I had to use my all of my fingers to count it right, there have been nine Art Crawls in the Valley. The one coming up on Saturday October 6th is number 10. I tried think what has most changed in the Valley since that first one. The answer is much. The visible answer is color. And by color, I mean downtown and in the neighborhoods, commercial buildings and historic houses fixed up and popping with color.
Think about what was not so long ago, there was beaucoup white and beige all over downtown and the neighborhoods. So much beige downtown it was like a sea of khaki. As far as the eye could see. Literally groups of buildings, several rows of them painted the same color. The neighborhoods were a boring 1950s whiteness.
Especially the Victorian and Queen Anne style houses, thankfully now changed back into multi-hued marvels. Which is how they were originally. I’m not saying the Crawl kicked off Water Valley’s own version of a Color Revolution (though that beige was borderline Eastern Block blah), but the town is no longer bland.
The other thing that has changed, which is not so obvious, is the fun quotient. I felt prior to the Crawl people went elsewhere for fun. People left town to have a dinner, a laugh, a drink, and hear some music. They still do, but not nearly as much. Fun can be had here now. Way more places to eat and hear music. Did the Crawl do all this? No, but it showed that Vallians will come out for a good time. Which wasn’t a sure bet before.
Here is what I like about the Art Crawl. It is short, only 3.5 hours in duration if you don’t count the after-party. It is in the evening on a weekend, not wasting daylight. Weather is not such an issue, as most everything is inside. It is not centrally located, but everything is in walking distance, so you can park almost anywhere and start.
Speaking of that start, there is no sequence, have the map (as printed next week in this paper) and go. You can move at your own pace or not. Every crawl stop has its own distinctive groove, you know what I mean by that. It doesn’t take up any city services, so no special cleanup before or after, no curb painting.
It is a party without porta-potties and pop-up tents and police. Now we did ask the police to block Main Street once for a fashion show five years ago, for 20 minutes. To the best of my knowledge, not a single arrest or incident ever.
It’s free. You’ll eat and drink for nothing. As should be at a proper party. And only one thing is up for sale and that’s local art. But even that’s not the main point.
As a co-owner of the oldest art gallery in town, the Crawl is far from a big money making night. It is not about the money, it is about the fun and I can prove it. Hope to see you Crawling.