Old City on First Friday

Artists’ Market: First Friday in Old City

I have learned in my time here at Arcadia that if you have the opportunity to try something new, you should take it, because you might not have the chance again.

One new thing I was able to experience at the beginning of November was First Friday in Philadelphia’s Old City. Imagine a farmers’ market but with art instead of food—an artists’ market. Basically, a bunch of local artists set up shop on main streets, in galleries and on the sidewalk, on the first Friday of each month in cities like Philadelphia. When a group of my hallmates announced they were going, I prepared to tag along.

We took the train to Market East and walked to Second Street from there. It was like a different world full of quaint shops, historic-looking buildings, and interesting people. I’d never been to this section of Philadelphia, but I loved it. I attended a First Friday event back home in downtown San Antonio some time ago, but I enjoyed the Old City experience more. There was a greater variety of art—a lot more of which was my style—and cool shops with beautiful storefronts all together on the same street. First Friday back home was just more… spread out.

Most of the stores on Second Street stayed open later than usual to accommodate the influx of art enthusiasts. We stopped into The Book Trader, which is full of towering shelves overflowing with new and used books; a.k.a. music, where we bought CDs for a quarter; and a comic book store with all sorts of interesting items. We ate what I think was the best pizza I’ve ever tasted at Soho Pizza before ending our excursion with frozen yogurt. Needless to say, I had a fantastic time discovering some cool new places, and I will definitely be going back in the near future.

As I walked around, what surprised me really was the number of artists that can exist within a single city. I feel as though art is often overlooked in today’s society, and yet at the beginning of the month there’s a celebration where all this art comes out into the streets. It was amazing to see just how much talent exists out here. As an art major, I’ve always thought about First Friday as something to work toward as I build a portfolio. I feel like it would be a great way to get my art out into the world for the public to see as well as maybe potential investors. After all, any fine arts field is all about connections.

Photo credit: Emily Brobst ’17