Richard Carter, For the Times Record News Published 10:20 a.m. CT May 1, 2018

AHA! The After Hours Artwalk in beautiful downtown Wichita Falls is in full spring this Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. and will continue the first Thursday of each month through October.

The artwalk commences at 6 p.m. Thursday May 3 with artists, musicians and nine downtown coffee shops, bars and restaurants; 13 shops and services businesses; and 12 galleries and museums.

“You can really start anywhere,” said Becky Raeke, owner of 9th Street Studios and member of Downtown Wichita Falls Development Inc. “There is no central start spot, but a lot of people begin their trek at the Downtown Farmer’s Market because of the spotlight event there from 6 to 6:30 p.m.”

In March, the spotlight event featured the Wichita Falls Community Orchestra. This Thursday there will be gymnasts performing in the Market. Directly west of the Market are galleries including The Lily Pad and Wichita Falls Art Association Gallery, and Seventh St. Studio is just a block away on Ohio St.

A trolley regularly checks in at the Farmer’s Market and takes people all over downtown including the Kell House and the Kemp Center for the Arts. The Kemp Center does a Sculpture Garden After Dark event from 7 to 9 p.m. that includes live music.

Area band City Creeps will play at 9thStreet StudiosBuy Photo
Area band City Creeps will play at 9thStreet Studios at 6 p.m. Thursday as part of the After Hours Artwalk that runs downtown until 9 p.m. (Photo: Richard Carter/For the Times Record News)

In addition to the art featured in the downtown galleries and museums, Raeke said there were 51 artists who set up art in April. “Most are from the area but some came in from Lawton.

“We use the Farmer’s Market for artisans and artists who want to set up tables. People also set up their art wares on the streets. Ohio Street between 7th and 9th is a popular location.

“We encourage artists to link up with the business they want to set up in front, so it’s not just a one night deal. We hope it becomes a regular thing.”

Raeke got involved with the downtown art walk in 2017, after she opened 9th Street Studios alongside her insurance business in October 2016. She worked with Downtown Development to get businesses to commit to participating on a regular basis and to also develop fun events within the artwalk.

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Downtown After Hours Artwalk a stroll among shops, artists, musicians
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Larry Roderick fires up scrap metal that he turned into 36-inch samurai swords at the After Hours Artwalk May 4. The next Artwalk is June 1. Head downtown, where art galleries, restaurants and other businesses are open late and the Downtown Farmers Market filled with artists. Times Record News file
Larry Roderick fires up scrap metal that he turned into 36-inch samurai swords at the After Hours Artwalk May 4. The next Artwalk is June 1. Head downtown, where art galleries, restaurants and other businesses are open late and the Downtown Farmers Market filled with artists. Times Record News file
Volunteers and business owners hand out maps, which show all the organizations that are involved.

The Artwalk should be really fun this Thursday, she said. Her studio will be open with artist Mark McDowell’s show, and will feature live music by City Creeps and the Wichita Falls Community Orchestra, under the patio.

Two new downtown businesses, Golden Bee Consignment and the next door Pecan Creek Artists Studio & Gallery (911 Indiana) will celebrate grand openings Thursday with live music, food and wine.

Although The Yard will do its grand Re-Opening on May 12, the food truck park will also be open Thursday night live music and artists. The 6th Street Winery will set up inside The Yard, she said.

The Artwalk have added two new regular events in 2017 to the Thursday night affair. From 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, a teaching artist and local artist will give kids a free lesson for the Young at Art program. This month is caricature/portraiture.

There is no age limit for Young at Art, and it’s free. The event changes location each month and will be in front of the Oil and Gas building in May.

The other new monthly happening is Alleyway Activations. “Last month it was by Park Central, and this month it’s the alley between Oil and Gas and the City National Building. We light up the alley and set up musicians and artists in the alleyway. It’s a lot of fun,” she said.

Raeke said she looks to the continued growth of the event. “It gives people the opportunity to come down and see what Wichita Falls can be.”