Each season, the Charleston Gallery Association holds an art walk in downtown’s French Quarter and beyond, a now long-time tradition and an event the city holds close to its heart. It’s not only a great way for tourists to see the city and all the art it has to offer, but it’s a chance for local art lovers and collectors as well to congregate, socialize over sips of wine, and check out each studio’s seasonal collections. The walk is held the first Friday every March, May, October, and December, so if you’re in town during one of those weekends, it’s probably a sign that you’re meant to make your way through the city’s best art galleries!
So how does the art walk work? As tried-and-true veterans, we have some advice on how to do it right.
1. Plan Ahead
The next walk is set for Fri. Oct. 7 and Fri. Dec. 2, 2016 from 5 until 8 p.m. There is a lot of ground to cover during these walks, so you need to do a little bit of homework prior to take-off. Plan before you go by grabbing a downloadable/printable map from charlestongalleryassociation.com. Browse the association’s site to see the sort of art each gallery has to offer, so you can tailor your own walk to your specific taste.
2. Make a Dinner Reservation
While some galleries serve snacks, most serve wine — and that means you’re going to need some sustenance come 8 o’clock. Good thing you’re in the best city in the States for insanely wonderful food, right? Some great spots near Broad Street include Husk, Slightly North of Broad, Magnolias, Cypress, Oak, and High Cotton — to name a few. On Meeting Street, we love F.I.G. And if you wind up on Upper King Street (the great Mitchell Hill Gallery is up that way), you can’t go wrong at Rarebit, Rue de Jean, Fish, or The Grocery.
3. Bring cash
You can’t plan love, can you? Meandering through some of the Southeast’s most stunning art galleries may make you fall head over heels for anything from a piece of jewelry to a grand piece of one-of-a-kind wall art. So plan ahead — and plan on the possibility of taking home some pretty unique souvenirs.
4. Wander Away
Simply start at any of downtown’s galleries, have a wander through the space, and mosey on through the city’s historical streets and to as many studios as you please. With galleries everywhere from Broad to Church to East Bay to State to King to Queen, you have your work cut out for you, but don’t ponder for too long at one spot or you’ll miss out on so much more. Some names to look for along the way include Ann Long Fine Art, Birds I View, Atelier Gallery, Courtyard Art Gallery, Grand Bohemian Gallery, LePrince Fine Art, John Carroll Doyle Art Gallery, the Audubon Gallery, and the aforementioned Mitchell Hill Gallery, which is further up King Street.
5. Take a Rickshaw
So you’ve done the walk and gone to your dinner reservation, right? Finish the night off right with a rickshaw to your final destination. There is nothing like a late-night rickshaw journey to top off an exhilarating night out in Charleston, South Carolina.
Will you make it down for a First Friday Art Walk?