Final Friday preview: Lawrence Art Party/Lawrence Art Invitational

A long-running Final Friday event will bisect this week when the group behind the Lawrence Art Party presents a second downtown arts event, the Lawrence Art Invitational.

Hosted in the ground floor of the Hobbs-Taylor building (716 N.H.), the Lawrence Art Party has been highly successful as a group-exhibition event that combines visual and performance art. During the August Final Friday event, the group estimate that they had between 600 and 800 visitors.

Now, the group is riding that momentum and branching out their operation. Eric Kirkendall, co-founder of the Lawrence Art Party, says this expansion is due in part to the overwhelming amount of artists who want to participate.

“For the last six months I’ve had to turn away artists every month,” Kirkendall says.

But beyond that, having two events will allow the group to give more options to artists and more variety to audiences. Kirkendall has been working with KU art student Jessie Kelley and artist/architect Kaylyn Munro to provide two different art experiences. He says the new Lawrence Art Invitational — happening at 734 Mass. this month, though that address could change in the future — will offer a more traditional gallery experience than the freewheeling Lawrence Art Party.

“They’re both going to be fun, but the ambience will be different,” Kirkendall says.

The two events will host the works of more than 40 artists in total. Kirkendall says he’s particularly excited to see the works of sculptors David Vertacnik and Matthew Burke —both of whom are KU professors and will be showing at the Lawrence Art Invitational — as well as a performance by local jazz guitarist John Lomas.

Both events will operate under the umbrella of a new non-profit organization started by Kirkendall and others, called the Science, Art, and Technology Alliance, a group of people dedicated to spurring community development through innovation in the arts.


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