Featured photo: A tribute to the late Keith Haring, by Hugo Medina. From the HIV/AIDS-themed show at Olney Gallery.
First Friday on Roosevelt Row never lacks for contemporary paintings, sculptures, installations and photography that draw favorable comments from the hordes of people that trek through the eclectic galleries. Plentiful, too, are the edgy, controversial works that may or may not have as many admirers, yet all the galleries coexist just fine and things are generally convivial.
The climate was considerably different during the art walk for December 5, 2014, as hundreds of people marched along downtown streets to protest police killings in Ferguson, Missouri, and other cities. Reportedly, the march started small, then drew many of the young adults who happened to be on hand for the art walk. By the time the march made it to Third Street and Roosevelt, the protesters staged a lie-in that stopped all traffic.
Maybe it was just me, but I felt the tension, and I couldn’t get over the sight of dozens of police officers, many with riot gear at the ready. I assume the chanting, peaceful protesters got their point across (the media were out in force), and I hope the march did not upstage the artists, food trucks, musicians and crafts vendors.
I unsteadily took my photo of the protest and moved on. Fortunately, it was a great night for art, and I had a chance to step into a few newer galleries, the New Kids on the Block, so to speak. Here’s the rundown on the evening through a mess of photos, and as you can see, I concentrated on getting the artists themselves into the shots.