11 Free Art Shows to See in Downtown Phoenix on First Friday, October 2

There’s plenty to see in and around downtown Phoenix during this month’s First Friday, which promises everything from monsters to robots exhibited in venues including a former warehouse and a performing arts center. A couple of exhibitions open at 5:30 p.m., so it’s a good night to get an early start on First Friday, which lots of gallery-goers will cap off with a late-night visit to Legend City Studios for a little "sweet 16" time with Randy Slack's "Chaos Theory."

"Chaos Theory"
Phoenix artist Randy Slack delivers his 16th annual "Chaos Theory" invitational exhibition, featuring video installation, paintings, sculpture, photography, mixed media, and more by some of the best-known artists around these parts — including Steve Yazzie, Carolyn Lavender, Jeff Falk, and Annie Lopez. He'll fill Legend City Studios with 70 works for a single night in what many would argue is one of Phoenix's most anticipated shows. Expect new works by Rachel Bess, Larry Madigral, Lori Fenn, Peter Diese, and Kendra Sollars and Lauren Strohacker — and the first "Chaos Theory" showing ever by the Fortoul Brothers. After nearly a decade since their last "Chaos Thoery" showing, Mayme Kratz and Sue Chenoweth will also have pieces in this year's exhibition. Slack's own piece for "Chaos Theory" brings enamel and acrylic to three canvas panels bearing "tons of gold leaf shine." The exhibition, which will be accompanied by fashion as well as musical performance by Somber Sides and Heartless Bartons, runs Friday from 6 p.m. to midnight. Find more information on Randy Slack's Facebook page.

"Then, After a Lime Lollipop"
Nancy Hill curates her latest exhibition for Chartreuse, which features paintings and mixed-media collages by Cheryl Marine, a former member of the Eye Lounge artist cooperative. Marine's works explore human existence, considering human relationships with one another and with their environments. Friday's opening reception takes places from 6 to 9 p.m. Find more information on the Chartreuse Facebook page.

"Monster Exhibit"
Those who like to stretch their Halloween experience from one night to a whole freaking month can get it done by starting at the Alwun House, where this Friday's opening for a group show with a monster theme will include not just art, but also mod zombies, refreshments, and hijinks. Expect dark humor, creatures, villains, and proof that last week’s “Francis effect” is already long gone. First Friday hours are 7 to 10 p.m. Find more information on the Alwun House website.

"Curious Oddities"
Robots will be in the house as Phoenix assemblage sculptor Jordan-Alexander Thomas brings his creations made with up-cycled materials and wood to Practical Art. The artist reception for Thomas’ solo exhibition takes place this Friday from 7 to 9 p.m. Find more information on the Practical Art website.

"Nascent Site: Sight"
See photographic works by ASU photography alumni in this inaugural exhibition in the new location for ASU’s Northlight Gallery, which is situated inside the Grant Street Studios former warehouse that’s also home to ASU’s Step Gallery. This Friday from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Northlight Gallery presents an artist talk featuring David Emitt Adams, Krista Elrick, and Claire Warden — who will discuss the body of work that their images in this show represent. Find more information on the ASU Northlight Gallery website.
Averian Chee
Hit DeSoto Central Market this Friday to explore works by Averian Chee in a solo show curated by Philip Talarico of Downtown Artists Collective (he also curated an Abe Zucca show you can see from 6 to 8 p.m. at Fair Trade Café). Chee creates landscapes and portraits in a variety of styles, using a wide range of media including acrylic, oil, pastels, charcoal, aerosol, watercolor, pen/ink, and more. Find more information on the DeSoto Central Market website.

"Seasons and Cycles"
Meet the artists during the opening reception for this group exhibition at the Herberger Theater Art Gallery, which was curated by Georgia Michalicek. The opening reception this Friday takes place from 5:30 to 7 p.m. — and includes music/painting by Tempe artist Oliverio Balcells. There’s even a no-host bar adjacent to the gallery. Find more information on the Herberger Theater Center website.

Explore an eclectic collection of works by seven women artists at The Lab Pop-Up Gallery. These artists work in photography, jewelry design, embroidery, mixed media, painting, and woodworking with reclaimed materials. Featured artists — including Robyn Rose, Sally Sinor, Narcissa Segura, Kelsey Jones, Nicky Hedayatzadeh, IZ Word, and Monica Robles — were asked to create works reflecting their unique artistic voice and visual identity. First Friday hours are 7 to 10 p.m., and the evening also includes music by M. Rocka. Find more information on The Lab Pop-Up Gallery website.

"Phoenix Rising"
Enjoy works by fourteen women artists featured in the group show "Phoenix Rising: The Emergence of the Latina Artists" at Xico Galeria, where festivities include light refreshments. Featured artists include Denise Amaya, Elena Beltran, Christina Cardenas, Emily Costello, Irene Torres-Felix, Emma Garcia, Norma Garcia-Torres, Maria Kane, Annie Lopez, Tiffany Mayorga, Teresa Muñoz, Azalea Rodriguez, Mary Ann Rodriguez-Veatch, Patricia Silva, and Veronica Verdugo. The artist reception this Friday takes place from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Find more information in the Xico Arte y Cultura website

"Paradigm Shift"
Head to monOrchid’s Shade Gallery to see a solo exhibition of works by Robert Gentile if you’re into mixed media with a street art vibe. Gentile uses diverse media including acrylic paint, markers, pastels, and spray paint to create pieces exude his passion for graffiti culture. Gentile will attend the opening reception this Friday from 6 to 10 p.m. Find more information on the monOrchid website.

Grand Avenue Artist Collective
Several artists who’ve formed an arts collective will be showing and selling works in diverse media at the industrial-style gallery space located at the Oasis on Grand. First Friday hours are 6 to 9 p.m. Find more information on the Oasis on Grand website
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Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble