Although Raleigh’s First Friday arts walk is the most prominent by size and age, a number of cities and towns across the Triangle have their own monthly art walks now.
To avoid direct competition with Raleigh, the others are scheduled on Fridays other than the first. With a little planning, art lovers can take in galleries, music and food somewhere in the Triangle every weekend.
Here are other monthly arts walks, in order by their regularly scheduled Fridays:
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Art After Hours (Second Fridays) - Wake Forest
South White Street becomes a bustle of activity on second Fridays, with local artists and entertainers set up inside shops and restaurants and spilling out onto the sidewalks. You’re likely to hear accordion and guitar music on one corner and watch a painter finish a portrait on another. Check out the handmade rings and pendants at LEDE Studio while there for its latest gallery installation or stop by the Storyteller’s Bookstore for a reception for its monthly art display. Free horse-drawn carriage rides add to the evening’s charm.
Facebook: Art After Hours.
Art After Dark (Second Fridays) - Fuquay-Varina (5-9 p.m.)
This family-friendly event is anchored by the Artist and Crafter’s Market, where vendors from woodworkers to printmakers set up colorful tent-covered tables on the Broad Street green space next to Aviator Tap House (live music and locally brewed beer). The green space also houses arts activities for the kids. Gallery displays can be found a few blocks away at the local art co-op, Artistic Expressions and at the Centennial Museum, where new art works are showcased along with the town’s history.
Facebook: Fuquay Varina Arts Council.
Second Friday Art Walk - Carrboro/Chapel Hill (6-9 p.m.)
Wear comfortable shoes for this two-town ramble with more than 30 venues (download the trail map from the website). Get caffeinated while you check out the art-filled walls at Johnny’s Gone Fishing, Carrboro’s cozy coffee shop and country store, where the trail begins. Meander down West Main Street for a look-in at the N.C. Crafts Gallery’s array of North Carolina artists’ works and stop by the ArtsCenter’s spacious gallery. Stroll on into Chapel Hill (the trail becomes West Franklin Street), where you can admire local artists’ pieces at FRANK Gallery and check out custom-made jewelry at Creative Metalsmiths. Reward yourself with a cupcake at Caffé Driade, the trail’s final stop.
Facebook: 2nd Friday ArtWalk
Third Friday Durham (6-9 p.m.)
The venues vary widely each month as do the number of locations, but it’s best to start in one of the outlying areas, such as Golden Belt. The beautifully renovated former textile factory houses more than 30 artists’ studios and there’s also a central gallery where the Durham Art Guild hosts showings. You could also check out the Brightleaf Square section or the bustling American Tobacco campus, but you should end up in the Downtown Loop area, not only to seek out locations such as the Pleiades Gallery and the Carrack, both showing multiple artists, but also to end the evening in one downtown Durham’s nationally noteworthy restaurants and bars, such as Mateo for tapas or Federal for pub food.
Facebook: Third Friday Durham.
Third Friday Art Walk –
Siler City (6-9 p.m.)
This old-fashioned downtown makes its art walk a community event, with beer and wine sales, food trucks and scheduled band performances. Galleries and studios located on or near two blocks of North Chatham Street make for easy strolling and browsing. Start at N.C. Arts Incubator, a complex of five buildings with a charming courtyard featuring 24 artists working in many media. Cross the street to Wingnut Artists Gallery’s wide-open display space, where five artists display large paintings, sculpture and multi-media assemblages. Then stop in at the Raleigh Street Gallery for sales of pottery, glass art, jewelry and craft items.
Facebook: Pittsboro-Siler City Convention & Visitors Bureau
Final Fridays – Cary (6-9 p.m.)
Although you can walk to most of the two dozen venues in the Cary Art Loop, the town provides a free shuttle with regular stops on Final Fridays. Open venues vary but you can always count on the Cary Arts Center (a charmingly renovated old school building) and the modern Cary Town Hall for gallery shows. Studios and businesses with galleries are clustered mostly near East Chatham Street and Harrison Avenue. Look for Lucky Pie Gallery, where there’s home decor along with canvas art, and the Village Art Circle, with its well-lit exhibit space. And don’t forget to check out restaurants with display space, such as UnVine’d Wine Bar and Tapas.
Facebook: Cary Art Loop.
Last Fridays Art Walk – Hillsborough (6-9 p.m.)
Experience the charm of an old-fashioned downtown in this historic location. There are sidewalk food sellers, musicians and craft vendors around the courthouse, where there are also children’s art activities. Of the dozen venues grouped along Churton Street, be sure to look in at Hillsborough Gallery of Arts, where 22 artists display their works; the Eno Gallery, offering contemporary painting, sculpture and fabric; and the Skylight Gallery, featuring pieces from the Hillsborough Artists Cooperative.
Facebook: Last Friday in Hillsborough.
You can also find annual and seasonal art walks on the Triangle ArtWorks website: http://nando.com/j5.