Friday Night’s All Right for Art

Why indie galleries on the Lower East Side and in Chinatown are keeping their doors open later.

Photo courtesy of SHRINE / Installation view of Ike Morgan

This Friday evening, we’ll be strolling the streets of the Lower East Side and Chinatown. But instead of popping into bars, we’ll be ducking into art galleries. Downtown art spaces clustered in and around the two neighborhoods are keeping their doors open later on the first Friday of every month for an informal and organic kind of art crawl. Upstarts and established spaces alike are getting in the spirit, creating a festive after-work vibe with beer, wine, and music, and coordinating exhibition openings and performances to coincide.

Participating galleries include Shrine, 56 Henry, Castor Gallery, Cuevas Tilleard Projects, and Downs & Ross. “You probably couldn’t hit all of them in one night,” Scott Ogden, owner and director of Shrine, tells us. “You can see a lot of art in one evening and get an idea of what’s going on downtown.”

What Should We Do?! art editor Ellie Rines, who owns a gallery herself, suggests hitting the south-of-Grand streets first. “Chinatown is a great place to see shows that are much more experimental than ones in Chelsea and are often the debut presentation of an artist’s work.”

Photo courtesy of Downs & Ross / Installation view of Stephanie Hier: Part and Parcel, 2017. Downs & Ross (Chrystie Street), New York / Photo: Jeffrey Sturges

Why You Should Go: For one thing, bragging rights: Enjoy these late hours before the madding crowd finds out. “Every time we’ve done it, it’s gotten a little bigger,” says Ogden. “It started informal, but in the fall it will get more organized.” For another: Art! Depending on the individual shows, this is a family-friendly event.

First Friday of every month (July 7, August 4, September 1, October 6, November 3, December 1)
Starts at 6 p.m.

Wine and dine your way through the Lower East Side after browsing art: