Celebrating art through a downtown stroll is an excellent way to show support for the community and a fun way to go out on the town. Every month in downtown Anchorage, boutiques, restaurants and bars open their doors to their community to highlight local artists in our diverse city. This month is special in particular, with Fur Rondy events happening the same day. Wherever the evening goes, this March 4, there’s sure to be something downtown for everyone.
“I love that first Friday is a designated evening for boutiques, galleries and other venues to entertain the public. There’s a strong sense of local pride and community and it’s just an all-around good time. I also love the added perk of being able to walk so easily from once place to another,” Annie Obrochta, a UAA sociology student, said.
Starting at the popular downtown brunch spot Snow city Cafe is showcasing Shiree Farmer’s paintings from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. She incorporates earthy elements into her paintings, such as pumice, real birch, moss and mica flakes. There will be snacks prepared by Chef Becky, and a bar stocked with beer and wine available for cash purchase.
In a more residential area of downtown, the Bootlegger Cove condos from 5:30 to 8 p.m. are featuring art by Vonnie Gaither. Refreshments will be included.
Be sure to check the railroad depot-facing side of the Sunshine Plaza for Anchorage’s newest art gallery, Heart of the City. From 6 to 10 p.m. they will be highlighting art from Bisco and their own employee Mark Eaker. DJ Mach Zero will be providing music and entertainment from the Illaskan Assassins breakdancing group. The night is ending with comedian Brett Rawalt, who will be recording the show for a live album at the time. There will be food, as well as a bar.
For an Iditarod themed First Friday event, check out HM Bark on Fifth Avenue. The pet shop will be hosting a handful of Iditarod mushers and their dogs from 5 to 7 p.m. The August Foundation will be at the event with adoption information for retired dogs looking for homes. These dogs participated in either the Yukon Quest or the Iditarod.
Brown Bag Sandwich Company will have a unique First Friday hosted by Forrest Dunbar, who is running for Anchorage Assembly. The event runs from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. and will include food, drinks and music, all free of charge. This is a non-partisan event and everyone is invited to attend and encouraged to share their ideas.
Along Fourth Avenue, by the old theater, the eclectic Sevigny Studio will be featuring live music from UAA music student, Jonathan Cannamore. The event runs from 6 to 9 p.m. and will also feature L. Wadleigh Photography’s jellyfish collection. The photos will include a series printed on metal for purchase. Refreshments will be provided.
Fur Rondy events in downtown Anchorage are plenty. The Rondy Carnival will be open until 9 p.m. to satisfy your funnel cake and carnival game needs. The Great Alaska Talent Competition preliminaries will be hosted at The Anchorage Lofts Hotel. It is free to attend and runs from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. The competition will include Alaskans aged six and up. Register in the competition at www.greatalaskatalentcompetition.org.
The Melodrama is a Fur Rondy staple. Catch the evening show at 7:30 p.m. at the Snow Goose Theatre. The price varies from $18 to $23 per person. The show is “Pirates vs. Gold Miners: The Realest Alaska Reality Show.” Be ready to be pelted with popcorn.
Despite a lack of snow this winter, the snow sculpture competition is in full swing from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. along Ship Creek Ave., directly across from Comfort Inn.
The Anchorage Museum, at the heart of Anchorage’s Downtown First Friday, is open and admission is free to the galleries on Friday March 4.
“The museum is a cornerstone of downtown Anchorage. It’s a great spot and we have free general admission from 6 to 9 p.m. every First Friday,” Laura Carpenter, Anchorage Museum public relations manager, said.
This month the venue is hosting events ranging from Belgian-style beer tasting at the Battle of the Breweries from 6 to 9 p.m. ($5 for a flight, for 21 and older), to Astronomy Alive, a guided tour through space and time from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Admission is $6 and can be purchased online through the museum’s website.
In addition to the above events, the museum is celebrating “Elevator Music” and showcasing local artist Angeline Moore from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the museum’s over sized elevator. This event is free.
“Near The Bear” is a new family friendly exhibit that looks at the Arctic through a museum curated collection of animals and environments. This reception takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. and is free of charge.
The Anchorage School District art exhibition is having a 44th annual grand opening at the museum with an overall theme of “Selfie: Culture through Self Expression.” The exhibit coincides with National Youth Art Month. Live music will be provided by local ASD students at the reception from 6 to 8 p.m., and the event is free of charge.
With the Iditarod coming up, the museum is hosting local author and Iditarod racer Debbie Moderow, who will read from her new book, “Fast into the Night.” The event is from 7 to 8 p.m. and is free of charge.
With many more venues hosting First Friday events, a jaunt downtown on March 4 will be a great way to explore Anchorage culture and maybe even be surprise you. For Jake Hamaker, UAA English major and local musician who has played multiple First Friday’s in Anchorage’s downtown, First Friday offers both artists and explorers an experience that they may never forget.
“It’s a chance to share their craft with an audience that they might not have otherwise been able to reach,” said Hamaker. “What it offers the community is the opportunity to meet the artists walking around them that they might not have known about. I remember I once played a First Friday and after singing this tune I wrote, this guy was real impressed. He later got a hold of me and asked if he could read the lyrics at his father’s funeral, which really kind of blew me away. I don’t know what kind of word you put on something like that, but that’s community right? I guess there are others who go out on First Friday, without any kind of expectation of being affected in some heartfelt way, but then something catches their ear… I guess maybe it has a way of strengthening the community in the way that we’re sharing experiences.”
Coinciding with Fur Rondy, this month’s First Friday is an excellent opportunity to get out and explore downtown and experience local artists as they share their craft, and experience a traditional and cultural Anchorage event at the same time.