Your Artistic Passport To the 2023 First Fridays Fall Kickoff


Richmond, that vibrant crucible of culture and creativity, unfolds yet again in its monthly tradition: First Fridays. This season—ah, the dawn of Fall—the experience metamorphoses into an affair of citywide celebration nestled in the artsy nucleus of Broad Street and Jackson Ward. Whether you’re an art savant, a VCU freshman, or an RVA veteran, this evening beckons you to emerge from your cocoons and savor the curated splendors of art, music, and activism. Here, we unfurl an itinerary of your artistic quest this weekend.

First Fridays Richmond, VA 2023

Friday, September 1, 2023: 5:00 PM – 11:00 PM
200 West Marshall Street Richmond, VA, 23220 United States

Gallery 5 has been the OG anchor of First Fridays in RVA for nearly 20 years and this Friday, it’s turning into an eco-wonderland, packed with local mutual aid initiatives, artisans, and yes, food trucks. With everything from food justice programs like RVA Community Fridges to live tunes by Dhemo and A Light Sleeper, this joint is the heart of First Fridays. “After 13 years, we’re thrilled for this event to return with new collaborations,” says the Gallery. You got no excuse; they’re open till 11 PM.

Participants and merchants include:
Seasonal Roots
RVA Community Fridges
Richmond Food Not Bombs
Richmond Moon Market
Shalom Farms

Featuring Art By:
Julia Moore
Bizhan Khodabandeh

Food Trucks and Produce Stations:
Seasonal Roots
Auntie Nings
Farm to Family / The Farm Bus
Tiny Vegan Food Cart
Easy Squeezed
Unicorn Sweet Treats

Live Music By:
A Light Sleeper

Outdoor Merchants:
And over 40 other outdoor merchants organized by The Richmond Moon Market.
The entire side street of Gallery5 will be closed and reserved for local artisans, farmers, co-ops, advocates and more.

Image Courtesy of Candela Gallery – Artwork by Alma Haser

Opening Reception:
Angle of Draw by Shawn Bush
ALTERED featuring Justin Carney, Eli Craven, Alma Haser & Adriene Hughes
Friday, September 1st: 5:00 PM – 8:30 PM
214 W Broad St, Richmond, VA 23220

Candela Gallery is the ‘you-can’t-miss-this’ spot on Broad Street. This First Friday, they’re dropping two exhibitions. Angle of Draw is Shawn Bush‘s latest, and ALTERED. is a mixed bag of works by international artists. Justin A. Carney says his work portrays “a poignant and evocative portrayal of his personal journey that lingers hauntingly with nostalgia.” Sounds like a visual buffet you don’t want to skip.

“In and the disappearing has become by Justin A. Carney, the distinction between memory and the fleeting nature of life becomes indistinct, as seen through a sequence of misty familial landscapes and silhouetted figures. Carney layers mono-printing techniques to each photograph, followed by delicately sanding and painting the surface with sandpaper. What remains is a poignant and evocative portrayal of his personal journey that lingers hauntingly with nostalgia.”

“In Soap OperaEli Craven engages the viewer by obscuring the image through a series of circular cutouts and mirrors built into his intricately designed frames. From behind each set of peepholes and reflective surfaces, Craven compels viewers to engage with the imagery of vintage daytime soap operas (dating back to the 1980s and 90s) from various perspectives, thereby uncovering their concealed essence.

“London-based artist Alma Hasers project, Pseudo, offers a fresh perspective on conventional still-life photography with a combination of playfulness and therapeutic depth. Haser employs a method of dismantling and rebuilding each piece, involving intricate paper collages, precise folding, and re-photography techniques. This approach blurs the line in distinguishing which botanical still-life images are real and which are artificially crafted, resulting in a captivating interplay between authenticity and artifice.

“Secret Life of Trees offers viewers an immersive perspective into Adriene Hughes uniquely crafted photographic landscapes. Using infrared cameras, these dystopian landscapes come alive with an array of vivid hues, depicting a network of activity. Enhanced by intricate hand-embroidered details, every thread serves to link the myriad of living species, functioning akin to the communication network of fungi.”

Artwork courtesy of Andrea Donnelly

GEOLOGIC! by Andrea Donnelly
319 W Broad St, Richmond, VA 23220

Tucked on Broad Street, 1708 Galleryis rolling out some textile sorcery. Andrea Donnelly‘s Geologic! combines woven structures with architectural and geological vibes. “As these forms grow, their faceted surfaces suggest geodes and crystals,” describes the Gallery. It’s a place where art and nature decide to have a coffee together.

Geologic features new large-scale wall installations that combine Donnelly’s woven structures with her interests in architecture and geology. Inspired by photographs of building facades, Donnelly collages woven building blocks into larger forms that include elements like transom windows and doorways. As these forms grow, their faceted surfaces suggest geodes and crystals, animating the fixed qualities of the architectural structures.

Artwork courtesy of Michael Doyle (left) and Jillian FitzMaurice (right)

207 W Broad St, Richmond, VA 23220

Attached to the hip of the snazzy Quirk Hotel, Quirk Gallery is a double threat this month and actually has two spaces, a Main Gallery and the Pink Gallery. Michael Doyle‘s The Clock Chimes Twelve Times invokes nostalgia and the classic. Jillian FitzMaurice, on the other hand, ventures into the surreal and psychological, stating her work “draws inspiration from seeing the light and the dark in every situation.”

“My studio came together naturally as a way to share my creative practice and to create a storytelling with my paintings. Classic films, memoirs and forest walks are favorite forms of inspiration, creating a feeling of nostalgia and curiosity. When my art enters the realm of correspondence, it starts to become a collaboration, making you the author and me the illustrator, an idea I find very exciting.” – Michael Doyle

“Works are influenced by the surreal with touches of opulence. Depictions of floral, animals, and the human form. Draws inspiration from psychological ideas. Recently, focus has been on seeing the light and the dark in every situation. It started long before the 2020 pandemic, but lately feels very relevant.” – Jillian FitzMaurice

There’s your line-up for this month, RVA. Put down that remote, toss the takeout menu, and get yourself to First Fridays. It’s like Netflix, but for your soul.

Give First Fridays a follow at @rvafirstfridays
Give The Richmond Arts District a follow at @richmondartsdistrict

RVA Staff

RVA Staff

Since 2005, the dedicated team at RVA Magazine, known as RVA Staff, has been delivering the cultural news that matters in Richmond, VA. This talented group of professionals is committed to keeping you informed about the events and happenings in the city.

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