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One of the best things Lubbock has to offer is First Friday Art Trail (FFAT).

FFAT happens every first Friday of the month, rain or shine. Here's some advice from my friends and I, all artists and/or regular attendees of the trail.

The Basics

"The Art Trail is officially open 6-9 p.m. A few places stay open later, but I encourage people to arrive early. Look at the FFAT page on the LHUCA website before you come out. Target the shows you want to see. You can't see it all in one night. Many galleries have regular business hours, so check them out during the week.

Have fun and talk to people. If you don’t like what you see this month, come back next month. The shows change." - Chad

Have a Rough Idea Where You Want to Go, But Be Flexible

"See it all...don't stay in one place !!" - Ronald

"Go in with an open mind. Remember…. Art is subjective." -Topher

"Be hyper aware of your surroundings. There are a lot of people in a relatively small space." -Ben.

It's good to have a rough plan so you can park accordingly and spend your time wisely. Three hours ends up being a very short time when you're having fun on the trail. Here's this month's map to help you choose your trail adventure.

The venue(s) you had in mind to visit may be overcrowded. You may run through the venue quickly and need something else to do. Or something you never planned on caring about may catch your eye. Your favorite taco truck might not be there. Any of these crises can be overcome as there are plenty of venues and food trucks to enjoy. You may discover a new favorite.

LHUCA Is Amazing, But There Are Other Venues

"Go to the main part of the trail (LHUCA) early and hit the other satellite galleries later.  I love the performance art so i always check out what’s on the stages and I really enjoy Flatlands Dance!" - Michelle

"Get off into the hidden, smaller places take the trail less traveled. There may not be as much bar action, less food truck presence, but the art and gallery owner interactions tremendous. Glassyalley, East Lubbock Art House, Broadway Contemporary, Grey Edges, Rock Paper Shears, there's cool stores in Depot. Celebrate the whole trail." - Larry

The Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts (511 Avenue K) is a magical place with expertly curated fine art. Housing three gallery areas in addition to an art "hallway" means there's a lot to see there. And a lot of people show up to see it. It can get quite crowded, and I know there are folks who don't like/can't handle that much of a crowd.

LHUCA is open many, many hours outside of FFAT when you can see the art at your own leisure. But if you like being in the thick of it, then you'll love LHUCA during the trail.

Dress to Impress While Remaining Comfortable

"Just be yourself and keep the confidence."  - Glenda

"Wear good shoes and walk and enjoy down town." -  A.J.

"Wear comfortable shoes." - Wes

"Allow yourself time to really soak it all in. Look at exhibits you wouldn't normally be interested in. Also, people watching is the most enjoyable part for me. Seeing all the happy people makes me happy." - Remy

FFAT is a really fun opportunity to dress up a bit. Of course this is by no means required or expected, but if you enjoy flaunting a little of your personal fashion, it adds another dimension of fun to your art trail experience.

You do want to dress for the weather, and I highly recommend wearing shoes at your level. There's a lot of uneven terrain depending on where the trail takes you. Doing it in heels might leave you walking like a new-born giraffe. Can you tell I learned this the hard way? But I have many friends that have the grace and balance to pull it off.

Be Respectful of the Art and Other Attendees

"Please, please, please do not touch the artwork!" - Tim

"Don’t just stop in the middle of walking in traffic." - Star

"Enjoy the Artwork. Talk to the artists, learn about their work. To me they are the reason for the trail." - Robert

"Art occurs at the moment you no longer fully understand what you are experiencing. If something intrigues or offends you, that’s the good stuff." - Neil

I have worked at galleries in Lubbock before and I was appalled at how often I had to ask people to not touch the paintings. Or to stop letting their children touch the paintings. Why on earth were they touching the paintings?

If you're respectful of the art, the artists and your fellow art trail attendees, you're going to have a good time. If you really allow yourself to be open to the art, artists and new people, you're going to have a beautiful time.

Some Other Really Smart Tips

"Bring cash monies!" - Julie

"Eat the cheese and drink the wine." - Jamie

"Take an Uber." - Lan

"Broadway Contemporary Fine Art Gallery is a great venue to see." - James

"Visit Bentley Arrow...and enjoy a amazing view of something different." - Lukky

"Don't be afraid of crowds, go with a group and don't get separated." - Jay

"The trolley is more fun than you'd think." - Me

Have a beautiful time on the trail, y'all.

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