Traditionally, Ithaca First Friday has not offered a January Gallery Night with the exception of the scaled-down version that is usually held in conjunction with the Light in Winter Festival. However, with the festival being on hiatus this year, a regular installment of Gallery Night will take place this Friday, January 6th, and it is one that appears will welcome the New Year with gusto, with over 18 participating venues featuring new and continuing exhibitions and special events.
Here are my top picks for January Gallery Night:
Starting out on the State Street Corridor of the West End, there are several venues worth visiting. Gimme! Coffee on State Street presents two new shows: A series of recent abstract paintings by Bill Deats, and a collection of old and new drawings like this one by Ken Christopher Hill depicting spirals, labyrinths, and figuration; detail-heavy alongside simpler techniques.
Continuing down the street, stop in to the reception at IthacaMade at 430 W. State/MLK St. for some food, music and revelry and celebrate the unveiling of Silk Oak’s newest design, in honor of the Year of the Dragon, which will undoubtedly be fabulous.
Crossing the street, the Kitchen Theatre Company is exhibiting a series of colorful abstract paintings by local artist Lynn Taetzsch (like this vibrant little gem (left) titled, The Knife Cuts.) At 6pm, visitors are invited to step into the theater for a Meet the Playwright event featuring a discussion with playwright Rob Ackerman and director Margarett Perry, who are working together on the world premiere of CALL ME WALDO at the Kitchen Theatre.
From there, walk down State Street toward the Commons, and choose from a vast array of gallery shows. A map with all of the offerings can be found here.
I will be sure to visit the Titus Gallery’s ‘A CELEBRATION OF TREES’ offering an assortment of watercolors by Susan Booth Titus (like Winter Woods pictured below, bottom) and limited edition silkscreens by Murcada, (like Lichen Trees, below, top) all depicting the beauty and majesty of trees.
For more stunning landscapes, pop into Collegetown Bagels on Aurora St. to see the new photo exhibit by Chris Kitchen, a series of images taken of the local waterfalls after September’s record rainfall earlier this year.
Continuing with the stark wintery motif that appears to prevail in the downtown shows, CAP Artspace presents ‘Crystals,’ a photography exhibit by local artist Gwen Elizabeth Bullock. If Jack Frost has not come nipping at your nose by then, this image (below) might remind you of what it was like.
Depending on your mood, there are two great events happening after the galleries close.
At 8pm, the CSMA hosts First Friday Chamber Music, featuring Luscinia, in the 3rd Floor Performance Space. Luscinia is a vocal quartet specializing in a capella music from the 13th to 17th centuries. With Lynn Leopold, Jonathan Ivers, Thom Baker & Geof Royall, the group will perform songs by Martin de Rivaflecha, Alfonso Ferrabosco I, Guillaume Dufay, Costanzo Festa, Heinrich Isaac, Gustav Holst & John Wall Callcott.
And for something completely different, at 8:30pm Standard Art Supply & Souvenir at 308 E. Seneca St. will launch their inaugural installment of Fresh Blends, a monthly lecture series organized by Art & Anthropology with a simple premise: The first presenter speaks for a half-hour, then the next presenter speaks on a completely unrelated topic for the second half-hour, followed by a simultaneous question and answer period on both topics. Sounds confusing but it just might work. January’s version features Julie Simmons-Lynch presenting on ‘From Comics to Cognitive Science,’and Alexis M. Zaharis on ‘Custom Cakes Design.’ There is a $5 donation.
So avoid cabin fever this early in the season, don your Sorels and your (faux) fox-fur and step out on Jan 6th to soak in the cultural offerings of downtown Ithaca.