Gallery 11 is one of more than a dozen consistent stops on the First Friday Artwalk.

Photo by Margaret Hair

Gallery 11 is one of more than a dozen consistent stops on the First Friday Artwalk.

First Friday event offers exposure, if not always sales

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Past Event

First Friday Art Walk

  • Friday, March 7, 2008, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Depot Art Center, 1001 13th St., Steamboat Springs
  • All ages / Free

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— Ken Lee, owner and photographer for Gallery 11 on Lincoln Avenue, has sold a couple of pieces as a direct result of the First Friday Artwalk.

The monthly art showcase's full financial effect is harder to detect - art walkers might go home, measure a wall, and buy something the next week. They might tell a friend about the gallery or mention it loud enough for passing tourists to hear.

"It's not like we have a good sell point from the Artwalk, but they're coming, they're seeing, they know we're here and what we're doing," said Pat Qurioz, a framer at Gallery 11. As crowds have grown in Artwalk's three months of existence, so has local interest in the business.

"At first, I thought this was going to attract mostly the tourist crowd," Lee said. "But we've seen that about 80 or 90 percent of the turnout is mostly locals, and that's really encouraging for us because a lot of the locals don't get downtown very often."

Todd Savalox, who owns Images of Nature and sells outdoor photographs by Thomas Mangelsen, said it's possible that the increased exposure the event brings leads to eventual sales, but he hasn't seen any direct correlation.

"I can't say I've seen an increase in sales because of it. It seems to me that it's more of a social event," Savalox said. "But that's the way art walks are - you can get good exposure, you can get good traffic, but you don't get a lot of sales."

For those galleries and businesses outside of the few blocks that are most easily accessible for foot traffic, crowds have been slow to develop - if they're going to develop at all.

"The second one we had quite a few people. The first one and the last one, hardly anyone came," said Don Tudor, co-owner and photographer for Sleeping Giant Gallery, which sits in an enclave a few storefronts back from Lincoln Avenue, between Sixth and Seventh streets.

"It doesn't hurt to try. It might be better when the weather is better and the days are longer - we'll see next week," Tudor added.

Gallery owner Kimberly Saari, who recently joined Steamboat Springs Arts Council's marketing effort for the event, said she doesn't always sell work at show openings. That hasn't changed with increased traffic from Artwalk.

"Honestly, my sales come the day after or the week after. I really look at openings as social events," Saari said. "For me, generating sales and things like that are obviously my concern, but right now we're in the baby steps of this thing, and we're focusing on getting the word out that this is going to be a consistent event."

- To reach Margaret Hair, call 871-4204

or e-mail mhair@steamboatpilot.com

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