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Side Street Studio Arts Presents Expanded First Fridays in Downtown Elgin

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Side Street Studio Arts Presents Expanded First Fridays in Downtown Elgin

Side Street Studio Arts (SSSA) is collaborating with Explore Elgin Area, the Downtown Neighborhood Association, and a variety of downtown Elgin businesses and area artists to grow First Friday events in 2018.

First Fridays continue Friday, April 6 at SSSA, Elgin Public House, Jimmy John’s, Maiden Bedlam, and beyond and are supported by an organizational grant from the Elgin Cultural Arts Commission.

First Fridays and similar events have been community highlights across the country since the 1980’s. These monthly gatherings often highlight an artistic community, as well as local food and wares. The consistent and energetic nature of these events allows a city’s residents to plan on them for monthly affordable and accessible entertainment and a way to discover or rediscover what their community has to offer.

SSSA is hosting and producing collaborative programming including the Intellectual Mercenary Show, a comedy, music, and poetry variety show, led by Luis Arevalo at the Theater at SSSA; art-making projects for the whole family at Jimmy John’s on Grove Ave.; Fred Zimmerman – the Chicago Mentalist at Maiden Bedlam on Chicago St., T. J. Regul – The Quad City Magician, and more. Downtown businesses are encouraged to offer First Friday specials for roving audiences.

The evening will also feature SSSA’s monthly Drop-In Small Wonders for young artists aged 4-12. The monthly event runs from 4:15-6:15pm, and, for a $5 suggested donation, young artists are able to participate in visual and performing art classes, led by professional teaching artists. SSSA’s Install exhibition will be available for in-process viewing and artist talks on process. The Lab at SSSA will be open for drop-in art making. And, on Spring St., in front of SSSA, will be the Mario’s Cart Food Truck serving their Italian and Mexican specialties starting at 5:15pm

“We believe that pushing this idea forward will increase foot traffic for retail, restaurants, local artists, and the other resources downtown Elgin has to offer; initiate a positive economic impact on the area; and highlight downtown Elgin as a monthly destination for community gathering,” said SSSA Founder and Executive Director Tanner Melvin. “Inspired by the growth of the Elgin Fringe Festival, the move of the Going Dutch Festival from Chicago to Elgin, the scary magic of Nightmare on Chicago Street, and the new beginnings of organizations like the Downtown Neighborhood Association, we know that the possibilities for successful First Fridays are great, and the time is now to make this happen.”

SSSA aims to create an easy-to-follow structure for those interested in participating that can be maintained for the foreseeable future, following the culmination of an ECAC funded year. For more information on First Fridays or any of SSSA’s programming, please visit the SSSA Facebook Page, www.sidestreetstudioarts.org, or call 847-429-2276.

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