Category: Photography

First Friday

Written by Mark Drinkard

Once a month, art galleries across Chattanooga collectively open their doors to the public for special gallery showings. The event, coined “First Friday” allows local Chattanoogans and tourists to see new art pieces, mingle with artists, and support their local community.

One gallery spearheading the event in Chattanooga is Area 61. Keeli Crewe has been the curator of Area 61 since its inception in 2009. Crewe is the first face one will see when visiting Area 61, and it is clear from her vibrant smile that she is living her dream. 


Crewe has worked diligently to provide platforms to artists regardless of the medium. For her, art is at the heart of First Friday and operates  as a binder that connects people to the Chattanooga community. 

“I really hope it grows continually,” says Crewe “It helps the local economy. I always tell people when they come see me on First Friday who else is open, that way you can keep people hopping and keep them interested.” 

Katie Rogers stands in front of her new exhibit, “Bread, Bones & Stones”. Her work is heavily influenced by indigenous cultures and beadwork. Rogers has worked with jewelry and tapestries since her childhood. Photo taken on Nov. 5th, 2021 by Mark Drinkard.

First Friday not only  promotes local art, but it also encourages patrons to visit other local establishments. Crewe believes that when the arts are successful, all other communities should have a chance to thrive as well. 

That value of shared success is even more prevalent among the art galleries of Chattanooga. First Friday promotes competition in the arts, but it doesn’t stop galleries from supporting each other. 

The decades-long tradition has given galleries such as Northside Gallery, Bluffview Art District and In-Town Gallery the opportunity to form strong connections and open up a space of support. They will publicise events of other galleries and also encourage patrons to visit them on First Fridays. 

As support for local galleries grows, so does the appreciation of the individual artists that display their work. In-Town gallery has been an artist-owned and artist-managed gallery in Chattanooga for over 45 years. They operate as a true artists collective and place the power in the artists hands on how the gallery will run.

Roger Harvey works the lathe in his home studio. Harvey has been a member of In-Town Gallery for several years, and woodworking is his most recent passion. Photo taken on Nov. 14th by Mark Drinkard

One of their goals is cultivating appreciation for the individual artists of Chattanooga. The end result of a finished piece is admired and fawned over, but few people give credit to the process and work that goes on behind-the-scenes of these beautiful paintings, sculptures and tapestries. 

Jennie Kirkpatrick, an artist and partial-owner of In-Town, speaks on the trails that come with her work.

“It is hard. I know people that think its just a hobby. You go in and you just enjoy every minute and get rid of all your frustrations. No,That’s what you do when you’re a hobbyist. But if you’re trying to produce, it’s a problem. So it’s not really the way a lot of the public perceives it. It’s hard.” Said Kirkpatrick

The job of an artist is hard work. No one sees the work they put into a piece or the late nights that led to their breakthroughs. But on First Friday, all that hard work comes to fruition.


Mark Emanuel Drinkard is a Multimedia Producer currently attending the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga pursuing his BA in Communications. Drinkard specializes in videography and video editing. His passion for helping others drives his lens to frame the unnoticed voices of the community. This can be seen in stories such as “Legacy of Grief”, where Drinkard spent several weeks connecting with the McAllister family to tell their personal story of grief and loss. His work also extends to youth in need. In summer 2021 he worked as Photography Supervisor at a resident camp in Colorado, capturing timeless memories for the next generation. For business inquiries or any questions you can contact Mark Drinkard at markdrinkard2@gmail.com.Mark Emanuel Drinkard is a Multimedia Producer currently attending the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga pursuing his BA in Communications. Drinkard specializes in videography and video editing. His passion for helping others drives his lens to frame the unnoticed voices of the community. This can be seen in stories such as “Legacy of Grief”, where Drinkard spent several weeks connecting with the McAllister family to tell their personal story of grief and loss. His work also extends to youth in need. In summer 2021 he worked as Photography Supervisor at a resident camp in Colorado, capturing timeless memories for the next generation. For business inquiries or any questions you can contact Mark Drinkard at markdrinkard2@gmail.com.

Chattanooga Creatives Strike Again

Written by: Madison Van Horn

Strike Chattanooga’s founders, Maggie Schut, Marli Geidt, and Carianna Hunter (left to right) celebrate the launch of Issue 02 of Strike Chattanooga. November 20,2021 (Photo By Madison Van Horn)
Continue reading “Chattanooga Creatives Strike Again”

Birdwatching in Chattanooga

Written by Elise Steele

Members of the Chattanooga Ornithological Society pause along a trail to spot a bird in the distance. Photo by Elise Steele

A small cluster of binoculars and pointed fingers aim excitedly toward a skyline of trees on the Reflection Riding nature walk as members of Chattanooga’s Ornithological Society search for a cawing American Crow.

Continue reading “Birdwatching in Chattanooga”

A New Normal by Elian Richter

Journal Entry 4

Selfie taken using the reflection in a mirror on Wednesday, April 8, 2020. (Photo by Elian Richter)

After today, my college experience will be over. One last zoom meeting and a brief ten minute presentation are all that stand in front of me graduating from UTC. College has been the absolute best time of my life so far and I’m uncertain how to feel about leaving.

Continue reading “A New Normal by Elian Richter”

A New Normal by Amanda Brooks

Journal Entry #4

Zach McNease, Anna Brooks Wilcox, and Spencer Brooks laugh while dyeing Easter eggs. Dyeing Easter eggs is a tradition that many families partake in. April 12, 2020. (Photo by Amanda Brooks)

April 20, 2020

“Mom, do you still have our Nintendo DS?” Looking for new forms of entertainment, my 24-year-old sister turned to the old ways we used to occupy our time before life started moving so fast.

Continue reading “A New Normal by Amanda Brooks”

A New Normal: A Quarantine Commentary

Two to fourteen days. That is all the virus is supposed to live for, but the inability to stop our fast pace capitalist society from going keeps the COVID-19 going. Small businesses hurting, stock market crashing, unemployment rate increasing, people social-distancing, colleges closing. Not just the nation, but the world is having to learn new ways to live their day to day lives. The digital age has taken a whole new level of meaning. Every person is affected by the coronavirus in different ways. Rising Rock, a group of students from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga seek to tell their stories on how this pandemic shapes their experience, and what this extraordinary moment in history looks like from their perspectives. A New Normal: A Quarantine Commentary is a creative and documentative project by the students of Rising Rock. Step foot into the perspective of college students as they share what their world now looks like in this rapidly changing society because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Scroll to the bottom of this page to click on individual stories.
By clicking one of the names below, you’ll see a glimpse of how this global pandemic has now shaped each of our lives.

This week’s featured story:  A New Normal by Elian Richter

Waverly Hunter poses for a photo from her back yard in Hendersonville, Tenn. on Tuesday, April 7, 2020. (Photo by Elian Richter)
“As the days blur together and the heavy weight of isolation builds, it’s easy to dwell on the negative emotions brought out by the current situation: boredom, loneliness, depression. These emotions are certainly overwhelming at times but there’s also a brighter side to this too. … I’ve recently realized that the pandemic has also brought at least one positive outcome during this strange time; the opportunity to spend time with one of my favorite people in the world, my little sister Waverly.” To continue viewing more of this post, visit A New Normal by Elian Richter.
Produced By Rising Rock Media