After hours art walk invites public to explore downtown

Wichita Falls residents peruse the artwork at last year’s After Hours Art Walk. Photo contributed by Audra Lambert

Entering into Frank & Joe’s on bright, sunny, clear-skied Monday with her paint stained clothing, a friendly smile graced her face and reached her eyes. Wichita Falls Art Association president and muralist, Audra Lambert entered into the building wearing her red-framed glasses, ready to share her story.

“I want to encourage artists to come and let the public know about what they are and what they’re doing, and I want to encourage the public to come and have an art experience because I think it’s very important for both the artist and public to have that shared experience,” Lambert said. “Without the public, the artist has no one to show their work to and without the artist, the public has no art to look at. Art is important to everybody because no matter what profession you’re in, you can use art in your daily life.”

The Wichita Falls Art Association, along with many artists and businesses downtown, will be joining together to host the first After Hours Art Walk on Thursday, April 6. The AHA walk began in 2016 as a way to collaborate with artists and businesses in the community and expose the public to art. There is not one specific sponsor; the event involves many artists and businesses. The AHA walk began organically and has seen growth this year.

“It started out with a few locations on one block and then we had invited some artists to set up on the sidewalk at The Yard, last year,” Lambert said. “We had a lot of other galleries, studios and supporters of the arts join up this year.”

Each AHA walk begins at the farmers market with a spotlight performance beginning at 6 p.m. and this month it will feature Gymnastics Unlimited. However, attendees are encouraged to join the event at any time until 9 p.m. The hours were set to appeal to more people after business hours.

“Hopefully people will come downtown and explore all the different shops. Events like this create a sense of place and make you proud of your town. Wichita Falls has an amazing art scene and this is a great way to come out and see how much talent the community has,” Jeanette Charos, Wichita Falls Downtown Development Marketing Director, said.

One art student raised attention to a deeper meaning behind the purpose of art, beyond just entertainment, or a decoration for walls.

“Art is a passion. It is a pursuit that can take that which is wrong and ugly in the world and portray it beautifully, bringing awareness to the issues that are so often overlooked,” Emma Griffiths, painting senior, said. “Anyone can do art. It is a learned process, just as learning how to do addition and subtraction are learned. Fear is what limits us. When you let that go, you’re free.”

The event is free for artists and public to attend, and there will be a trolley available to take attendees around to the other participating locations that are not within walking distance. Street artists will set up on Ohio Street, between 7th and 8th streets.

“This is also a great event that showcases downtown businesses, so I encourage everyone to come out and explore downtown Wichita Falls,” Charos said. “It is amazing to see all the studios, galleries and businesses coming together to put on a a fun event for the community.”

The remaining AHA walks for 2017 will take place on May 4, June 1, July 6, Aug. 3, Sept. 7 and conclude on Oct. 5.

Participants in the April 6 AHA walk include:

  • Lilly Pad Studio
  • 9th St. Studio
  • Seventh St. Studio
  • WFAA Gallery
  • Kemp Center For the Arts
  • The Yard
  • Hello Again
  • Wichita Falls Alliance for Art and Culture
  • The Highlander Public House
  • Red Threads Embroidery
  • Tripped Out
  • Little h Creative
  • Keeno’s Jerky
  • The Kell House Museum
  • “Just Inside the Door Gallery” in Wilson Office Supply
  • Odd Duck Coffee
  • 8th St. Coffee House
  • G&R Cigars
  • Gypsy Kit
  • Gallery 8
  • Bountiful Blessings Gift
  • More to come

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