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The Casper Art Walk is strolling back for its third year. Three major art venues and a host of businesses open their doors for the evening of art shows, live performances, food, craft beer, book signings, shopping and mingling along the streets of downtown and the Old Yellowstone District.

The 2017 Casper Art Walk season kicks off 5-8 p.m. Thursday. The recurring event has been a hit from the start and has grown as more artists, vendors and crowds participate in the event every first Thursday from May to December.

“People — both vendors and the public — are clamoring,” ART 321 executive director Diane Harrop said.

New features

A new interactive Google map on the Art Walk website can help people find locations and choose what they want to see. Users can click on the map pins for descriptions of the evening’s events at each spot, said Tony Elmore, an art walk organizer who designed the feature.

The online map can help people explore and find new spots to enjoy, and it cuts down on the waste of paper maps, he added.

Walkers this season also can win prizes by completing passports for each month’s featured businesses. Collect the stamps and drop the passport at the featured business with the prize you’d most want, and you’ll be entered in that drawing, said Claire Marlow, Scarlow’s Gallery owner and one of the art walk organizers.

This month’s featured businesses are Cadillac Cowgirl, Cactus Arts & More and Wyoming Plant Company. Each will draw one winner for a prize valued at about $50, Marlow said.

Some highlights for this Art Walk include receptions and an artist talk with Wyoming-based world-adventuring photographer Jeb Schenck at the Nicolaysen Art Museum. ART 321 opens four new shows and hosts live music with Steve Frame.

Art 321 also is raffling off an artwork donated by a Casper Artists’ Guild member, so it’s a great way to go home with an original work of art for a small amount of money, Harrop said.

Painter and tattoo artist Daniel Marshall will demonstrate painting at Scarlow’s Gallery, where his watercolor show “URBANxRURAL/Americana” features his frequented spots from New York City to Casper along with motorcycle and hot-rod based figurative themes.

The evening also features the dedication of the Casper Downtown Historic District’s recent recognition by the National Trust for Historic Preservation with tours and a reception.

A few new businesses are participating in the art walk too, including Urban Bottle Wine & Spirits, which opened last December. Frontier Brewing offers a sneak peek at the future microbrewery in the former Wolford’s Shoes building. The evening of art, craft beer, live music and eclipse information there includes a 6 p.m. presentation of Casper artist Zak Pullen’s new eclipse-themed painting “The Herdsman at High Noon.”

Art walk, not art run

Food trucks, cash bars and various festivities abound along the Art Walk. Summer will bring outdoor live music too. The Yellowstone Garage’s entertainment will move outside for weekly “Rock the Block” parties, and the Nicolaysen will host “Nic Live”concerts on Thursdays in July and August on the Nicolaysen Art Museum lawn.

Some people that organizer Elmore has talked with feel overwhelmed by all the options or trying to see everything, he said. He recommends people just enjoy immersing themselves in the arts and not worry if they just visit a few places. It can help to make a list of spots you definitely want to see and to try to discover something new, he said.

“It’s a self guided tour, that you can just enjoy at your leisure,” Elmore said.

Growing attraction

A small art-walk pre-kickoff last month gave promising hint of this year’s Art Walk season, Nic special events manager Dana Volney said. That event featured the Nic, ART 321 and Scarlow’s Gallery. More than 300 showed up at the Nic.

“So people were really coming out just to … see the art, which was very exciting for us to see,” Volney said. “We are looking to keep that momentum going.”

The Art Walk has taken on a life of its own, and other communities around the state have been talking about Casper’s event, Marlow said.

Tony Elmore also has been involved in the Art Walk since the beginning.

“I just love to go downtown and see a pulse of people coming out to celebrate the community, and just seeing just floods of people just enjoying our downtown,” Elmore said.

Casper artist Alicia Lynne has demonstrated quick draws at the Art Walks and has a show and artist talk this time at The Table this month. But she’s also just enjoyed the events with her family. There’s plenty for her three girls, ages 7 to 15, to enjoy, she said. They usually start at the Nic or ART 321, eat dinner at some point and end up at Rock the Block.

“It’s a great atmosphere,” she said. “You can just tell that people who want to be involved in the community are showing up to participate and are excited to be there.”

For more about the Casper Art Walk, go to casperartwalk.com.

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