By Kaci Demarest
First Friday is a time to experience the art and culture of Downtown Phoenix.
Artlink Phoenix started First Friday in 1994 as a way to bring people back to downtown Phoenix.
The event is now the largest monthly art walk in the United States. The event attracts anywhere from 14,000-20,000 visitors every month.
June’s First Friday included a variety of events.
At the Arizona Latino Arts and Cultural Center (ALAC), Manuela Casillas shared recollections about her childhood filled with stories of tragedy, family, tradition and diversity.
The story Casillas retold was about her eighth grade graduation. After her graduation, she was allowed to attend her cousin’s graduation party where she danced with many boys. Upon returning home, her father was furious to learn of her actions. Her story illuminated the struggles mujers (women) faced in their own homes before they gained rights.
“It’s hard to imagine that somebody could’ve lived a life like this, but this was my life until my dad left us. At the time when mujers and children were being raised in the 1950’s, there were no rights,” Casillas said.
In addition to Casillas, the ALAC hosted the London Orphanage of Comedy, an ASU based comedy troupe, showcased multiple skits.
Outside of ALAC, First Friday brought musicians into “The Nash Jazz” room located on Roosevelt.
The band playing at “The Nash Jazz” room was the “Dixie Devils.” Dan Baker and Gabe Rodrigues formed the band five years ago at ASU. Originally, the band would play at tailgates before football games. Other band members include Amy Swietlik, Kevin Bock, and Matt Watson. This was their first time playing at “The Nash Jazz Room.”
“It’s a lot of fun,” Bakers said. “I like how people just come in for a tune and then leave. It kinda takes the pressure off.”
First Friday occurs every First Friday of the month. For more information, visit artlinkphoenix.com/about.