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First Fridays Adds CenterStage, Library to Monthly Event

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If 3,000 people crowding into a few square blocks of Broad Street every first Friday of the month weren't big enough, Richmond's First Fridays Art Walk is about to get even bigger, expanding east toward the cultural oasis of CenterStage four or so blocks away.

The expansion, planned for the March, April and May events, also will include the Library of Virginia, the University of Richmond's downtown campus and St. Paul's Episcopal Church.

“We really hope this would bridge the gap between the heart of First Fridays and these great anchor sites just a few blocks east of us,” says Christina Newton, director of Curated Culture, which plans the monthly event.

Adding to the usual array of independent gallery exhibits and street performances, the new exhibit spaces largely will play to their strengths. At the March event, CenterStage plans free Richmond Shakespeare Theater performances of “Othello.” UR and the library plan art exhibits, and St. Paul's will expand its annual Lenten lunches and auction to make it part of the evening events.

Newton says she hopes the Art Walk benefits in other ways from the partnerships with these larger cultural organizations. “Some of those venues have parking, which is a huge amenity,” she says. The Library of Virginia has a subterranean parking deck and St. Paul's has a deck at Eighth Street.

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