Situated at the convergence of four unique neighborhoods (Culver, Blackford’s Grove, Goosetown, and Wheeler), Haynie’s Corner Art District, blends diverse businesses with cultural attractions. First Fridays is a new monthly event that highlights indoor and outdoor art exhibits and artists around Haynie’s Corner, named after the drug store that operated there for years.
“We’re shooting for Haynie’s Corner to be the place for art in Evansville,” says Cole Cartwright, First Fridays events chair. “With First Fridays, we’re looking to bring people to the art district where they can have fun and see art on a regular basis.”
Thanks to the hard work of the Haynie’s Corner Art District Association, First Fridays combine all corners from the creative crowd. Chefs, musicians, artists, and performers bring their talents to local business owners who open their doors to Haynie’s Corner visitors.
“It’s a concept that’s popular in other big cities,” says Mary Allen, president of Haynie’s Corner Art District Association and owner of Soap Solutions, 44 Washington Ave. “We wanted to promote the arts, and we wanted to show off the corner and how it’s developing.”
The Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana is one of the many partners in this project. According to Anne McKim, the executive director at the Arts Council, “We have provided the backhand administrative support matching artists with a venue based on space needs and style of works.”
With 18 locations and counting scattered throughout the art district from Penny Lane Coffeehouse on S.E. Second Street to Kirby’s Private Dining along Parrett Street, local artists including Emily Gartner of Evansville, who makes surface design photography, display their work at participating businesses.
“Creative people have been waiting a long time to showcase their talents,” says Gartner whose work is displayed at Penny Lane. “We’ve been wanting to show we can stand up to the bigger cities — to show we can do it, too, and do it better.”
The Art District Association is moving toward a formal 501(c)3 status, according to Cartwright. The association focuses on developing the economic and cultural growth of the district and achieves those goals through art, education, and events like First Fridays.
“We don’t want to just help our pockets; we want to help the neighborhood,” says Cartwright. “Although this is a project that is coming to fruition now, it’s been something in the works for a long time. We owe a lot of praise to the Haynie’s Corner Advisory Committee, and they have kept the ball rolling with city development here.”
In the last two years, the corner has seen an influx of new, local businesses like the restaurant Sauced, 1113 Parrett St. The Bokeh Lounge, 1007 Parrett St., recently finished its expansion and Haynie’s Corner Pub, 1114 Parrett St., reopened its doors after a two-year renovation. The district also is excited to welcome the Dapper Pig, 1112 Parrett St., to the corner in the summer.
“Now there are more people in this area to work together,” says Allen. “There are people invested in the area, so we’re hoping to bring people down to Haynie’s. It takes people starting businesses to bring people down here, and it’s risky.”
For more information about Haynie’s Corner First Fridays, visit downtownevv.com to view the social calendar.