And no matter how you decide to get around, you can always expect a diverse crowd, cool local art and plenty of surprises.

Here’s a good idea! Become a “Friend of First Friday” or make a donation so that this scaling back DOESN’T BECOME PERMANENT!