For nearly twenty years, Flint has been home to a monthly event that happens on the second Friday and draws people to the heart of the city. And the warmer the weather, the bigger the crowds. The Flint Artwalk shows the vibrancy of not just the city but of its artists as well and has long been a place to discover new music, new poets, and new artists you may not have realized were already here. Featuring both traditional galleries as well as businesses that have embraced the Art Walk and showcase art during it, this is an evening of art and music where the community meets in the middle. While the footprint of the Art Walk has changed over the years, the goal has stayed the same – to showcase established and emerging artists and support the artists and the city.
The Art Walk was started by the Greater Flint Arts Council, so that is a great place to begin. At the corners of Court Street and Saginaw Street, the Greater Flint Arts Council serves as a main hub for the Art Walk and has a monthly showcase that can feature local or regional artists. The venue usually features music and refreshments during the walk. Across the street is the Mott Warsh Collection, a private art collection of art by artists of the African diaspora and other artists that reflect that. Two of Flint’s downtown churches have embraced the Art Walk and you will find inspirational art featured at First Presbyterian Church and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church as well as occasional music.
As you head down Saginaw Street you will find many local small businesses that will feature art specifically for Art Walk or which will have entertainment or sales during it – presenting a great chance to stop in and see what they offer. At the Buckham Gallery you will find a modern gallery led by art professionals and artists with exhibitions featuring local artists and those from around the nation. The Buckham Gallery has also been one of the anchors of the Art Walk since its inception.
From there you will find several stores that often participate in the Art Walk like the Flint Trading Co., Comma Bookstore & Social Hub, and newcomer Bau-House. After passing those stores, you’ll be near Red Ink Flint/Flint Local 432, a substance-free all-ages music and events venue that often has a low-cost event going on during the monthly walk. As you get to the end of the main part of things you’ll find the Hilton Garden Inn Flint Downtown, which offers the art of a guest artist, and Churchill’s Food & Spirits, where you can get a bite while checking out the art they have on hand. Further on down the street, but within walking distance, is Riverbank Arts, a community-centered art space at 400 N. Saginaw Street and further ahead, independent grocery store The Local Grocer, which features a community exhibition monthly.
Lastly, as you round out the evening and start to consider what to do for dinner at one of downtown’s many eateries, there’s time to check out Totem Books, a used bookstore that features art or music during the Art Walk. Along the way you can check out some of the beautiful murals that are part of the Flint Public Art Project’s Flint Mural Project.
The downtown Flint monthly Art Walk has become not just a tradition in the city but in all of Flint & Genesee and is one that you won’t want to miss out on, and with the many restaurants and bars you can spend an entire evening enjoying all that downtown Flint has to offer.
Many cities have their own art walks and local focuses on the arts, but few of them can match the excitement that comes from Flint’s Art Walk, truly something you must experience for yourself.