First Friday: Uptripping, Framewerx host 2nd event next week in Winter Park
Celebrating art and artists is the goal of next week’s second First Friday event in Winter Park, while bringing out the community and contributing to local nonprofits.
Through their monthly First Friday gatherings, Uptripping and Framewerx, which make up an unofficial “art district” in Winter Park, have taken the first step to creating a community-wide event with the hopes that, once gaining enough momentum, it would ultimately benefit the entire area.
“What First Fridays would mean to Winter Park would be a community walk where all the businesses stay open on a Friday night and they do different things in their stores, whether it’s an activity or highlighting a new product,” said Shannon Foley-Henn, co-owner of Uptripping, the sole art gallery in Winter Park.
First Fridays can be found in most gallery communities. It’s the traditional time when they open their doors to debut a new exhibit of the month. Such events are popular in Denver and in many art-centric communities across the nation. But it grew into bringing communities together and leading to busier service at other local, non-art centric businesses, too.
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“It was benefitting everyone in the community,” said Foley-Henn. “It grew out of the art world into a community event.”
For the second official First Friday, to be held July 6 at Uptripping and Framewerx, the focus will be on local artists upcycling antler heads out of any material they desire. So far some of the pieces that will be up for auction are made from taxidermy, pulleys, washers, wood slats, spoons and wire.
Nibo, a Chilean born artist living in Denver who races in Winter Park, was the inspiration for the theme as he made an antler head out of recycled bicycle parts, an homage to the popularity of biking in Grand County.
His creation joins those from more than 20 other local artists for next week’s event.
Fifty percent of the sales made on First Friday goes to the artists, with the other 50 percent going to whatever charity they choose.
The inaugural First Friday event, held in April, focused on artists upcycling skis. Everything sold out that evening, with the gallery raising about $2,500 for charitable organizations and another $2,000 for the artists. Some of the artists even chose to donate 100 percent of their proceeds to the local nonprofits, which included Pet Pals, the Grand Foundation and others.
“It’s a non-intimidating way to get an artist out in front of the community,” said Foley-Henn. “As a local artist, it’s very intimidating to put your art work out there.”
But by doing it as a charity event, where the artist gets to pick the organization they want to support, “it’s less intimidating since they’re doing it for a great cause.”
It’s also environmentally friendly, with the artistic creations being upcycled, which is the process of converting old or discarded materials into something beautiful.
The cornerstone of upcycling is about being “green,” as Foley-Henn explained. “Especially in a town like ours, trash is such an issue,” she said. The idea is to exemplify the old adage of “one man’s trash being another man’s treasure.”
“If we could open Uptripping and be successful, not only are we repurposing and reselling some of the things that would have gone into dumpsters, but, through the chalk paint, we’re teaching people that they can give new life to a piece of furniture,” she explained.
That notion grew into the First Friday events as artists in the community started bringing upcycled pieces into Uptripping and showing what they were doing.
When Foley-Henn and her husband, Jeremy Henn, opened Uptripping just last year, the dream was to create a place where people would simply pop in each week and discover something new and exciting, almost like a hangout scene but with art and furnishings. It’s far from the stuffy, pretentious art galleries known in the art world. Instead, Uptripping and neighboring Framewerx, owned by Suzie Cruse, exhibit a quirky, casual atmosphere with fun, emboldened owners. Their aim is to cater to everyone, with pieces made ranging from 13-year-old artists to internationally acclaimed artists that don’t sell pieces for less than $10,000.
“It’s literally like our dream coming true,” she exclaimed. And First Fridays are a big part of that dream.
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