A previous Touch-a-Truck event
Tonight’s First Friday celebration in downtown Johnson City will be highlighted by a celebration to mark the 26th anniversary of Hands On! Regional Children’s Museum.
Set to run from 5:30-8 p.m., the bash will include free admission to the museum and a meet and greet with its new director, Andy Marquart.
Special arts and science activities will be offered inside the museum, and out front, the popular Touch-a-Truck exhibit of 12 emergency response vehicles, heavy trucks and recreational vehicles will be lined up along Main Street from South Roan Street to Colonial Way. Discounts on museum memberships and all merchandise in the Hands On! gift shop will be offered throughout the night.
After 26 years of operation, the museum’s party will be very much a family affair. Museum Marketing Manager Kristine Carter noted Hands On! has grown to become “a generational destination” that is “now welcoming guests that recall visiting the museum as children and are able to share those memories with their own children.”
First Friday Director Brandi Woodall said “Hands On! Regional Children’s Museum is a very important partner in Downtown Johnson City, and what better way to have fun than a birthday party for one of the most fun places in Johnson City?”
Sponsored by Friends of Olde Downtown, the First Friday celebration will also include the premier of artist Vanessa Mayoraz’s “Memory & Secrets,” a series of drawings inspired by secrets shared anonymously with the artist and rendered according to “the situations, connections and specific rules” of their owners.
Presented by the East Tennessee State University Department of Art & Design, Slocumb Galleries and the Urban Redevelopment Alliance, the exhibit will feature Mayoraz’s newest “Rendering Anonymous” series inspired by “rumors and glitches of stories” shared anonymously through a website the artist created to collect the secrets people harbor and the memories they hold dear.
“Johnson City itself has a hidden history that we might or might not see appear through this collecting process,” Mayoraz said. Rendering Anonymous is about not only secrets but “how we are all keeping some, sometimes as a burden and sometimes it is just what makes us complete.”
Mayoraz will discuss the Johnson City Secrets Project at an artists reception to be held from 6-8 p.m. at the gallery, 126 Spring St. The exhibit will also feature some of her earlier “Botanica Memorabilis” light box creations and miniature “Ouragans Intimes” drawings.
The exhibit will remain at the Tipton Gallery through Sept. 27.
Across the street from Hands On!, Nelson Fine Art Center will be hosting a First Friday opening reception for “Here and There,” a photography exhibit of the ETSU Student Photographers Association featuring works from 11 artists focused on a variety of topics and different photographic techniques.
The participating artists are Jessica Blaylock, Emily Denton, Trish Gibson, Lyn Govette, Joshua K. Harr, Jess Hillyer, Matthew Jessie, Megan G. King and Misty Scott.
Topics will include:
n King’s Hispanic Appalachia series focused on Hispanic culture in the changing social landscape of Southern Appalachia.
n Gibson’s Shared Names, a large-format, black-and-white study of the relationship of siblings.
n Denton’s film camera exploration of environmental irony.
n Blaylock’s focus on forgotten aspects of U.S. history as preserved by its museums.
n Beuris’ study of the social and economic change of housing developments in the Appalachian region
n Jessie’s look at the relationships of people and the landscapes that surround them.
n Harr’s study of locally owned restaurants and the people who work there.
n Hillyer’s exploration of space and depth in local architecture.
n Govette’s look at the changes occurring in rural small towns as family farms begin to fade away.
The exhibit will remain on display at the center through Sep.26.
Woodall said all 17 restaurants in the downtown district will be open for the First Friday celebration. Several of its unique retail vendors will be bringing their merchandise out on the sidewalk. And Unique Treasures on Tipton Street will be hosting a corn hole tournament. For more details on First Friday, visit www.facebook.com/jcfirstfriday.