Tinder-ready dogs, scientific sculptures and a revived Cerbera highlight your Cinco de Mayo First Friday
Coincidentally, every so often First Friday is bound to fall on May 5. Cinco de Mayo is not a Mexican holiday, but people of Mexican heritage, like Americans do for St. Patrick’s Day, for example, take the day’s popularity to share their culture. It’s not just a cash-cow day for restaurants; the Guadalupe Centers, in fact, claim the longest-running regional celebration of its kind. Be one of the 5,000-plus people who come by 1015 Avenida Cesar E Chavez for this annual fiesta Friday (5-11 p.m.) and Saturday, May 6 (11 a.m.-11 p.m.) for authentic food, live entertainment, local vendors and more.
Keeping an eye out for cultural appropriation (don’t wear ridiculous racist clothing or call this “Cinco de Drinko,” please), know that Mattie Rhodes Art Gallery (919 West 17th Street) is always an appropriate place to take in some Mexican-American culture. The second annual Chicano Voice exhibition opens May 5 (6-9 p.m.), with the 2017 theme “heroes.” Artists Luis Garcia, Rodoldo Marron, Adolfo Gustavo Martinez, Chico Sierra, Vania Soto and Maria Vazquez-Boyd were invited to submit works that address the concept of heroes. Special programming highlights our Greater Kansas City/Midwest Chicano heritage, through the lives of Hector Barreto, Primitivo Garcia, Ruben Garcia (Luis Garcia’s uncle, who he says may have been the first comic-strip illustrator to have been published with a bilingual focus, in the early ’70s), Mary Lona, Nellie Lozano and Anna Riojas.
At the other end of 18th Street’s cultural corridor, Crossroads on the Vine is presented by the American Jazz Museum (1616 East 18th Street), featuring more than 500 pieces of art created by the students of Crossroads Charter School. It’s all part of First Fridays at 18th & Vine, marking its first anniversary May 5 with the usual live music, food trucks, local vendors and art (4:30-9 p.m.) The American Jazz and Negro Leagues Baseball museums are open for free during this time, too.
After a two-year hiatus, artists Lori Raye Erickson and Christel Highland are re-opening their gallery project, Veritable Art, to the public again, with a kickoff show Friday and Saturday that features David Stein. From the organizers: “In the spirit of our quarterly Salons, we will stick with our mission of giving a percentage of our profits directly to artists in need.” Refreshments are on hand from 6 to 9 p.m. May 5 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 6, upstairs in the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center (2012 Baltimore). Stein’s work is scientific and mathematic, but his sculptures are accessible: They center on exquisite craftsmanship of exotic woods and their pigments, and even fossilized mammoth ivory repurposed from antique musical instruments.
Also back from a break of sorts, Dylan Mortimer is celebrating a successful lung transplant. Last Sunday he gave witness of the latest step in his living journey with cystic fibrosis to a packed Heartland Community Church, and if you follow him on social media, you know he’s back to making glitter paintings — and sharing them with Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, which released him from rehab recently following surgery earlier this year. Reactor Design Studio (1817 Grand) is hosting some of his new work, and a reception happens tonight from 5 to 9. Mortimer will also come to another be at Haw Contemporary (1600 Liberty, West Bottoms) from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday, May 13.
Cerbera Gallery (2011 Baltimore) has a special show this month, on view for just a couple of weeks. The Dogs I’ve Dated is a series of paintings by Laura L. Davis, who documents the phenomenon of online dating — you know, the world in which folks’ profile pics often include props such as goats, cars, boats or dogs. “I’m likable — I have a dog,” the visuals seem to plead. Davis says maybe this showing off “hints back to the age-old dowry or is just a warning of what you are to expect or gain from a relationship with them.” After a series of real-life encounters taken on after a 25-year marriage ended, she quips, “A few of these men remain friends; some are one-timers. The dogs’ names have not been changed to protect their owners’ identity.”
Also at Cerbera, a showcase of original drawings and gouaches by Joan Miró (above), enhanced with texts by Lise Hirtz, Il Etait une Petite Pie (There was a little magpie). Opening reception: 5-8 p.m. First Friday.
ArtsKC, 106 Southwest Blvd.
New work by Rick Wright on view at Kansas City’s regional arts funding and advocacy organization; recent figurative works exploring dance, movement and the strength of the feminine form; 7-10 p.m. May 5.
Jasper Johns: Prints
Belger Arts Center, 2100 Walnut
Dozens of prints spanning 40 years of the artist’s output are out of storage and on view through September 2.
Ready to Ware
Belger Crane Yard Studios, 2011 Tracy
A curated exhibition of contemporary studio potters whose work focuses on dinnerware sets runs through July 8: Jake Bond, Julie Bond, Brin Baucum, Dale Baucum, Chandra DeBuse, Erica Iman, Meredith Host, Paul Donnelly, Lauren Smith and Alex Watson.
Bridges and Gaps: The Annual Red Star Resident Exhibition
Join resident artists for an opening reception May 5, 6-9 p.m. for an exhibition of functional and sculptural ceramic work: Emily Connell, Kelly Lynn Daniels, Christina Erives, Hiromi Iyoda, Wen Dan Lin and Sarah Jewell Olsen “display the cross-section of processes, techniques and conceptual ideas present in the current ceramic field.” Other artists will host open studios this weekend, too.
Blue Gallery, 118 Southwest Boulevard
Opening reception (6-9 p.m.) for new solo show of art by James Leonard.
Renegades and Role Models
Escapist, 405 Southwest Blvd.
Photographs by Bryce Kanights highlight 30-plus years of great skateboarders and iconic skateboarding culture; 7-10 p.m. reception May 5, with support by Independent Trucks, Stance and Pabst.
First Friday at Garcia Squared
Garcia Squared Contemporary,115 West 18th Street
A series of works in progress by Chico Sierra and photographs by Israel Alejandro Garcia Garcia offer commentary on today’s political climate and the Latinex community’s cultural identity amid a hostile environment; 5-8 p.m.
10th Annual Human Form in Art Show
Hilliard Gallery, 1820 McGee
Opened in April, this 10th anniversary show runs through May 27.
New Works by Guinotte Wise, opens at Hilliard with a reception May 5, 6-9 p.m. Wise’s metal sculptures come together in surprising ways from his personal junkyard of scraps. Runs through June 30.
2017 Annual BFA Exhibition
H&R Block Artspace at KCAI, 16 East 43rd Street
Group show by candidates earning their bachelor of fine arts degrees this semester. Closing reception: 5-7 p.m. May 5.
Imagine That Gallery, 2010 McGee
The annual “doodle exhibition” displays works-from-process from the gallery’s artists. This is a festival, and your participation is invited: Celina Curry and Andy Ozier will be drawing alongside you, as people swap what they make on site for selected drawings from Imagine That artists. Snacks from Local Pig and drinks from Boulevard; 6-9 p.m.
Jones Gallery, 1717 Walnut
Artist Ernie Porter has worked with clients in mental health and corrections and is considered a leader in the field of art therapy. Open 10 a.m.-9 p.m. May 5.
Paintallica: Worst Show Yet (above)
Jeff Robinson: Paintings
Leedy-Voulkos Art Center, 2012 Baltimore
Both continue through May 27, and three new solo shows open from 6 to 9 p.m. May 5:
Illuminating Craft: Chase Ford
Hopscotch: Rebecca Gemeinhardt
Present Arrival: Xiaolei McKean
Susan Knight’s Water Bank Boogie IV
Mid-America Arts Alliance, 2018 Baltimore
Susan Knight’s site-specific arrangement of hand-cut paper is modeled after Victorian techniques and mimics the porousness of groundwater deposits. It’s on view through June 9.
Open May 5, 6-8 p.m., KCAI fiber artists E.K. Harrison and Natalie Spicker present Behind the Facade, Beneath the Surface in M-AAA’s upstairs space.
Ice Cream Socialism
Plenum Space, 405 E. 18th St., 2nd floor
Mark Allen, Tarin Eicher, Rif Raf Giraffe, Carie Musick, Kevin Perkins, Jillian Youngbird take on the political now, highlighting various viewpoints of current events and social issues; open May 5, 6-10 p.m. and by appointment only after that through the end of the month.
First Friday Art Party
Pop Up Gallery, 918 Baltimore
Peter Pincus: Hall of Mirrors
Jun Kaneko: Wall Works
Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art, 2004 Baltimore
The Vortex Trinity
Todd Weiner Gallery, 115 West 18th Street
New prints created this past year for a powerhouse exhibition by Hugh Merrill, Miguel Rivera and Jim Sajovic are on view through May 27.