September’s First Fridays event has been cancelled

Because of recent unruly attendance and a fear of continued brash behavior, organizers and participants of the Art Walk have decided to forgo next month’s event in the hopes of continued discussion about the event’s concerns as well as possible solutions.

UPDATED: Christina Newton, director of Curated Culture, has released an official statement. See it below.

RVANews has learned that the September First Fridays event that was scheduled to take place during the upcoming Labor Day holiday weekend has been cancelled. Curated Culture members, consisting of business and gallery owners, as well as Downtown residents, voted that the recent rowdiness of crowd attendees, many of them juveniles, as well as safety concerns, influenced the board to discontinue the next event while further discussion can take place to remedy the issues. Future First Fridays events, however, have not been discontinued. Although Newton maintained a goal of continuing the programs, she also recognized the possibility that canceling the monthly event indefinitely may be a solution for Downtown businesses. First Fridays is in its 10th year.

Christina Newton, the principal organizer of Curated Culture, said in a telephone interview that community support has been a “morale booster during a very unique and difficult time.”

Another meeting has been tentatively scheduled for August 22, at which suggestions will be taken to foster improvement of the event overall. One member of the voting board, and owner of a business along the Art Walk, said that reader-submitted recommendations on our recent RVANews forum have underscored the need for continual discussion.

“The situation is really complicated,” said Newton. “There is no easy fix.”

Official statement from Curated Culture’s director Christina Newton

Organizers and participating venues of Richmond’s First Fridays Art Walk decided today (August 12, 2011) to postpone the September 2 Art Walk since the next event will fall on Labor Day Weekend.

As in years past, we’ve decided to take September 2nd off since the next event will fall on a holiday weekend. Slower summer months offer the businesses and organizations time to take much deserved vacations and tend to the necessary annual building repair work that the galleries require. A break also seemed practical in light of the fact that we have seen an increase in crime in the area during and after First Fridays hours.

The outpouring of community support for our program has been overwhelming and appreciated. We encourage the public to show their support of Downtown every day of the week, not just once a month. First Fridays is a unique way to take in all that Downtown has to offer, but our many diverse businesses, galleries, shops, cultural venues, restaurants, and accommodations are open daily, and need our support daily.

Organizational planning for the forthcoming 11th season of First Fridays Art Walk will continue as planned over the remainder of August and September. Assisting Curated Culture in this effort are representatives from the participating venues, sponsors, and city officials. Details of the coming season will be announced when determined.

Christina Newton, Director
Curated Culture, Inc. (coordinating nonprofit)

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