Downtown Ithaca comes alive with art as part of First Friday Gallery Night on Friday September 3rd. In addition to the eleven new shows hosted by galleries and businesses from 5-8 p.m., and with an Art After Hours at the Wildfire Lounge running from after 9 p.m, the evening will offer a virtual museum of free public art. Music, print, photography, etchings and watercolors are just a handful of the wide range of media.
Even before Gallery Night officially gets underway, The City of Ithaca Public Arts Commission and the Downtown Ithaca Alliance will introduce the latest piece of public art with a special ribbon cutting ceremony at 4:45 p.m. Created by the Brooklyn based artist Jonathan Matas, the 30-by-16 foot mural is located on Green Street beneath the Aurora Street bridge and depicts scenes from the Underground Railroad in Ithaca as well as two prominent black leaders - Fredrick Douglas and Harriet Tubman. The entire project took approximately two months to complete and was supported by the City of Ithaca Public Arts Commission with funding provided through the New York State Main Street Program via the Downtown Ithaca Alliance. A brief ceremony at the mural site will take place with cake and lemonade in the butterfly/art alley connecting Green Street to the Commons; the public is invited to attend.
At the Ink shop (330 East State Street), artist Kadie Salfi will present "Apex Predator: Body Parts." According to the artist, her work explored the notion that "Humans are the world's leading apex predators...[and] are destroying the world's natural balance." A portion of all sales during the opening will be donated to WildAid, an organization whose mission is to "end the illegal wildlife trade within our lifetimes." The second Ink Shop production will take place downstairs at the Community School of Music and Arts (330 East State Street): "Through the Screen," a series of screen prints by Bill Davison, Steve Poleskie, Minna Resnick, Kadie Salfi and Christa Wolf.
State of the Art Gallery (120 West State Street) will welcome its second member show of the year featuring the work of over 25 of the Gallery's members. Further down State Street, Belle Melange (210 West State Street), will feature the watercolors of Camille Doucet. Doucet's work reflects her intense interest in both nature and art. An additional two new exhibits can be found on the West End at Ithacamade and the Frame Shop. Ithacamade (430 West State Street) will feature "Totally Tiny Totems: Promises of Enchanted Paintings and Sculptures of a Smaller Kind," while over on 414 West Buffalo St. the Frame Shop will play host to the photography of Dede Hatch. Hatch's work presents an exploration of the visually rich micro-environment that is discovered when plants respond to the weight of water.
Artistic creations inspired by recycled materials will be the focus of the two shows at the CAP Artspace and Collegetown Bagels. The CAP Artspace (in the Ticket Center in Center Ithaca on the Commons) will feature the recent work of Jane Dennis; "Painted Sculpture" takes a deeper look at the hidden personalities of familiar objects. Collegetown Bagels (203 North Aurora) will present Railey Jane Savage and her vintage, second-hand paper materials used to create funky, collaged still-lifes which are then housed in second-hand frames.
Both Sola and Titus Galleries will be opening new exhibits in September as well. Sola Gallery (215 North Cayuga Street) will present the work of Natasha Smoke Santiago, which draws heavily from her Iroquois heritage, history and teachings. Titus Gallery (222 East State Street) will feature antique etchings and engravings from the personal collection of Susan Booth Titus. Rounding out Gallery Night for September will be the work of Amelia Rosenthal at Greenstar/Oasis, the rural photography of Verne Morton at the History Center and the four artists of Goodworks studio who will be on or around the Commons performing live painting demonstrations.
Following Gallery Night, The WildFire Lounge will host the experimental jazz musicians Kuan and Matta Gawa of the Japanese psychedelic group Acid Mothers Temple; Keir Neuringer's The Love Story will open. The $5 show will begin at 10:00 pm.
First Friday Gallery Night is free and open to the public. All of the participating galleries are within a short walking distance of one another, and maps with information about the exhibits taking place at each gallery will be available that evening along the Ithaca Commons. For more information, visit the First Friday Gallery Night website at gallerynightithaca.com, or the Downtown Ithaca Alliance website at downtownithaca.com.