The first After Hours Artwalk kicked off Thursday night and downtown is alive with excitement with all the action.
Officials with Downtown Development said they expect this year’s Artwalk season to be bigger and better than before.
Beau Heacock opened his doors to “Scratch” back in November 2017 and would normally set up a booth at the Farmers Market for the Artwalk.
However, with more residents in the City National Building, where his business now sits, Heacock said he’s excited to see more hungry customers during The Artwalk hours.
“Since our neighbors moved in we’ve seen a lot more foot traffic and would like to shed a little more light here at this end of the street, so we’re going to stick around,” Heacock said.
Heacock said the After Hours Artwalk plays a crucial role in exposure for new businesses.
“I think that a lot of people who maybe don’t know about the growth that has happened recently or maybe they think there isn’t anything to do here at all,” Heathcock said. “Just on an off chance that they’ll come down here on a Thursday night. It’s free—bring the family and just walk around especially if the weather is nice and they get a chance to see what’s actually going on down here.”
This is something Downtown Wichita Falls Development Director Jana Schmader said is a big factor.
“Everything that we do in planning this is to make sure that these businesses are exposed, and a lot of them are exposed for the first time through these efforts,” Schmader said. “It keeps people coming back month after month and just exposes them to a brand new downtown each month.”
This year they’re doing something new, instead of setting up a booth inside the Farmers Market for free, it will now cost you a $30r rental fee.
“We did have to change some policies this year but overwhelming people have been positive about it because they know that if we survive then so do events like this,” Schmader said.
That’s where The Highlander comes in. Owner Erik Scott has decided to open up his patio to artists and musicians free of charge.
“I’m kind of at the other end of the downtown bubble where the Art Walk is and if I’m a destination spot and The Farmers Market is a destination spot then walking in between then that pretty much spreads the whole event,” Scott said.
Events like this are expanding the collaboration between the city and local artists, creating one big downtown family.