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Art Crawl: Fast becoming end of work week destination

Fast becoming a Friday night destination for couples looking to wind down after sitting behind a desk all week, the Downtown Franklin Art Scene, often called the “art crawl,” has become date night for many.

The Art Crawl is fast becoming a girl’s night out destination, a relaxing mix of shopping and social. Submitted
But when the men are too tired, it seems it’s the ladies, usually traveling in small packs, that are gravitating to this eclectic mix of culinary refreshment, engaging art exhibits, live music, and laid back shopping.

And, even if it’s just a bit of fresh air and exercise you want, mark your calendar for the first Friday of every month.
Date night for some

Fair Street resident Kathy Berry is an avid fan, so much so that she recommended it to her son and daughter-in-law before ultimately convincing her husband Dewees to tag along.

Two years later, the Art Scene is on Kathy’s to do list.

“We want to go this week and support our neighbor and friend Joseph Bibb,” she said about one of dozens of featured artists.
But Kathy’s first experience with this event was much more than a single stop.

An impromptu night out with friends from her church led her to some shops not usually on her regular route.

“The art crawl gave me the opportunity to see things that I would not have seen normally, and I did return the next day after that night to make a few purchases,” Berry said.

Expanding the event to include her husband was easier than she thought.

Dewees Berry, an attorney and law professor by day, has given the event thumbs up.

“(Dewees) enjoyed the movement of the art crawl, especially the fact that you don’t have to stay in one place. It is really a moving museum. The whole thing is a moving museum because you have all of the downtown historic buildings, some being redone, and then the art and music. The food and wine offered by the merchants does really attribute to the ambience.”
The Berry’s have enjoyed it so much they recommended it to their son and new daughter-in-law.

Alma McLemore, center, enjoys a night out with the girls—Sara Davis (left) and Bonita Lawrence—during the Art Scene, which celebrates two years this Friday night in downtown Franklin. Submitted
Coburn “Skip” Berry and his wife Becca have settled down in Franklin, where “Skip” as his childhood friends know him, has just opened a private law practice. 

Friday night will be a chance to support his lifelong friend and neighbor Joseph Bibb, who is exhibiting at Stites and Harbison.
“He and Becca really like going. They both enjoy dabbling in painting,” said Berry, who moved to Franklin in 1976. “Since Skip graduated from Rutgers and moved back to Franklin, he and Becca have really gotten involved in downtown Franklin.

Meet and greet

When Alma McLemore and her girlfriends make plans for the weekend, it must involve food and fellowship.
The art crawl adds an extra special dimension to their memory making.

“We usually start at Stites and Harbison, and if we don’t start there, we end up there because I see a lot of people that I know from the community, said McLemore, a Franklin native and civic leader.

A perfect end to a sometimes overly packed week, McLemore looks forward to the first Friday of the month.

“The art crawl is a feel good thing. Sometimes we may eat before we go or we may go to Moe Better Fish and BBQ’s food truck and get a fish sandwich or ribs. We just go and we see people we know. It’s just the fellowship. It’s about getting hugs.”
And, most of all, she finds the night to be an outlet for her love of people.

“The thing I like is it’s not strenuous. It’s free and it’s fun. I try to encourage a lot of people to come and see downtown because a lot of people don’t always go downtown.”

“We’ve grown as a city, but we are still small enough to see people we know and share a lot of love and fellowship.”
When Lori John, of Fieldstone Farms, first encountered the Boutique MMM during the art crawl, she said she knew the shop was special.

“The owner Maria is from Europe, and she really knows the shoe business. I loved just watching her fit these ladies, each one, with a pair of shoes that really was perfect for them,” John explained of Romanian-born Maria Molnar.

Two years ago, John happened upon a group of ladies, actually a mother, daughter, and two granddaughters—one family, three generations.

“My husband and I just happened to be downtown and when we ran into my friends, I just decided to stay out longer and join them on the art crawl. It was one of those unplanned nights that turned out to be a great time. I just remember going into the shoe store on the Square and seeing these beautiful shoes for the first time. I think the shop had just opened, and there were two artists there that night that were fabulous. She paints farms and rural scenes of Williamson County.”

John, originally of Knoxville, has lived in Franklin for nearly 20 years off and on, in-between a short stint in Atlanta.
Her memory of Boutique MMM’s launch in Franklin is right on the mark.

Owner Maria Molnar said this week that she too is celebrating a two-year anniversary.

 “Franklin has been good to us,” Molnar shared. Her rich accent, classic style and sincere enthusiasm for her customer make her an attraction of her own.

“This is my passion. When I sell a pair of shoes to the ladies, they walk out with a smile on their face. You have so much pressure in life. The last thing you want is pressure in a shoe shop. You just want people to have fun.”
John may not know Molnar very well, but Molnar knows her clientele.

“It was a wonderful night,” John said of one of her first nights attending the Art Scene nearly two years ago. “My friend even bought a pair of shoes and I’ve seen them on her a thousand times. They are beautiful.”

Building a night
Downtown residents Mike and Diane Christian started attending Art Scene from the start two years ago. They haven’t looked back.

Longtime realtor Diane Christian opened her new firm Daniel-Christian Real Estate with son Matt Daniel on Fifth Avenue two years ago, the summer the art crawl debuted.

They have two reasons to celebrate this summer, the emergence of a new business footprint in downtown Franklin and their patronage of an organic, grassroots event they love.

“This event is really enticing people to want to make an evening of it with family and friends,” said Mike Christian.

Almost like a pre-game party, he said he and Diane have been invited to another couple’s home in downtown so they can visit before hitting the shops and galleries.

Posted on: 9/5/2013


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