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Tamara Bridges of 'Tamaras Whimsey' with some of her art on display at the September First Friday ArtWalk.

O’side First Friday ArtWalk to Shut Down at End of 2016

Oceanside CA— Barring a takeover, the Oceanside First Friday ArtWalk will be calling it quits at years end. The First Friday ArtWalk began in August of 2014 with the idea of promoting the Oceanside vibrant art community by showcasing live performances, music, poetry, art education, culinary and popup art galleries embedded in local businesses and public spaces.

“Unfortunately, due to lack of resources, financial and otherwise, we will be shutting down at the end of 2016. We will have events for September (last night), October, November and December.” wrote Brigid Parsons to ArtWalk supporters.. “I’d like to thank you all for your support of the Oceanside Art Walk over the past two and a half years. We have really accomplished something wonderful, and have been integral in spurring a renewed focus on the arts in Oceanside.”

The ArtWalk started off strong drawing close to 100 people per hour at some of the display areas along the ArtWalk route. “We’ve had less foot traffic this year compared to last summer.” said Gumaro Escarcega, the Main Street Program Director for MainStreet Oceanside, “Now we may average 50-75 people come through here [The MainStreet Oceanside Office] over the three hour period of the event.” continued Gumaro, The interest is there for the artists and the musicians. I’m not sure why it hasn’t been attracting more people.”

In her letter, Brigid Parsons asked supporters if they were aware of any individual or organization that might be interested in taking it over. The ArtWalk is currently an active 501(c)(3) organization.

“Even though it’s a non-profit, if it’s run like a business I think it has a better chance at success.” explained Gumaro “If the businesses downtown could support, financially, the ArtWalk by sponsoring the event on a monthly basis, I think it could do really well. They would have some skin in the game meaning they would be owners of the event as well. We need a collaborative effort because I think it really has the potential to be very successful. It could really grow into something awesome for the downtown community and the city of Oceanside.”

There have been several curators for the ArtWalk since its inception; Cynthia Melfi (2016, 11 months), Gailee Walker Wells (2015, 10 months), Dinah Poellnitz (2014, 4 months), Brigid Parsons (2 months), Penny Hill (2015, 1 month) – and Dana Patterson for 2015 venue coordination.

Ms. Parsons gave a breakdown estimate of monthly resources needed to sustain the Oceanside Art Walk, at the current bare-bones level:

  • graphic design, posters, handouts – $400 plus 5 hours
  • website – $20 plus 10 hours
  • curation – 15 hours
  • venue coordination – 10 hours
  • photography – 5 hours
  • overall administration (incl. bank, PO Box, insurance) – $40 plus 10 hours
  • social media – varies
  • traditional marketing – varies
  • total per month: $460/mo + 45 hours + digital and traditional marketing

The ArtWalk is a currently active 501(c)(3) and all contacts and records can easily be transitioned to a new home. “We will take care of tax filing at the end of the year, and reporting for the 2016-2017 County of San Diego Community Enhancement Grant we have received.”