Dubuque’s First Fridays

DUBUQUE- Local artist, Amanda Steines has been doing art for most of her life. Though she’s shared her work with the public before, she still gets nervous when her art is featured in a gallery.

“It kind of feels like someone is reading your diary,” she explains. “It’s the most stressful part. I could sit at home and make art alone all day long and be completely satisfied with that. But it’s knowing that people are going to be making their own opinions about it, and knowing that not everyone is going to like it.”

Steine’s work was featured in the recent city-wide event, First Fridays. First Fridays is a monthly celebration of the arts that takes places at venues all over town. This April, events were held at Inspire Cafe, Carnegie-Stout Public Library, Outside the Lines Art Gallery, and the Dubuque Museum of Art.

Katherine Schroeder works for the Dubuque Museum of art, and serves on the First Fridays committee. She knows how important these types of events are, not just for the artists, but for the public.

“Sometimes they (people) have this concept of the arts as being something that’s ‘not for me,’ or that ‘I need to know certain things.’ It’s breaking down barriers is how we put it,” Schroeder explains. “You don’t have to have an expert knowledge, you can just come and have a good time.”

The events change every month, but vistors can expect to enjoy exhibits, gallery talks, live demonstrations, film screenings, and even wine tastings. It’s all part of an effort to support the work of local artists while bringing art to the public.

“Just think of it as a second living room where you can just invite friends, have a shared experience, and have a little fun,” said Schroeder.

While guests get to enjoy all that these artists have to offer, for up and coming artists like Ron Nichols (who showed his first exhibit last Friday), these events mean a little bit more.

“I am excited. I’m nervous. I’m proud,” said Nichols. “I just want to share my God-given talents with those interested in looking at them.”

To learn about upcoming First Fridays events and featured artists, click here.

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