Downtown Art Walk, Hate It or Love It

This Thursday night is the perpetual Downtown ArtWalk, a monthly gathering for the debatably art-interested that runs primarily along Spring and Main Streets in the Historic Core. Several area galleries plan their openings in conjunction with the event, creating a local platform for arts collaboration and communication. The Downtown ArtWalk organization sets up a pop-up ArtWalk Lounge full of local information and a curated gallery show. Habitual visits from Hare Krishna liven the streets with chanting and song. That all being said, ask an average Downtown resident their opinion of ArtWalk and you'll find it's overwhelmingly negative - locals complain of crowded sidewalks, a proliferation of illegal street vending, and booze-fiending far-from-locals swarming restaurants and bars. Even the response from local galleries is extremely varied; some purposely close their doors on ArtWalk night wanting to distance themselves from the mayhem. Though other art spaces only open to the public during ArtWalk as they know they'll have guaranteed crowds. ArtWalk's rowdiness has improved over the past year, but it hasn't stopped the consistent complaints. Is it possible to offer a popular art crawl that pleases the residential as well as business and arts communities? •