Fourth Fridays Art Walk in downtown Lee’s Summit wrapped up for its 2017 season last week with a high turnout, and the nonprofit that organizes the art walk events each year says it’s looking forward to next year.
“Art in the Alleys,” the theme of August’s Art Walk, was last Friday. It’s one of Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street’s most well-attended art walks of the year. At Lee’s Summit’s art walk, businesses host artists. Friday’s event also featured live music, yoga in the streets, an interactive mural for people of all ages to participate in and a plein air painting contest as GOT Art Gallery celebrated its 100th exhibit.
Ashley Nowell, assistant director at Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street, estimated that about 750 to 1,000 people attended the last art walk event of the year on Friday. The event was sponsored by Great Southern Bank.
“We have had a really great attendance this year. We’ve lucked out, and we’ve had great weather, and so in each Fourth Fridays, I think we saw an increase in attendees, so it’s been widely successful this year,” Nowell said.
Aside from an increase in crowds, the nonprofit said it has also had more local businesses participate.
Art walk typically attracts artists from the Kansas City area. Darla Zook, an artist from Garden City, Mo., helped organize the annual “Plein Air Paint Out” for GOT Art on Friday, and said about 20 artists participated in the contest this year, with at least one person who drove from Quincy, Ill. Artists were given a couple of hours to descend upon downtown and pick a scene to paint in hopes of receiving a purchase award at the end of the night. The contest was sponsored by GOT Art Gallery: Home of Summit Art and the Missouri Valley Impressionist Society.
“People are so friendly here and everywhere you turn, there’s something that’s cool to paint,” Zook said, as she worked on her own piece highlighting a tree in front of the Edward Jones building at S.E. Douglas Street and S.E. Second Street.
While Fourth Fridays has come to an end for 2017, Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street said it’s already talking about next year.
Nowell said the nonprofit is discussing themes with its cultural arts committee for next year. The 2017 season started in March with a theme called “Makers in March.” From there, the nonprofit had “Art in Our Schools & Alley Kick-Off,” “Music in May,” “Art for a Cause & Cocktail Crawl” and “July for Guys.”
“The themes that we did this year seemed to be really successful, so we’re trying to see if there’s anything else we want to do or if we want to keep these same ones,” Nowell said. “We’re also just trying to streamline the whole process — how can we work with our artists better, how we can work with our merchants better.”
For more information about Fourth Fridays Art Walk, including future dates and themes announced for the 2018 season, visit downtownls.org/fourthfridaysLS.