In the midst of all that college stress, there is a street art festival a mere 10-minute walk away from the Downtown campus. First Friday showcases a flourishing environment filled with singing, dancing, painting and any other art form you can imagine.
For me, First Friday is reminiscent of home. I hail from the San Francisco Bay area where these kind of events happen all the time.
Now, Phoenix is no San Francisco, but First Friday allows the people living here to get a true feel for vibrant city life.
In addition, First Friday adds to the quickly evolving arts community in Downtown Phoenix. The many perks of First Friday include free admission to the Phoenix Art Museum. However, most of the festivities happen on Roosevelt Row.
There are dozens of vendors along Roosevelt, selling interesting handmade goods from rock necklaces to shirts that display a love for marijuana. Meanwhile, various artists from different backgrounds cover the streets with their creations.
Food trucks rule Roosevelt Row offering delectable eats for every taste bud. You’re also sure to find singers and musicians setting up up camp on the sidewalks, showcasing their audible arts for the First Friday crowd.
One of my favorite places is 5th Row Dance Studios, offering weekly hip-hop dance classes. I’ve only been there once, but I will never forget the First Friday that I was there. They showcased poets, rappers and dancers before finishing off the night with a dance performance by their own crew.
I also like to make a point of swinging by Lawn Gnome Publishing—a bookstore on Fifth Street. The unassuming bookstore comes to life on First Friday. In front of the building, you’ll find artists and live music.
Overall, the experience makes for a well-needed break from academia—delving into a Phoenician culture more alive than ever before.