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Participating in the First Fridays Columbus event at The Columbus Science Center, also known as COSI, was a thrilling experience for me, marking my debut in showcasing my artwork to a new audience. Introduced to this opportunity by the esteemed author Amber Hawthorne-Spratlen,who had attended the event in the previous year, I was initially hesitant but intrigued by her vivid description. Despite some reservations stemming from prior experiences at non-art-focused events, I was swayed by the enthusiasm of Omawale, the event organizer, who emphasized the positive aspects of participating.

The ambiance of the event was nothing short of spectacular, featuring a black-tie affair complete with a fashion show, an author’s panel, live bands, a plethora of beverages, and tantalizing food vendors generously offering their culinary creations. Omawale mentioned that although this edition of the event might be slightly smaller than the previous one which drew over 7,500 attendees, the prospect of reaching even a fraction of that audience was motivation enough for me to take part.

Eager to share my work with a fresh audience and make a lasting impression, I loaded up my jeep with a selection of 15 canvas paintings, prints, business cards, and all the necessary accouterments. Accompanied by my friend Jay, we embarked on the journey to Columbus, arriving at our destination after a three-hour drive. Upon arrival, I connected with William, another talented artist tasked with organizing the featured artists and assisting with setup. Despite a minor setback with another artist occupying the spot I had initially chosen, a brief discussion led to securing what I believed to be the optimal location for showcasing my artwork.

As attendees navigated through COSI, whether ascending the stairs or enduring the leisurely pace of the elevator, they were met with a visual feast of artwork displayed on easels, accompanied by a wooden rendition of my logo. Jason, my trusty companion, proved to be a masterful pitchman, captivating passersby with his infectious energy and adept salesmanship, paving the way for meaningful interactions and sales.

One memorable sale involved a couple drawn to a painting featuring a cigar smoker, envisioning it as the perfect addition to their newly designated smoke room. Through Jay’s adept communication, they were swiftly introduced to me, resulting in a beaming smile, a firm handshake, and the acquisition of one of my framed prints, a testament to their satisfaction.

The event itself was a resounding success, leaving an indelible mark on both myself and attendees alike. I wholeheartedly endorse attending future iterations of First Fridays for anyone in the Columbus area, as it promises an unforgettable evening filled with art, culture, and camaraderie. As for me, I eagerly anticipate my return for the next installment, armed with a renewed sense of purpose and excitement to share my creations with the world once more.