Harlingen Art Night began as a conversation over coffee at a Jackson Street Cafe. What could be done to support a growing art community, promote downtown businesses and spotlight the ongoing renovations and improvements being made to the Downtown District? The answer, of course, was a monthly evening event called Harlingen Art Night.
Venues and studios were asked to participate. Artists from across the valley were invited to a gathering and asked if they were willing to exhibit work and help spread the word. They overwhelmingly agreed. Venues would host exhibits and events. Next, merchants were invited, asked to remain open and figure out ways to promote the arts and culture in any way that made sense for their business. The result was guest artists in shops and restaurants, musicians on the street, fashion shows, popups, poetry readings, and book signings.
Now with things to do and places to go, there needed to be a way to hep the public find treasures of Art Night. Partnering with Market Day provided advertising, posters, and the creation of maps to hand out. A handful of colorful dots marked the open spots on those early maps- now the number is closer to twenty-five. As the event has developed over the years, physical boundaries have spilled over to include side streets and areas surrounding Jackson Street. A recent partnership with the Downtown District has provided beautiful lighting for street vendors on "A" Street, and funding for bands on the outdoor stage at Lozano Park.
As new venues, artists' studios, and businesses move into the area (sometimes lured in by an evening stroll on the last Friday of the month), Harlingen Art Night continues to evolve. Truly a grassroots events, the activities mirror the diversity and personalties of downtown Harlingen. Just what that conversation over coffee had hoped for!