Top Things To Do First Friday in the Downtown Core
April 28, 2016 by Fara Illich
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.