December 2012 First Friday Gallery Walk

By Lower 48 standards, Juneau is a small town.  With just over 32,000 people, it’s easy for folks to stereotype this town as a boring little place with not much to do.  I don’t believe this is an accurate description, and it certainly wasn’t the case for the first Friday of this month!

A long-established monthly event in Juneau is the First Friday Gallery Walk, during which galleries and shops all over Juneau open new shows and host fun receptions throughout the evening. 

Since I hadn’t been to a First Friday event in a while, I was overly ambitious in mapping out the must-see spots.  What I didn’t plan for were the crowds.  Oh my heavens, the crowds!  So many throngs of people up and down the streets, it felt like a small cruise ship was in town.  Except these folks weren’t brandishing honkin’ lenses (for the most part) and oohing and awing about eagles overhead.  These were locals, the real deal.  And what was even more exciting was running into friends everywhere you turned.  This is the charm of life in Southeast Alaska.  This is what I love about “small-town” Juneau. 

Here are some of my favorite moments from this month’s First Friday:

Notable fiber artist and friend, Fabienne Peter-Contesse, featured her art quilts and other creations at Changing Tides on South Franklin Street in the Senate Building.  Keep in mind, this is not your great-grandmomma’s quilting projects. 

Impeccably designed and superbly orchestrated, these works of art are exactly that: legitimate pieces of ART.  I was also impressed to find unique items I can use on a daily basis: iPad cases!

To view more from this wickedly talented artist, check out Fabienne’s blog, The Conceptual Quilt.

Fabienne Peter-Contesse with her stunning water and ice-themed creations in the background.

The artist and one of her hand-stitched iPad cases.

From left: myself, Fabienne, Michelle, and Debbie during Fabienne's art gallery debut.

I simply had to own one of these hand-dyed, hand-stitched cases for my new iPad.

Another fun stop during First Friday – and frankly any day of the week for that matter – is Shoefly, the charming little shoe boutique on Seward Street for folks that love shoes beyond reason.  Shoefly even had complimentary shoe-shaped cookies by Chef Stef, and they hosted the Juneau Rollergirls as they sold their 2013 calendars and modeled Shoefly shoes. Love this place!

Top Row – The Shoefly Ladies: Jamie, Dawn Walsh (co-owner), and Cameron.  Not pictured: Sydney Mitchell (co-owner).

Bottom Row – Michelle and myself.

Window shopping takes a whole new meaning at Art Sutch Photography on Seward Street where you can usually find a massive pooch perched in the storefront window.  I suspect Luna is the most photographed dog in Juneau.  But aside from the Tibetan Mastiff, the real draw Friday night was freelance photographer Chris Miller's impressive gallery display.  I especially enjoyed his Alaska maritime photos –a la "Deadliest Catch" and very striking.

I didn’t snap shots of Chris’ photos since it just wouldn’t do it justice, but you can check out his outstanding Alaska-themed work here: and

Luna and the Bota Box o' wine.

She's alive and friendly.

And of course, December isn’t complete without an encounter with jolly old St. Nick!

Michelle with Santa, Mrs. Claus, and The Hat.

Naughty or nice?  He had to check his list twice.