What better way to kick off spring than with a Final Fridays weekend in beautiful Lawrence, Kansas? I’ve said it once and I’ll say it every year: there is nothing quite like the glorious feeling of a spring sun’s rays on your winter skin. The gentle reawakening of the trees and flowers and animals. Being able to go without a heavy coat. It’s the beauty of spring, back with us once again! One of my favorite ways to celebrate the changing of seasons is to get involved in whatever is happening downtown. The temperatures are rising and it is finally time to get out and about, people. And Lawrence will not disappoint! This Final Friday weekend is the perfect extravaganza of food, music, community, and of course, art.
If you don’t know by now, the last Friday of every month is a designated time to celebrate the wonderful art, food, performance, and all things quirky here in Lawrence. Final Fridays offer an amazing array of opportunity to experience art and culture, from live music to original art shows, all in the heart of bustling downtown Lawrence. There’s usually so much to see and do here that you just have to stay an extra day or two…
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This Friday is no exception. In the East Lawrence art district, you’ll find Indoor and Outdoor Sculptures by Nick Schmiedeler. This artist utilizes natural and reusable materials and locations to build his incredible sculptures. Find his work at Tallgrass Studios, along with live music by John and Myra Svoboda. While you’re in the area, stop by the Spring Makers Fair at the Lawrence Creates Makerspace. There will be art to buy and music to hear-the Heebie Jeebies will be performing in the outdoor space. If you get hungry having all that fun, stop by Bon Bon. They have an amazing patio space, lots of cocktails and plenty of creative eats. Next door at Cider Gallery, Steven Grounds will be live painting. He and other artists are there for the inaugural year of the Indigenous Arts Initiative. If you want to hear more from Grounds, he will be giving an artist’s talk at the gallery on Sunday at 4:30 pm.
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There’s lots going on downtown, too! If you’re in search of more art, check out the Fayman Gallery. You won’t want to miss the Three Sisters. This exhibit tells the stories of three sisters Hong, Bo, and Ling Zhang, and their life’s travels, both physical and spiritual. These women were born and raised in Shenyang, and now live in Kansas, Illinois, and Georgia. Though each working with different mediums, the sisters are united by their art and cultural heritage.
One of my favorite things to do in Lawrence is stroll down Massachusetts Street, and in my opinion, there is no better time to do it than on an energetic, Final Fridays night. Walking Mass allows you to stop in to whatever shop, gallery, or boutique you see-and you will see many. You may even be tempted to stop in for dinner or drinks at one of the many unique, local restaurants and bistros. The Waffle Iron is hosting Taco the Town from 6:00 pm-8:00 pm. If you like tacos, or the chefs from Global Cafe, Waffle Iron, Limestone, Leeway Franks, Caramelo Tortilleria, and Dead Beet Taco Shop, then this is the event for you! This could be the perfect opportunity to experience some of your favorite chefs cuisine shaped by a new challenge, or be introduced to some you have never heard of before. Tickets are $60 and the event is taking place at Global Cafe.
It wouldn’t be a Final Friday without some live music, would it? If you hear some sweet tunes floating along the spring night air, it very well may be Stephen Martin playing his saxophone. It’s time for a little jazz at The Eldridge! Martin will be playing from 7:00 pm-10:00 pm.
Ah, Saturday. Wake up to the birds singing and the day calling. If you want to get an early start to the morning, make sure to pack your discs. The Lawrence Open will be running from 8:00 am-6:00 pm and is open to all. There will be two rounds of 18 holes at Centennial Park.
Saturday boasts two amazing ways to get involved with the community, whether you live here or are visiting from afar. One Heart Nursery is opening their doors for the season at 9:00 am and giving a portion of the proceeds to Just Food’s Just Grow program. The money raised will help pay for all of the plants for their community gardens, as well as vegetable and herb starts for their clients. Just Food is an incredible local food bank that mobilizes volunteers and donations to help fight hunger in Lawrence. Their website says that they can “leverage a dollar for five times the amount of food as can be purchased from retail grocery stores in Lawrence.” Think how far your plant purchase could go!