Apr 4, 2024 - Things to Do

This free South End art crawl is the coolest way to spend your Friday night

gallery crawl

Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

Mark your calendar and text the group chat. South End's First Friday Gallery Crawl is happening this Friday, April 5.

Why it matters: Weekends can feel repetitive, and South End's gallery crawl solves the age-old dilemma of visiting the same bars or staying home.

Context: The First Friday Gallery Crawl is a monthly art crawl organized by the South End division of Charlotte Center City Partners that showcases the neighborhood's local galleries and artists.

How it works: On the first Friday of every month, participating galleries stay open in the evenings to showcase new exhibits and featured artists.

  • The event is free, but much of the artwork you'll see is for sale.
  • Otherwise, there aren't many rules. You can make it your own self-guided and self-paced night out (with some added bar and restaurant hopping along the way). You'll also find many of the studios offer free wine to sip while while you browse.

Flashback: I went on March's crawl with South End project manager, Allison Mills, who helps organize the event.

  • I gladly accepted her offer to be the tour guide, which led to kicking things off with ceviche and sushi at Muraya in South End before hitting Dilworth Artisan, then StudioWorks in Dilworth and finally South End's Shed Brand Studio.

If you go: Five galleries are participating this month: Hodges Taylor, Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art, Dilworth Artisan Station, Shed Brand and Studio Works Gallery.

Here's how Allison and I suggest making a full evening out with this month's crawl, plus some details about each gallery:

Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art

Start here if you want to kick off your crawl right at 5pm. Elder Gallery sits in The Railyard on South Tryon between Camden Road and West Summit.

What to expect: A contemporary art gallery with three new exhibitions for spring and summer.

Stop by: It's open 5-8pm at 1520 S. Tryon St.

elder
Elder Gallery in South End. Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Azios

Hodges Taylor

Just steps away from Elder Gallery, Hodges Taylor opens its doors at 6pm and is a great starting point if you'd like to kill a little time with a pre-crawl cocktail.

  • Opt for a nearby spot, like Muraya, Stir, Vinyl or North Italia.

What to expect: Part art consulting firm; Part contemporary art gallery focusing on southeastern artists with rotating exhibits.

Stop by: It's open 6-8pm at 1414 S. Tryon St.

Dilworth Artisan Station

About a 10-minute rail trail walk from the first two studios, this is your chance to break up the crawl with a cocktail or snack.

  • Some nearby options include Canopy, Barcelona Wine Bar, Salted Melon or Leroy Fox.
  • For light railing purposes, the studio is between the Bland Street and East/West Boulevard stops.

What to expect: A 100-year-old building housing 30 creatives with multiple floors of art studios to browse. Here, you'll have a chance to chat with many of the artists about their work.

Stop by: It's open 5:30-8pm at 118 E. Kingston Ave.

dilworth
Dilworth Artisan Gallery had artwork galore — I ended up buying a floral print that's now in my kitchen. Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

StudioWorks Gallery

A five-minute walk from Dilworth Artisan Station, StudioWorks is in the heart of the Dilworth neighborhood, right on East Boulevard.

What to expect: A 12-woman artist collective inside a historic Dilworth home. Like Dilworth Artisan Station, many of StudioWorks' artists will be at the studio during the crawl.

Stop by: It's open from 5-8pm at 307 East Blvd.

Shed Brand Studio

The final and longest stretch (a roughly 15-minute walk), you'll find ShedBrand across from the Lowe's store on Iversion Way.

What to expect: A stained glass and custom door studio that also sells handmade jewelry and pottery.

  • Keep your eyes peeled for numerous Maine Coone cats that hang around the studio (they're hard to miss and super friendly).

Stop by: It's open 5-8pm at 216 Iversion Way.

South End Interactive

This is a separate interactive tour that's completely self-guided. You can make it part of the crawl or do it another time.

How it works: You'll scan a QR code on your phone to get behind-the-scenes video about the artists and their inspiration for their works.

Stop by: This month's South End Interactive will feature 10 of the murals on in South End. Check out the featured pieces here.

  • You can also follow @artwalksCLT on Instagram for upcoming guided tours with local artists.

What's next: After this Friday's crawl, the next First Friday Gallery Crawl will be held Friday, May 3 — featured galleries are still TBD.

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