Having lived in Spain, Italy, England, Lebanon and Scotland at some point or another in my adult life, I can testify that in many cities of the old world, businesses of a kind tend to cluster together. Thus if you are looking for spices, or perfumes or a tailor, you can be assured as you explore the souk in Bahrain that you’ll find a dozen different haberdashery businesses all next to each other once you discover which area is “tailor alley.”
In the new world, I suspect that if you own a shoe store, the last thing that you want is a couple other shoe stores opening next to you. After all, that would just be competition.
Art galleries are different in that aspect. In fact clusters of art galleries is the best thing that can happen to the individual art gallery: the more art galleries in one area, the best for all of them.
Why? Because then it makes the are a destination for people interested in art. In other words, if an art collector is interested in seeing some new artwork, and he/she has a choice of visiting an area where he can see 2-3 galleries or an area where he can see a dozen of them, guess which one would be a logical better choice.
And most major cities tend to then align their gallery openings and extended hours to happen on a particular day of the week, most frequently the first Friday of the month.
In my experience, I can testify that Philadelphia’s First Friday openings pack the streets around Old City, and the average age of the gallery aficionado is about 20 years younger than the Washington, DC First Friday openings. Details on all the Philly area gallery openings here.
DC’s art galleries are not as packed around Dupont Circle as they once were, but there are still quite a few art galleries there and the area also has their First Friday gallery openings going on for the galleries around Dupont Circle. Also generally from 6-8PM. Details on DC openings here.
And there is First Fridays in Fell’s Point in Baltimore too, but their website was not updated when I checked (shame on Baltimore).
A bit further South, Richmond, Virginia, has a great gallery scene beginning to develop and they’ve got their own First Fridays going on; details here.
Go see some artwork!