|West End Gallery Night|
by Lauren Montgomery
If you walk west down Sixth Street past the numerous bars and pubs it is famous for, you may be surprised to find yourself surrounded by a large cluster of local art galleries. Austin’s West End district is the area of 5th and 6th streets west of Lamar Boulevard running to West Lynn Street. Seven of Austin’s prestigious fine art galleries are located in this area, including the Stephen L. Clark Gallery, Wally Workman Gallery, Urban Roots Gallery, F8 Fine Art Gallery, Lotus Gallery, Artworks, and Art on 5th.
Inspired by the eclectic block party on South Congress Avenue called First Thursday, the owners of several art galleries downtown decided to throw their own event for the first Thursday of every month. They created West End Gallery Night, a regular event during which participating art galleries stay open late (until around 8 p.m.) for locals to check out what’s new in the Austin art scene.
This event provides an excellent opportunity for art lovers to romp around Austin’s wonderful art community during extended hours, enjoying some fine wine and hors d’oeuvres, and striking up interesting conversation along the way. In order to draw a larger crowd, many of the galleries focus on launching formal exhibit openings on this evening. Throughout the West End, you will be sure to find groups of excited people huddled outside the various art venues discussing the latest works displayed and critiquing the artists involved before heading on to the next gallery down the street.
West End Gallery Night can be seen as a supplement to one’s First Thursday celebration, an area to visit before or after heading south, or perhaps a happy alternative for those who are looking for more fine art than can be found on South Congress. Either way, taking in all the beautiful art and enjoying a glass of good wine are sure not to disappoint any Austin visitor.