Spring Dates in Rochester

Thanks for joining me today for a Spring Date Night.  If you are visiting from Susannah’s blog, Simple Moments Stick, welcome!  I love new friends.  I hope you enjoy my date night as much as I did.
Now, I realize that every month has a first Friday – as well as a second, third, and fourth – but in Rochester, NY “First Friday” means more than just the end of the first week of the month.
First Friday is a monthly citywide gallery night that encourages collaboration between non-profit, university, and commercial art venues in Rochester, NY. This initiative showcases area artists and arts institutions by promoting the First Friday evening of each month from 6-9pm as a community night for experiencing art. First Friday ensures a healthy art scene and a healthy city through regular exchange and discussion between venues, artists and patrons. – from First Friday website

Over 25 galleries in and around the city participate.  Most galleries offer beverages including local wines or brews, and some even provide hors d’oeuvres. We even get to enjoy music by local bands and musical groups (music was provided by Bernunzios for our date).  Some months it is nearly impossible to choose, but his past Friday I knew we couldn’t miss the event at Rochester Contemporary Art Center: The 6×6 Party Month Kick-Off Event.  “March is 6×6 Party Month! Join us for an evening of 6×6 artwork-making!”  More about the annual 6×6 show HERE.

We each choose a local beer from Dundee Brewing and set off to explore.  First we enjoyed learning the art of the letterpress with representatives from Printing and Book Arts Center of the Genesee Center for the Arts & Education.  They had 2 trays of stamps to choose from and 3 ink colors.  I chose some ampersands and arrows to represent my blog, tidbits & scraps.  In addition to letterpress and book arts, the Center offers classes and open studio time in photography and ceramics.  I might have to sign up!

Next we tried out block printing with Jennifer Cichello from The Art Store here in Rochester.  The printing process is like rubber stamping with large stamps which are hand-cut out of linoleum blocks.  I had hoped to cut my own, but she had prepared several linoleum blocks to print with.  Sounds like an at home date night,in the making.  We made light bulbs!  Well, we printed light bulbs.

Lastly we tried something I have never done before: encaustic painting.  Rochester Art Supply did a mini workshop using Enkaustikos Paint Sticks.  This is a very interesting technique that can be used in so many ways!  We placed a 6×6 inch metal printing plate on an electric griddle (the kind you use to make a million pancakes on Saturday mornings).  We drew on the plate with the paint sticks which melted as we drew.  When we were done, we placed a piece of paper over the plate and gently rubbed it down.  The wax soaks into the paper and we had a beautiful piece!  Here is mine.

We finished our date with a little sushi not far from the gallery at one of our faves, Shema Sushi.  If you are in Rochester and love sushi you have to try them.  We discovered this treasure when it opened about 8 years ago.  It has since moved up in the world; out of the suburban village and into the city.  There is something very comfortable and authentic about Shema.

What a night!  Check out your local art guild or museum to find out if your city has a similar event.  Even if there are not specific city wide gallery opening nights in your area, you should be able to find gallery openings about once a month anywhere.

Looking for other spring date night ideas?  Check out Susannah’s blog, Simple Moments Stick, for her upcoming post with links to some great ideas for everyone.

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