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First Friday: Bright lights on Broadway, Side Show on Santa Fe

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Broadway has become a major contender on First Friday, and the crowds turned out to welcome the arrival of the Ladies Fancywork Society's new brainchild, Lowbrow, a gallery that celebrated its grand opening Friday night. "It was great to see so many people come out to support us -- many of them not even related to us!" said Lauren Seip, who owns Lowbrow with Tymla Welch, a fellow member of LFS, a group known for its "yarn-bomb" work.

Like their domestic street art, Welch and Seip were characteristically warm, yet idiosyncratic, as hosts -- offering their gallery guests small cups of jellybeans, while selling individual packs of zebra-striped duct tape. In addition to being a gallery, Lowbrow doubles as an art-supply store and public work space; traditional supplies are available, though the workshops that Lowbrow offers venture into the obscure (moss-graffiti) while utilizing basic household materials (screenprinting via glue and dish soap). "We're excited to put together more workshops, get together a lineup for the gallery, and get in some really fun new books and supplies," Seip said.

Directly outside the doors of Lowbrow, another future Broadway art-walk institution celebrated its debut Friday. Pom Freet, the new mobile french-fry eatery, was overwhelmed by art enthusiasts insistent on greasing up their dainty hands with some of the gourmet potato pleasures coming out of this truck. "What Fancy Tiger has done for fashion, we'd like to do for art," Seip said in an interview prior to the opening. And at this First Friday, Fancy Tiger was doing for mopeds what Ladies Fancywork Society has done for yarn, opening its high-fashion commercial space to greasy motorbikes to celebrate the opening of the new Moto Ocho vintage moped showroom and service center. Guests were treated to paper gift bags of cheap shooters or cans of bottom-shelf beer, while Fancy Tiger co-owner Matthew Brown jumped atop one of his own display tables to tell the crowd just why Moto Ocho is so awesome. Meanwhile, over at Denver's Art District on Santa Fe, Sarah Polizin's Side Show Studios was celebrating its one-year anniversary. Located above the Artists on Santa Fe gallery, Side Show has its own surreal, intimate charm, and is refreshingly segregated from the more commercial aesthetics of Santa Fe galleries.

"Being upstairs and off the main drag makes us a little more difficult to find," Polzin said, enjoying some celebratory cake and whiskey. "Some folks just don't want to climb the stairs, but the best thing about the studio is watching the faces as the people come in. You can't visit Side Show without smiling."

Polzin's alliteration-themed paintings have been selling like french fries out of a truck on Broadway, and now she and Side Show Studio hope to take their whimsical approach to art and open up their space to less seasoned creators. "Next month we will be showcasing over eighty photographs taken by first-time students from a charter high school," Polzin said. "Some of these students have never held a camera before, and the photos are very creative."

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