First Thursday the new First Friday



The beginning of a new month can mean many different things. First and foremost rent is due, but the first Thursday and Friday of each month bring two events that highlight Oakland culture and arts.
Many people know of First Friday, a large event that shuts down Telegraph Avenue from West Grand to 27th Street in downtown Oakland. The event lines the street with vendors, artists, gourmet food chefs, musicians and creatives.
Beginning in 2006, First Fridays celebrate what makes Oakland unique and has been one of the Bay Area’s most esteemed events. It draws large crowds and is a family friendly event that really brings the community together.
Fewer people know about First Thursday, an event that feels like more of what the original days of First Friday were. It is a much cozier event that takes place in a different shop each month of the many businesses that line Grand Avenue close to the Grand Lake Theatre.
Starting in April of 2013, First Thursday began as independent art showcasings at Panorama Framing and ReBooty on Grand Avenue in Oakland. Since then the event has slightly grown and now a number of businesses on Grand Avenue participate in hosting the art walks, displaying work from artists all over the Bay Area.
The latest event on April 4 hosted the artwork of Carol Ladewig, who showcased some of her geometric designs. Ladewig depicted the abstract passage of time and the natural world, through her painted wood panel geometric pieces.
The vibe surrounding the event was much calmer than the frantic energy of First Fridays, but presented a nice way to unwind from a long week.
Kelsey Lynn, manager of Panorama Framing, said the vibe and the new art are key to First Thursdays.
“For me my favorite thing is seeing all of the new art that comes through these events. I have run art galleries of my own before and having the opportunity to see new work is always exciting.”
From 6-9 p.m., First Thursday offers free art, refreshments and the opportunity to take in the work of local artists. Lynn said First Thursday is specifically aimed at promoting the Grand Avenue area.
“First Thursday is something that the business owners came together to do for Grand Avenue locals specifically, but first Friday is more of an event for the entire city of Oakland.”
If you’re looking for more of a party atmosphere with energy, music and entertainment, First Fridays is your best bet. First Thursday is a more peaceful event that caters to art connoisseurs who prefer to sip a glass of wine and get a closer feel with the artists.