Farley Lewis is one of two featured artists at Fresh Gallery during September's First Friday Art Walk. (Photo: First Friday Art Walk)

Say happy birthday to Fresh Gallery and hello to The Downtown Church at First Friday Art Walk. 

This month’s event is Sept. 2, 5-10 p.m. First Friday Art Walk is a monthly effort in which galleries and businesses line up arts-related events across Downtown Springfield. The public is encouraged to walk downtown and pop into many in what organizers call a “self-guided tour.”

Lewis, Vowels featured at Fresh Gallery

Fresh Gallery, a cooperative gallery sponsored by the Springfield Regional Arts Council, first opened in 2009 but has been located at 401 North Boonville for two years now. To celebrate, they’re serving up refreshments and live music from The Paper Moons and featuring artists Farley Lewis and Cheryl Vowels.

Lewis is an award-winning painter. Vowels is a glass artist.

“When I look down a creek at sunrise and watch the play of light on the ripples, something stirs in me, not like a stomach ache, but more like an epiphany,” Lewis said in a press release. “I believe beauty is a gateway to the divine. When I capture in paint that glimpse of glory I see in nature, I’m able to invite others into the experience. I love that! And this inspires me in my continual pursuit of excellence as an artist.”

Vowels has been making art for more than 40 years, inspired by taking just one class.

“I was hooked,” she said. “I started in the traditional methods, but now my soldering pieces are of the contemporary nature utilizing the Tiffany copper foil method. My love of nature compels me to utilize stones, agates, shells, and anything I can wrap in copper. I let the glass and the pieces dictate the design, and it is when these connect that something truly beautiful is formed.”

The Downtown Church joins Art Walk

The Downtown Church (413 East Walnut St.) is the newest First Friday Art Walk Venue and they are celebrating in style. Check out classic cars, courtesy of Don and Becky Wilcox, and live music from Deja Crew. The church will also provide popcorn and lemonade during Art Walk.

BookMarx (325 East Walnut, Suite 101), meanwhile, will feature the work of Nicholas Struble, who paints in a style he calls “Abstract Realism.” The exhibition is called “Photo Album 2.”

“It’s been since 2019 since I had my first show at Rosette Studios, titled ‘My Photo Album,’” Struble said. “I want to show the second half of pictures I did not use the first time, and show the leftover pictures from my photo album.”

Glass flowers like these, from artist Cheryl Vowels, will be on display at Fresh Gallery during September’s First Friday Art Walk. (Photo: First Friday Art Walk)

‘Mystical’ work on display at Kokoro

Lovers of the mystical will want to visit Kokoro Training Academy (212 West McDaniel) for the work of Mekayla Tizen.

“I love to draw creatures, both real and imaginary,” Tizen said. “I’ve always had a love for the great outdoors and for grand fantasy adventures. I seek to capture that beauty and imagination in my artwork.

“I’ve drawn mythical creatures and animals since childhood, and during the last few years, I have focused on traditional line art. I recently began digital art, which has been my goal since I started adding color to my work.”

Don’t miss these galleries

Other locations open for Art Walk in September include

  • Brick City Galleries (215 West Mill)
  • Carolla Arts Exhibition Center (326 North Boonville)
  • Creamery Arts Center (411 North Sherman Parkway)
  • Drury Pool Arts Gallery (900 North Benton Ave.)
  • Formed: An Artist Collective (210 East Walnut)
  • Hold Fast Brewing (235 North Kimbrough Ave.)
  • Hotel Vandivort (305 East Walnut)
  • J.L. Long Traders (318 West Walnut)
  • Obelisk Home (214 West Phelps, Suite 101)
  • Park Central Branch Library (128 Park Central Square)
  • Ward YMCA (417 South  Jefferson Ave.)

For more information, visit the First Friday Art Walk website.

Jeff Kessinger

Jeff Kessinger covered sports in southwest Missouri for the better part of 20 years, from young athletes to the pros. The Springfield native and Missouri State University alumnus is thrilled to be doing journalism in the Queen City, helping connect the community with important information. He and wife Jamie daily try to keep a tent on the circus that is a blended family of five kids and three cats. More by Jeff Kessinger