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First Friday Art Crawl

During the Oct. Art Crawl, the Tulsa Ballet performed at Gurthie Green for community visitors with no charge.

Art has an incredible ability to draw people together and build community in a way that nothing else can. Whether it’s through music, painting or performing, the arts cause people to experience new things together and appreciate the beauty in God’s creation.

The First Friday Art Crawl is a free event that occurs on the first Friday of every month from 6 to 9 p.m. in the newly renamed Tulsa Arts District in downtown Tulsa.

Many of the museums in the district have free admission during First Fridays. The Philbrook Downtown had its doors open to the public and attendees were able to walk through two of the main exhibits. To enrich the experience, the Philbrook provided question cards to viewers, allowing for a deeper appreciation with the art.

“I liked how they had questions for you to find the art that stood out to you and got you to look at the art on a different level,” said Deborah Bartruff, a freshman Early Education major. These questions listed on the cards encouraged analysis of how art affects each person differently.

The Woody Guthrie Center also had its main gallery open to the public, as well as featured a special performance by Amalgama, an authentic Nicaraguan band. They performed traditional Nicaraguan music which implements the trova rhythm, as well as contemporary pieces.

The Tulsa Ballet also performed on the Guthrie Green, where they had three different performances called “Shibuya Blues,” “The Dream” and “If.” Each was intricately choreographed and captivated the audience with every movement.

“It was cool to see the ballet perform on the Green, in a different atmosphere than ballet is normally seen in,” Bartruff said.

There were also various studios showing the work of local artists. One of the galleries was held at the Tulsa Artists’ Coalition, where an artist named Lucy Burgess was showing a collection titled “Solar Harvest.” Each painting captured the beauty and intricacy of sunsets.

“I’m afraid my paintings belie the true grandiose of the setting sun, yet I strive to capture it nonetheless,” Burgess stated in the pamphlet provided to viewers.

Many people had tables set up in the streets selling art, jewelry and other merchandise. Many of these booths were fundraising for various projects and trips. Along the street, there were arts and crafts stations and other activities for kids to enjoy, as well as a chalk wall for attendees to add their work to the Crawl. The wall allowed each guest to become an artist and share with the community what they are passionate about. It broke down the division between artist and viewer and allowed them to become one and the same.

This free event is a great way to build community, along with appreciating and supporting local artists. It also is a great way to experience downtown Tulsa and become more familiar with the community.

The next art crawl will be held Nov. 3. Artists who are interested in displaying art pieces can fill out an application at to participate in any of the community crawls.