The Downtown Bellingham Partnership has announced details for First Fridays, an expansion of the well-established monthly Art Walk program. As the name suggests, event celebrations occur on the first Friday of every month from 5:00 – 9:00 p.m. at participating venues in Downtown Bellingham. The new event format provides opportunities for all businesses to participate, regardless of whether they’re hosting a featured artist or not. Participating businesses will be highlighted as an Art Walk Venue or under broader categories like “Shop Local,” dining, one-time events, and more.
“First Fridays will provide a holistic opportunity for the community to engage with the city center, at a safe distance, while supporting independent businesses, our artist community, and cultural resources,” Lindsey Payne Johnstone, Program Director for the Downtown Bellingham Partnership, said. “We are grateful that we can leverage a successful, established program like Art Walk to promote and support the neighborhood as we march forward with recovery and looking ahead.”
Each month will feature fresh programming ranging from pop-up activities like the Rebel Artist of Whatcom markets in the Commercial Street Plaza, enticing food and drink specials, art installations, live projections, and a seasonal busking program.
“I’m grateful for the responsibility entrusted in me by Allied Arts of Whatcom County and Downtown Bellingham Partnership to curate a diverse series of raw and rare acoustic performances highlighting the creative genius of our shared scene,” Pace Rubadeau, locally acclaimed trumpeter, said. “While these shows will be free to the public, contributors are being paid handsomely thanks to a generous grant from the Whatcom Community Foundation who appreciate live entertainment should be better financially supported now that we know how life sounds without it.”
The artist lineup includes a variety of beloved local performers:
Pete Irving and Ani Banani (Hot Damn Scandal/Best Intentions); Peter Ali (Native American Flutist); Robert Lashley (Poet Laureate)
Lucas Warford (Three for Silver); Cayley and Clea (Giant’s Causeway/Wandering Seas); David Donohue (Singer/Songwriter)
Robert Sarazin Blake (Curator of Subdued Stringband Jamboree); Zach Zenovic and Michael Paul-Gurule (Nuages and Manouche N.W.); Lola Russo, Pearl Petaia, Moira Petaia (Three Little Birds/Harmonizing Covers)
Steve Itterly (Folk/Blues via Vashon Island); Strangely (Vaudeville/Storyteller); Louis Ledford (Roots/Americana)
Sofie Mae (Early Jazz/Blues via Seattle); Kurt Bello (Pop/Soul); Mostafa (Hip Hop/Spoken Word)
Performance locations will be announced monthly on the digital event map at downtownbellingham.com/events and through DBP’s social media pages @downtownbham on Instagram and @DowntownBellinghamWA on Facebook.
First Fridays are supported by Unity Care NW, the Whatcom Community Foundation, and Allied Arts of Whatcom County. “Unity Care NW knows healthy communities are connected communities,” Chris Kobdish, Director of Planning & Development, Unity Care NW, said. “We’re thrilled to support First Fridays and Art Walk for the enrichment opportunities they provide our friends and neighbors in downtown Bellingham,”