All Together Arts Week celebration begins in Princeton


Bluefield Daily Telegraph

PRINCETON — Area residents brought their creativity to the streets Friday for Princeton's 16th annual All Together Arts Week and First Friday.

Participants were able to enjoy numerous activities throughout the day in Princeton. The celebration began at the Princeton Public Library for the Books Bugs Storytime & Craft followed by afternoon jazz at Sisters Coffeehouse and an open studio at Hammer & Stain before the first art walk was held. A First Fridays concert followed with a performance from Grace Campbell.

A dozen creative entities set up in the square, according to Lori McKinney, organizer of the All Together Arts Week.

"It's interesting because there is an intersection of multiple events — like it is the start of the event season," McKinney said. "We have amazing visual artists now and one of them is Shannon Shine. She's a great organizer and such a magnet for creative people and she had it in her heart to bring Art Walk to First Friday. So it's nice to have it launch cause concerts and the Art Walk pair really well together and right now artists are out there as people are arriving. So it's a good way to capture people even if they didn't know anything is happening. I think it's really sweet."

Due to rain, the Princeton Dance Studio Competition Team was unable to perform, however the band played while attendees hung out under tents.

And although it began to rain, that didn't stop attendee Destiny Crawny from enjoying herself.

"I'm excited to do some crafts, everyone is still continuing to go on and everyone is so happy, and the rain is not going to ruin today," Crawny said. "I never attended. I came back from college and it's going really good."

The art walk was a success, according to Shine. It featured 10-15 artists showcasing and selling their items.

"The concept is to place artist up and down the street of the downtown so creatives can help build up the energy," Shine said. "We want to create an economic buildup of the street and not just sit and listen to music so that all the different merchants can benefit."

Kierstan Gillman of Touch of Cajun launched their business at the event.

"Lori reached out and asked us to set up. We're brand new to the area and this is our very first event," Gillman said. "We're extremely excited and hoping we draw a really big crowd, and we're excited to listen to the live music and see all the other awesome vendors."

Loren Preston returned as a vendor for the third year with her family to do a free kids crafts and sell items from their small shop, "Rainbow Art farms."

All Together Arts Week continues until May 10.