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Las Vegas: First Friday kicks off the new year artfully

January 02, 2013|By Jay Jones
  • An artist displays his paintings at a booth on a downtown Las Vegas street during the city's First Friday celebration of the arts.
An artist displays his paintings at a booth on a downtown Las Vegas street… (First Friday Las Vegas )

Think "Las Vegas culture" is an oxymoron? Sin City's monthly First Friday festivals will suggest otherwise. Visitors seeking proof need look no farther than downtown's burgeoning Arts District and its growing number of galleries. 

The next one is--surprise!--Friday and begins at 5 p.m. and lasts about five hours. It takes over several square blocks around Charleston Boulevard and Main Street, just a few blocks northwest of the Stratosphere.

The monthly festival,  now in its 11th year, features the works of more than 75 artists and 15 live bands, plus DJs providing additional music from four stages.

The January event will include KidZone, an area in which families can get art lessons from some of the cartoon animators at the Chuck Jones Experience, an attraction at Circus Circus. Stephen Fishwick, an artist with Disney Fine Art, will be creating a large-scale painting as budding artists observe.

January nights in Sin City can be on the chilly side, so there will be  warming stations and plenty of hot beverages. About two dozen of the Las Vegas Valley’s food trucks will also be on hand.

Folks in a charitable mood can choose to give blood at the American Red Cross’ bus during what that organization is calling its Bloody Mary Drive. All donors who are 21 or older can choose to receive a free Bloody Mary.

Admission to First Friday is free. There’s ample parking on the street and in approved lots (for $5). Four open-topped sightseeing buses do continual loops around the area from 5 to 11 p.m. Handicapped transportation is also available by calling (702) 739-7990.

Words to the wise: People who park in unapproved lots risk getting towed. Also, some of the participating artists accept only cash, not plastic.

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