History of First Friday Art Trail: The Heart and Soul of Downtown Lubbock cover image

History of First Friday Art Trail: The Heart and Soul of Downtown Lubbock

Downtown Lubbock • July 31, 2023

The First Friday Art Trail highlights the best food, shopping, and art in Lubbock. It's held in the Lubbock Cultural District on the first Friday of each month. It brings together collectors, artists, and the community for an unforgettable evening. Have you ever wondered how the First Friday Art Trail came to be?

We got to interview Lindsey Maestri, Executive Director at The Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for The Arts to learn more about this wonderful event!

Origin Story  

First Friday Art Trail (FFAT) began in 2004, with 13 people and a dog in attendance. At the time, the event was largely supported by artists and others directly related to the arts community. 

LHUCA (Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for The Arts) is the manager of FFAT. The event was created to encourage downtown art galleries and studios to have it’s artists’ opening receptions or open studio events on the same night. This helped visitors have more to do if they made the trip downtown and ultimately increased attendance for all of the venues. 

In the early days, LHUCA and other galleries provided free snacks and wine to encourage guests to attend FFAT.

Creation of First Friday Art Trail

FFAT was created to further foster appreciation for the arts in Lubbock by bringing in new audiences and supporters. 

It was also created out of a collaboration between many Lubbock arts venues who all wanted to see each other succeed. The FFAT venues today still share this collaborative, community driven spirit.

The Growth

Over the past 19 years, First Friday Art Trail has grown to host 20+ arts venues featuring visual art, live music, dance and theater performances, literary readings, and culinary tastings. 

The audience has also grown to over 5,000 each month (and countless dogs). The diversity of venues throughout downtown Lubbock has greatly expanded in recent years. 

LHUCA now enjoys partnering with independent book stores, wineries, breweries, coffee shops, numerous artist-run galleries, and other non-profits.

Plans for the Future

As FFAT continues to grow and add more venues to the trail, its goal is to make the event more walkable overall. 

To do this, LHUCA is being strategic about the trolley stop locations and anchoring these stops in places that have multiple venues within walking distance of the spot. The trolleys also alleviate parking concerns as many of the stops have ample parking nearby.

The First Friday Art Trail is a part of Lubbock history. It's an event that showcases creativity and union. It brings together all ages and they promise a night to enjoy! 

Next time you go, remember how they started!