First Thursday at Midtown draws regulars with art, music

Whitney Shepard has a standing appointment for the first Thursday of each month.


“I love First Thursday. I’ve been coming to this event since it started. I love the variety of inventory in the shops, the friends I get to see,” Shepard said at the First Thursday at Midtown event on April 5.

On the first Thursday of each month, the Midtown Market on Kings Way and nearby shops stay open until 8 p.m. for the special event, which typically includes music, a featured artist and refreshments. A donation is also taken for a local organization.

There are about 40 vendors in the Midtown Market, featuring home and garden items such as antiques, paintings, furnishings and accessories, according to Tricia Hughes, the market spokeswoman.

“It’s a little bit of everything,” she said.

Frances “Panny” Force, the featured artist for April, had a lot of her artwork on display at her Midtown Market booth.

“I love Augusta scenes,” said Force, a retired Richmond County elementary schoolteacher, who paints watercolors. Her booth featured a variety of items including prints as well as giclee greeting cards of Augusta scenes and paintings by her mother, Doris Weltch. She also likes to paint New York City scenes.

Betty Snead, another First Thursday regular, attended the April 5 event knowing Force was the featured artist.

“I like to see the art, Panny’s especially,” she said.

She was also pleased when she discovered jazz musician Tom Rogers singing and playing the keyboard.

“I love his music,” she said.

While the event is free, there is a donation taken for an area organization. April’s nonprofit was Sacred Heart Cultural Center.

Gould Hagler, a Sacred Heart board member, dropped in to the First Thursday proceedings.

“Sacred Heart has always been blessed to be a cherished part of the community. Anytime anyone in the community volunteers to help Sacred Heart it means a lot,” he said.

In addition to the donation, there were tickets on sale for Sacred Heart’s garden show, which is April 27-29.



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