Fridays for the Arts

April 2017
Written By: 
Sara Sobota

Head to downtown Myrtle Beach for the First Friday Art Walk

PHOTO: Senior students and art teachers from The Academy of Art, Science and Technology mingle with guests at Element Studio at the inaugural First Friday Art Walk in Myrtle Beach.

Downtown Myrtle Beach has potential as an eclectic, artsy area where visitors walk down Broadway Street browsing art galleries, stopping in for a glass of wine at a sidewalk café and enjoying boutique shopping. A group of local artists sees that vision clearly, and they’re taking concrete measures to make it a reality.

The inaugural First Friday Art Walk was held Friday, March 3, spanning the Superblock area of Myrtle Beach along Broadway and Main streets, as well as the adjacent section of Ocean Boulevard. Locally owned art galleries exhibited works representing a wide range of media, and restaurants housed artists on exhibit for the evening. Local businesses offered extended hours, and visitors were provided with a map of the area to guide their tour.

First Friday galleries include Element, TomTom Glass Studio, William H. Miller Studios and Fine Art, ART Burger, Palmetto Studios, Howard Gallery and Jack Thompson Studio. Restaurants include Sun City Café, The Chemist, Gordo’s Taco, Black Thai, Fresh Brewed Coffee Shop and Little Brazil Restaurant and Bar. Business sponsors include Art and Frame, Coastal Carolina Association of Realtors, Take the Trip, King One Properties International, Coldwell Banker, William H. Miller Studios and Fine Art, RJW Law, Bondfire Restaurant Group, Envents, Pop’s Glass and Coastal Carolina National Bank (CCNB).

Carl Kerridge, owner of Element and board member of First Friday Art Walks, said the event is designed to raise awareness and enjoyment of the arts both within the downtown area and throughout the Grand Strand.

“It’s the first time the downtown area has had an art walk in about 15 years; it’s geared toward locals,” Kerridge said. “And we want to be all-inclusive. We want the arts in this town to thrive collectively. So, for example, the artists in some of the restaurants represent galleries in Conway and The Market Common. We believe the arts as a whole just needs to be uplifted.”

William H. Miller opened his studio on Broadway Street three years ago, and since then he’s been working with other local artists to heighten the profile of the downtown area.

“I think we’re at that point now where there’s enough artists and enough restaurants and a very diverse group of businesses and individuals that can help the Five Points business district,” said Miller, who was instrumental in establishing a similar art district in Houston in the past decade. “We have a lot of hope that we can make this a fun venture and grow it significantly, maybe even offering food trucks and shutting down streets for events in the future.”

Kerridge plans to approach the city for support in the venture and also anticipates event growth as visitor participation expands each month.

“We hope the map of the event will grow so that it stretches from City Hall to 5th and Broadway all the way down to Ocean Boulevard,” Kerridge said.

The next First Friday event is scheduled for Friday, April 7, from 4–8 p.m. For more information, visit the Myrtle Beach First Friday Art Walks Facebook page.