For the past two months there has been a new component to 4th Friday. While the monthly events that we’ve come to know and love downtown — the music, dancing, speakers, exhibits, vendors and more — still grace Hay Street and the surrounding area, Arts Alive has been added to the monthly event to share the world of art with the community in a new and refreshing way.

07-21-10-arts alive.gifArtists spend three hours, from 6-9 p.m. on the fourth Friday of the month making their art in the studios, in the galleries and even in the streets along Maxwell and Franklin Streets.

Arts Alive is really a way for us to accomplish two goals,” said Chris Kastner, executive director of Cape Fear Studios, one of the Arts Alive participating galleries. “It gives local artists a chance to exhibit their work and share their knowledge of their craft, and it educates the public about art which is part of our mission statement.”

This format is designed to bring a richer experience to the folks who take the time to come downtown and enjoy the monthly festivities. Coming to Arts Alive is the difference between seeing a pretty painting hanging on a wall and talking with the painter about their work and their technique as they mix shades of vibrant colors on the palette, layer them on the canvas and assemble an image, right before your eyes.

It is the difference between seeing a shiny, multicolored raku pot on a gallery shelf and watching the potter apply the fi nish, pull the pot from the fl aming kiln and scrub away the ashes to reveal a one of a kind vessel, explaining the process, entertaining questions and engaging the crowd the entire time. And on and on it goes. The woodcarver — why does he use that particular wood, is it native or exoti, and why that particular chisel or lathe? Where does the photographer fi nd her subjects, her inspiration? Why did the basket weaver choose the reed she did and why did she make the Nantucket basket instead of the Iroquois water basket?

These are questions that can only be answered by watching artists as they work, by asking questions and engaging in the process. The jeweler, the glassblower, the classical guitarist, the poet, the songwriter — who knows which one you will fi nd at Arts Alive and what secrets they will share with you … what lessons, artistic treasures and memories you will take home?

As the Arts Council reaches out to local artists and invites them to submit their works for jurying into Arts Alive, look for 4th Friday and Arts Alive to continue to grow and to offer new experiences. In fact, this month, on July 23, there will be a new exhibit space along Maxwell Street. Just across from the Arts Council Building parking lot. Look for a window display featuring the works of Arts Alive participants. As the number of artist participants grows each month, the window display will refl ect their contributions.

“This is really an attempt to reach out to local artists and give them another place to exhibit their work,” said Mary Kinny, marketing manager of the Arts Council of the new window exhibit. “While there are other exhibiting spaces in town, this is a way to tie those windows to our Arts Alive event. It is a way of having Arts Alive all month long and it gives a sense of the divesity of art that we have here.”

For more information about becoming involved in Arts Alive contact Ashley Hunt, Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County special events coordinator at 323-1776.

Greg Hathaway, a local artists paints on maxwell Street, while a musician performs.

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