Hot Time in the City: WRJ’s New First Fridays
You can almost smell the popcorn, or one of Wolf Tree’s well-crafted cocktails. Late spring and summer will see the return of First Friday celebrations in White River Junction VT, with a new twist—outdoor film and light installations in the parking lot behind the Hotel Coolidge on Currier Place, courtesy of White River Indie Films (WRIF) and friends. According to a recent press release:
“Light River Junction First Fridays with WRIF” aims to revitalize White River Junction’s “First Friday” celebrations, disrupted by COVID, by attracting people of all ages back to the village through film and media arts. From May to August, WRIF will transform downtown parking lots into an attractive forum for safe dining and cinema viewing. Film, including work by local filmmakers, will be projected in novel ways in spaces enhanced by local visual artists.
A grant of $18,000 was obtained from the State of Vermont by a partnership centered on White River Indie Films (WRIF), including the Town of Hartford, the Hartford Area Chamber of Commerce, Vital Communities, CATV (Community Access Television), the Briggs Opera House, the Center for Cartoon Studies, and local businesses and film and media artists. The White River Junction project was one of only eight chosen from among 63 applications representing 54 communities across the state.
The central location on Currier Place is bordered by many white-surfaced buildings that will act as large screens. The project was given a sort of trial run this winter, where viewers watched from their cars or braved the cold to take in the sights on foot.
There are also plans for smaller film and video projections throughout White River’s downtown, with changing content by local filmmakers and sound artists.
First Friday celebrations have been popular in WRJ over the last several years. Many merchants opened their shops for evening hours; some offered live music, snacks, and an occasional wine tasting to attract the public and create a convivial atmosphere. This year’s celebrations are scheduled for May 7, June 4, July 2, and August 6.
(Photo, top: Films by Jodie Mack and Ben Silberfarb are projected onto one of the white walls bordering the Currier Street lot during Light River Junction, December 2020. Photo courtesy of White River Indie Films.)
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And in case you are wondering . . . Susan B. Apel shuttered a lifelong career as a law professor to continue an interest (since kindergarten) in writing. Her freelance business, The Next Word, includes literary and feature writing; her work has appeared in a variety of lit mags and other publications including Art New England, The Woven Tale Press, The Arts Fuse, and Persimmon Tree. She connects with her neighbors through Artful, her blog about arts and culture in the Upper Valley. She’s in love with the written word.