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Gallery Night Moves To Monthly Events For 2014

Downtown Improvement Board

In 2014, Gallery Night will become a monthly event in Downtown Penascola. WUWF’s Katya Ivanov reports that attendees can expect more themed events than in the past. In previous years, Gallery Night took place seven times a year. Ron Butlin is executive director of the Downtown Improvement Board.

“We’ve always charged the businesses to participate,” Butlin said. “Going from seven to twelve means that the amount of money they’re paying is going to increase as well. It’s a little bit less than double, but yes, they’re paying more for the season, and they’re paying a tiny bit more per event, but not much.”

Most of the events will take place on the third Friday of the month.

“The March event will be the second Friday. The April event will be the first Friday, and the reason is in April, we tie the schedule to JazzFest, and JazzFest has a lot of its musicians come in from around the country, and they come downtown and they play Gallery Night, so it makes for a really neat Gallery Night,” Butlin said.

Businesses can now co-sponsor one of the monthly events. Pensacon will co-sponsor the February 21st Gallery Night, which takes place on the first night of the multi-genre fan convention. The February Gallery Night will be co-sponsored by. Mike Ensley is chairman of Pensacon.

“We’ve recruited many of the businesses downtown to be involved with us,” Ensley said. “Folks like Hopjacks and Play and New York Nick’s and a lot of the clubs and bars and restaurants downtown are all gonna do their own parties for that evening. We’ll have our guests at certain places. There will be themes. I know Hopjacks was thinking about doing a cantina party for Star Wars. Play is talking about doing video game tournaments.”

Mainline Art House, a new gallery in the Artisan Building on Palafox and Main Street, will co-sponsor the September Gallery Night and is set to open that evening. Most galleries will continue to stay open from 5 to 9pm for Gallery Night. However, one gallery has been staying open until midnight. Jim Sweida is outgoing president of Blue Morning Gallery. He says that three to four thousand people visit the gallery throughout the evening on Gallery Night.

“We were still closing the door on people at nine o’clock,” Sweida said. “As a business person, I hate closing the door on someone who’s trying to come in. and so we said, ‘Let’s test the market,’ see how much business is out there after nine o’clock. Let’s stay open until midnight until the street opens again. Our test showed that twenty five percent of our business came after 10pm.”

Sweida says that Blue Morning Gallery will continue to stay open until midnight for the now-monthly events.

The next Gallery Night is this Friday, January 17. More information is available online at www.downtownpensacola.com.

Katya Ivanov, WUWF News