I’m Steven Lareau, a digital artist residing in Clinton, and I’m the guy behind building and maintaining this web site. I got frustrated trying to find out what was going on in Knoxville for First Friday gallery openings, and found the information out on the web was missing, incomplete, or horribly outdated. Sometimes it takes an outsider to see problems and come up with a solution, so that’s exactly what I’ve done. I moved to this area 11 years ago with my lovely wife from the Chicago area, to escape the brutal Midwest winters. We came through the area after looking at places in the South on the net, fell in love with this area, went back home, packed up, and moved down here within a few months.
The one thing that we both found bizarre was downtown Knoxville- it was a ghost town. We headed downtown on Saturday afternoon, parked right in front of the place we wanted to go to, and there was no one around. We found Market Square, and were completely puzzled by the fact that here was a really cool place, and there weren’t many businesses there, and no one was around. Truth be told, it was a Twilight Zone at times, wondering where the heck the people were.
The World Grotto came along, and when I was reading about it in the paper before it was even open, I knew that this was exactly what Market Square needed. A cool place to visit, a reason to go downtown, and now, Market Square is a happening place, filled with people. It sure took quite a bit of time, but finally, downtown is coming alive again, and I love it.
So, now that Knoxville is ramping up with galley openings, there’s another reason to go downtown. Since I’ve been in this area, the art scene is growing fast, more places are hosting artist’s work, more places are staying open for First Friday, so there’s a lot of great things happening downtown.
I’m an artist myself, and it’s cool to find places around town that have allowed me to showcase my artwork, I’ve had my work hanging in upscale restaurants, a home furnishing store, and a few other places around the area. I’m a self taught artist, and without having been through art school and learning the ropes, I didn’t know how to go about putting a show together. The places I’ve been invited to showcase my art have been very accommodating and helpful, which made things easier for someone just starting to get their artwork out into the world. Some of them were new to hosting an artist in their shop, so it’s been a learning experience for everyone.
I’m excited to see the art scene exploding in this area, there’s so many great artists in the area, and so many haven’t been seen yet, and part of that problem is the inability of being able to find out who has a show going on. So that’s why I took it upon myself to contribute some time and effort to put together a place where you can go to online and find out what’s going on each month.
If you participate in First Friday events and aren’t listed, use the contact form and drop me a line and I’ll get you listed on this site. Artists- I want you to be seen as well, I’ll put a page here with your information, so people might see your work and visit a gallery next time you’re showing. Look under the Business section for Gallery Information and Artist’s Information to see what I can do for you.
Thanks for visiting, and please- spread the word about this web site, I’ve invested a great deal of time putting this site together, and hopefully it’ll help get artists, galleries, and the public connected. If you’ve found a new gallery through his site, or discovered a new artist, mention to them that you found them through this web site. And if you see me out and about, stop me and say hi.