Brian “Paco” Alvarez commits to the First Friday cause. “We want the rest of the city to subscribe to downtown and come for these special events,” he said.
LIVE, DIE, WALK: Brian “Paco” Alvarez, the local curator and historian, who also sits on the Las Vegas Arts Commission, considers First Friday so important for the city he’s only missed five in 12 years. Getting the First Friday logo tattoo in time for Friday was, for him, a small token of appreciation to the event. “It’s complete revolutionized arts in the community by making art available to the masses,” Alavrez added. “Most of the population, they like art, but feel intimated going to a gallery or a museum.”
First Friday began so galleries could coordinate opening their doors once a month and pull in people to a forgotten part of town. Of course, as they became popular, crafts sellers and food trucks came in. But the real performance art is the crowd in the middle of car-centric culture. Walking within Piet Mondrian-like grid of streets first built for foot traffic or horse-driven transportation, social interaction thrives and older corridors are revived.
For the opening night of First Friday's 12 year, Alvarez co-curating programming under “Time, Mythology and 12” , a night that included live painting in the streets. That made a connection between murals and the role of an art walk. “It democratizes art. It’s not high brow, and it’s not low brow; it’s no brow,” Alavrez said.
Miguel Hernandez stenciling "First Friday" in the courtyard at Zappos.
Sean Barilleaux concentrates on his mural at First Friday. The 14-year-old artist was being mentored by Juan Muniz.
Tim Bavington and Maureen Halligan at October 2014 First Friday. Artist and emerging artists shared time and space to mark the 12th anniversary of the downtown Las Vegas art walk.
Omayra Amador committed to canvas on Boulder Ave near Art Way.
Above: Krystal Ramirez “I Want to See More Brown Bodies” from 2017 will be reassembled at UNLV’s Barrick Museum of Art in Spring 2018.