The Artside: First Friday is overflowing with events for arts lovers

This week marks one more trip around the sun for me. July has always been a month of celebration in my family with birthdays galore. We celebrate the nation’s, followed by mine on the 5th, my mother’s on the 20th, my brother’s on the 24th. My late grandfather and an uncle also had July birthdays. And don’t get me started on the July anniversaries. You get the idea. There’s always been a lot of cake, ice cream and good times in July.

 

This year is no different. I’ll milk the festivities as long as I can to make a birthday month out of it, and there’s plenty to do this first weekend of July to do it economically as well as celebrate some fabulously talented Augustans.

I plan to make a trip to First Friday as part of the birthday weekend, and I hope that I have time to take in all of the events on the schedule. It looks like it will be a packed night, and I should get in lots of steps venturing down Broad Street and beyond.

My first stop will probably be Wolf and Finch, 859 Broad St., where I’ll celebrate someone else’s July birthday a few days early.

Leonard “Porkchop” Zimmerman, who has a birthday on July 24, has collaborated with a recent Augusta University art grad, Leah Schaffer, for a new look at a familiar face. Face Value: Screen-printed Variations of the Happy Smile will be available between 5 and 9 p.m. July 7.

“It’s similar to what Andy Warhol did,” said Leonard. “Find an image and silk screen it with color variations.”

When talking about the Happy campaign, he exudes a giddy excitement, and there were quite a few giggles when talking about the color combinations that Schaffer put in the prints.

There are three sets of 35 each of art prints with names like “Pumpkin Spice,” which has a basic color palette; “Rainy Day,” which has some transposed colors; and “Prom Queen,” with a color blend from the the neon decade of the 80s.

“It’s 1980s prom queen, and it’s my favorite,” he said.

Then, there are 10 one-of-a kind works with colors chosen by Schaffer.

Face Value is sort of a misnomer because simply taking the art prints at their face value wouldn’t be as much fun. Zimmerman wants everyone to take a closer look.

“There are lots of Easter eggs in them,” he said.

At 600 Broad, Ruby Culpepper, also known as RuCu, will have a solo exhibition called Nasukashii, showcasing some recent work as well as some of her older pieces.

Childhood fears will be at Artus Gallery at 1155 Broad St. The show features the works of A.C. Daniel and Dawn Cardona.

Three of the four artists I just mentioned are featured in more than one show this month. RuCu, Zimmerman and A.C. Daniel all have works in a show at New Moon Cafe, in addition to their own. The Seven Monkey Fury Show pays tribute to a libation of the same name – the cafe’s Seven Monkey Fury coffee. Artists including Macy Goodwin, Frank Williams, Shawn Allen, Jackie Mayo Van Dyke, Ron Vaz, Anna Patrick, Rick Stahman, Ron Turner, Erica Pastecki and Jay Jacobs have created works for this show.

In addition, Chris Hardy has written several coffee-related songs for a concept EP called Seven Monkey Fury. The five songs follow a “coffee lover’s journey through different times in the workday where one might turn to coffee for that boost to keep them awake and employed. The musical styles represented are Lounge/Pop, Driving Rock, Pop/Rock, Dream Pop and Funk,” according to the Facebook event post.

If you’ve never heard Hardy, do yourself a favor and drop by New Moon. His songs will put a smile on your face.

And if you want to participate in music, there’s the drum circle from 6 to 9 p.m. at Sky City.

Also on Broad Street, check out Esteban Patino’s Black/White/Read exhibition at the Westobou Gallery on July 7. Exhibit curator Shannon Morris will stop by to give a talk at 6 p.m. on July 14.

For off-Broad Street activities on First Friday, there will be an open house from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Jessye Norman School of the Arts. There will be collage making, rock painting, swing dancing, live music and hot dogs.

And a couple of doors down from the Jessye Norman School, Le Chat Noir joins in the First Friday fun with the Schrodinger’s Cat improvisation troupe from 8 to 11 p.m.

Whew! That’s just one night. Somehow, I don’t think one night is long enough to get to see all of this. Do me a favor and show this to the people who say there’s nothing to do in Augusta.

Don’t forget about First Thursday at Midtown Market and Unique Antiques either. It will be from 5 to 8 p.m., July 6. The featured organization is Julie’s House, Inc. Julie’s House offers assistance and support to homeless women and their children by providing shelter, food, clothing and support services.

The art of Pansy Force, Lucy Weigle, Doug Larson, Dick Dunlop, Dee Dee Seals, Donna Whaley and Dan Dyches will be featured.

Upcoming at Sacred Heart Cultural Center is an exhibit featuring the works of Ann DeLorge, Nancy Hoehn and Susan Johnston. There will be a reception from 5-7 p.m. July 13.

Ron Jones, the founder of Columbia County Ballet, sent me an email about the passing of Hazel Gronert on June 9, just a few days short of her 96th birthday.

Gronert was a champion ballroom dancer who passed on her love of dance to her children and grandchildren, many of whom performed with Columbia County Ballet over the years. Her daughter, Charlotte Carr, was a founding member of the CCB’s board of directors, and Gronert’s grandson, Gavin Carr, is in a pre-professional ballet program in Florida.

And some of her ballroom dance attire made it into the company’s costume closet. It was later transformed into a Russian costume for his version of The Nutcracker, the only time a female lead ever got to be Russian. Usually, it’s a male dancer who takes on that role. That was in 2013, and the Russian lead was none other than my daughter, Allie Brackett.

 

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