Late Night College Hill artshow displays local talent

The evening of September 6 saw the creation of a new College Hill event, the Destination College Hill: After Hours Art Walk. Many Topeka organizations and businesses joined together to provide a unique experience.

The most notable of the businesses were PT’s Coffee, College Hill Pizza Pub, The Burger Stand and The Lofts at College Hill, but other organizations included the Capitol City Crushers, Topeka’s women’s roller derby team, board and card game business Tabletalk Games and local band, Lo Pan’s Revenge.

Many local small businesses also had tables for the night and were selling everything from jewelry to art to vintage clothing. The event started at 7 p.m. and ran well into the night. Art exhibits were set up in the unused business spaces next to The Burger Stand and Boca Café and featured local artists, as well as those from as far out as Salina. Outside were live performances from entertainers including hula-hoopers and fire-throwers.

“When we were collaborating [on the planning of the event], we decided to have a First Friday thing, and with NOTO [the North Topeka Arts District, home to another First Friday Art Walk] having theirs in the daytime, it ends a little early in the evening and then there’s nothing to really do. So we decided to do the whole ‘After Hours’ thing and make it a little more ‘late night-ish’ and generate a little more attention for the area,” said Forrest Wright, general manager of PT’s Coffee and one of the main organizers of the event.

The After Hours Art Walk certainly succeeded in that respect. Students, artists and business owners alike were out and about enjoying the festivities. In addition to observing the art, visitors were encouraged to make their own on the sidewalks and brick walls of College Hill with chalk that could be obtained at either The Burger Stand or The Lofts.

Food and drink specials were also in effect at the restaurants. PT’s Coffee even brought in a special cask of 8-Bit Pale Ale, provided by Tallgrass Brewing Co, a brewery based out of Manhattan, Kan.

“My time at the First Friday was a blast. There was a lot of artwork and the quality was much better than I would have thought. I didn’t realize how many talented people there were in Topeka and drinking while doing it’s always nice too,” said Ansin Ramsey, a philosophy major.

“It’s been a little hectic setting up, but it’s been great,” said Beth King, an artist whose pieces were on display.

Laura Engelheardt, art coordinator of the event, explained a little more about the hectic nature of the art areas when she revealed that since there were no businesses in them, there was no electricity.

“All of the lights in here [the area next to Boca Café] are rigged from a breaker box and all of the lights in the other space are either being swiped from The Burger Stand, or from the apartments above,” said Engelheardt.

Despite that setback, though, the lighting in the art areas was just fine, allowing the many visitors to appreciate the many pieces that hung on the walls.

“I thought the First Friday was a lot of fun and pretty impressive. For an up and coming area they did pretty good showing what they had,” said Washburn student Hannah Tullis.

Students who wanted to attend the Art Walk but were unable to will have a second chance, fate permitting.

“We hope to do another of these First Friday events before winter comes, but they take a lot of time to plan,” sid Ashley Rudolph, property manager of The Lofts at College Hill, and another one of the main organizers of the event.