By NICK BUDD
Pleasant weather and a bit of culture lured people downtown Friday night for the annual Hays Arts Council Gallery Walk. More than a dozen businesses opened their doors for the annual event and, despite a decrease in attendance and a smaller number of displays, HAC Director Brenda Meder said the event exceeded expectations.
“I don’t think anybody from any other community would look at this and say this is small,” she said. “Granted, it is smaller than our spring and fall walks, but I can’t believe how many people have come out tonight.”
The Hays Arts Center on East 11th featured “High Wings Wetlands” paintings by Doloris Pederson and Monotype Print Exhibitions by Fort Hays State University art students. Other events included a community acoustic session at Salon Ten-O-Seven on Main Street, various live concerts at Gella’s and Singer’s and other exhibitions at various locations downtown. Meder said the annual event keeps getting bigger.
“These have continued to grow exponentially throughout out the years,” she said. “But … this is the biggest summer walk that we’ve ever had.”
Meder also mentioned that the success of the walks aren’t necessarily about the quantity of exhibitions, but more so about the quality of both the art itself and the experience that artists have.
“The caliber of the art tonight is as high as it has ever been on any walk. Just not as many places, but the ones we have got, they’re top-notch,” she said. “It’s about quality experiences. That quality art might come from the hands of a child, high school students, undergraduates at the university or even at the hands of a professional. It could even be young singers who are playing some acoustic guitar. … Quality can take on a lot of connotations, and when you’ve got a community that comes together with this much passion, energy and appreciation for the arts, no matter how you slice it, that’s quality.”
Plans are already underway for the Fall Gallery Walk, which will be in late August or early September.