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Top Things To Do First Friday in the Downtown Core

April 28, 2016 by Fara Illich

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The Downtown Core (and nearby Warehouse District) are bustling with things to do for First Friday. (Photo: Nader Abushhab)

Roosevelt Row is the epicenter of all things First Friday, but sometimes venturing off the beaten path can pay off in fun and unexpected ways. From free admission at the Children’s Museum of Phoenix to shopping in a shipping container, the Downtown Core offers some artsy, quirky and educational experiences Friday, May 6.

40 X 8 Pop Up Container Shop / Civic Space Park / 11 a.m.-5 p.m. / Free

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State 48 will be selling the latest styles of t-shirts, hats, stickers and more at Civic Space Park May 6. (Photo: State 48)

Skip out of work a little early or indulge in some retail therapy during your lunch break — it’s Friday after all. Stark James, the architecture and development firm behind Containers on Grand, have partnered with local t-shirt makers State Forty Eight to create a mobile, custom-made pop-up shop out of a shipping container. Waffle Crush food truck and DJ T3 will be at Civic Space Park until 2 p.m. to help elevate your shopping experience. The shop is open until 5 p.m.

Target Free First Friday / Children’s Museum of Phoenix / 5-9 p.m. / Free

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The Children’s Museum of Phoenix is a fun, educational experience for kids ages birth to 10. (Photo: Flickr)

Load up the kiddos and head to the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, which is open to the public free of charge every First Friday. Explore 48,000 square feet of hands-on learning, art displays and play areas fit for the whole family, including specific zones geared toward toddlers and preschoolers.

Adults’ Night Out / Arizona Science Center / 6-10 p.m. / Free, $10 for access to Popnology

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The Arizona Science Center isn’t just for kids. Have a blast learning about 3D printed cars and self-driving vehicles May 6. (Graphic: Arizona Science Center)

Exploring the Arizona Science Center after dark already feels special. Add in the fact that it’s adults-only and there’s booze — and you’ve got the perfect date-night adventure. Enjoy access to four-floors of science fun, signature cocktails and discounted access to Popnology, a special exhibition focused on pop culture-inspired technology. The lecture series “The Future of Transportation: An inside look on how future cars are designed, built and operated” starts promptly at 7 p.m., followed by a discussion on transportation innovation.

Capture the Happy Hour / Herberger Theater Center / 6:30-9 p.m. / Free

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Explore the Walter bus and enjoy a cocktail on the patio of Herberger Theater Center. (Photo: Walter Productions)

It’s an evening of art, creativity and neon lights hosted by “Walter,” the world’s largest Volkswagen bus. Located on the beautiful Herberger Theater patio, enjoy happy hour drink specials, snacks and kid-friendly options. Bring the whole family to explore this 1960s-era converted firetruck, and learn about Walter Productions, the collaborative and whimsical maker group behind the Walter “art car.”

Release the Fear / Grace Chapel (Historic Monroe Abbey) / 6-9 p.m. / Free

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Release the Fear is a gallery and office space located in the only area of the Monroe Abbey currently open to the public. (Photo: Fara Illich)

Located on the corner of Monroe Street and Third Avenue, the beautiful Grace Chapel (which is rarely open First Fridays) is home to Release the Fear, an arts-centered nonprofit working with at-risk youth. Not only does the organization teach art, music and communication skills to kids in detention, treatment centers and schools, but some of their fantastic artwork is featured on the gallery walls and historic alter.

“For Closure” / Step Gallery at ASU Grant Street Studios / 6-9 p.m. / Free

For Closure

The thought-provoking thesis work of Jonah Amadeus is located at ASU’s Step Gallery in the Warehouse District. (Photo: Jonah Amadeus)

The Step Gallery at Grant Street Studios is really an artistic marvel in and of itself. In a converted warehouse just south of the Downtown Core, this exhibit explores modern Americana through ceramic sculpture and video installations. “For Closure” addresses issues of income inequality, predatory financiers and oligarchical policymakers in a thought-provoking series by Jonah Amadeus. This is his MFA thesis work for the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, and the show runs through May 8.

“Off the Wall” / Bentley Gallery / 215 E. Grant Street / 6-9 p.m. / Free

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Devorah Sperber’s “After the Mona Lisa 2” is one of the outstanding pieces featured in Bentley’s “Off the Wall” exhibition.

In a nearly 100-year-old former commercial laundry in the Warehouse District, the Bentley Gallery features gorgeous museum-quality exhibits in a variety of mediums. Whether it’s work on paper, metal or wood, the nine artists featured in “Off the Wall,” explore the relationships between color, form, the viewer, the wall, and the space in between. The exhibition, which runs through May 31, is all about the interplay of positive and negative space and the power of three-dimensional art.


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