Beth Meadows

First Friday in Knoxville

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If you are a reader of this blog who doesn't live in Knoxville, I'd like to fill you in on one of my favorite things to do here: First Friday. 

Every first Friday of the month, businesses and galleries in downtown Knoxville hold art art openings and receptions. It's the kind of area-wide event that I can go to with people or alone because I know there's lots to see, eat, and drink, and I'll always run into people I know- friends, acquaintances, artists, and former professors. I love it. 

Nostalgia on McCalla

Most of the time, places are packed, but in the colder months, crowds are more sparse, so I was grateful this past First Friday to see a lot of life and zeal.

I went to my first First Friday at Nostalgia on McCalla, where I have a booth, and was incredibly impressed. While they may not have an official artist on display there each month, their intention is to showcase the vendors all ready there... and to have a really great time.


The incredible spread at Nostalgia on McCalla

I've shown artwork for years in multiple places all over Knoxville for First Friday. Some venues have been great, others, not so much. 

I do understand how it could be easy to burn out by hosting First Friday each month. First you're dealing with artists (I know how difficult this can be because I am one and have also dealt with many). Second, you are putting on a party for hundreds of people, providing them with food and wine.

I've noticed a lot of places over time won't hold First Friday each month, or they provide less food and/or no alcohol. It's understandable, but in some ways works since I feel like the night should be about artwork and not how many meatballs and cheese cubes you can fit in your stomach.

Booth at Nostalgia on McCalla

With that said, I was amazed by the food and drink selection at Nostalgia. They came out with their boxing gloves on, and I did not hesitate to reap the benefits of the bounty of free meatballs and beverages.

Each First Friday at Nostalgia will be put on by different vendors, so hopefully that will prevent burnout. (I'm afraid whenever it's my time to host, people may be disappointed to see a huge bowl of Goldfish and boxed wine.)

Ridiculous amount of beverages to enjoy

One of my favorite stops during First Friday is the Fluorescent Gallery on Central. Here are a couple of photos from the show last Friday.

Fluorescent Gallery

The work on display was by Knoxville artists Carri Jobe, John Bissonette, and Herb Rieth. I really like their work.


I love Fluorescent because, while not all art displayed in Knoxville hits a high standard, Fluorescent is at the very least conscientious of art relevant to today. It's off the beaten path, so the downfall is that it won't teach anything to mainstream Knoxville about art, but at least those informed make the point to go there. It's a breath of fresh air here in Knoxville, Tennessee.

I'll end with this photo of my friend Austin and me at Nostalgia. They had a "photo booth" with a leprechaun. No lie, when I told him he was a little creepy, he said in an Irish accent, "I'll see you later... in your house!"

Here's to fun and bizarre First Friday memories.