Before the rain showers blanketed Trenton, ending the drought and breaking the heat, this month’s First Friday included a flurry of events across the city, ranging from an abstract art exhibit to a block party that spread throughout downtown.

Jonathan Conner (LANK), the public projects manager at Artworks, said that every month it keeps on getting more prominent. “There are more people every time, which is a good sign,” LANK noted. He explained that every First Friday is different “Last First Friday, we had an artist talk, it was a little bit more serious of a vibe, but tonight’s a little bit more of a party vibe. So like, every month is different. And I think that’s cool.”

Artworks hosted artists from SAY Network LLC, a Collective of Women-Focused Around Unity and Creativity. Valona Denise, Artist, Musician and Owner of SAY Network LLC explained that this was her first showing. “I feel great. Because this is the first time I am showcasing my artwork and being around great people, great vibes,” Denise said.

It was a vibrant selection of abstract art, a mixture of colors that viewers could dive into. Three different artists were a part of the exhibit. Along with Denise, Taylor Davis, Star Artist, and Vida Lu, exhibited their art.

Luz Maria Rojas was one of the artists, she goes by Vida Lu.  Her expectation is for the viewer to get lost in her work.

“As long as it draws you out of where you are, I think I did a good job. So if you’re looking at it, and you forget the background noise or where you’re at and where you’re looking, then I did a good job,” Vida Lu said.

On top of that, there were live musical performances by Rell Gambino, Valona Denise, and Ashanti Ross. Part of the performances was a set by Ashanti Ross, known as Lamange. She has been a violinist for 15 years after she got her start in the basement of her church.

“My parents brought my siblings and me down there, we got to choose whatever instrument we wanted, and I picked violin,” Lamange said.

She said that she loved the sound and looked of the instrument. “It looks so much more different than all the other instruments. And then once I decided yeah, like, I’m interested in that, then a lot of people started telling me like, that’s hard. And I’m like, Well, I want to play it even more now. Because you told me it’s hard,” Lamange said.

Fifteen years late, she is happy to perform in Trenton. “I feel amazing. I think it’s unearthly. It’s a very peaceful place. I feel like that’s the best place for me to connect with people,” Lamange said.

The audience danced, clapped, and cheered as she performed an original piece. “What I heard was magical,” said Roscoe Kelly, an event attendee. “She was making the Violin talk, saying words without words, and that was beautiful, supremely talented.”

Meanwhile, over on Front street, there was laughter and drinks as Trentonians came out of the woodwork to celebrate. Vendors were set up across Front street, and Downtown Trenton was shut down to driver so there could be room for tables and merriment. There was even a concert happening down the road in the heart of Downtown Trenton. Sherry Anderson, Trenton Resident, has not missed a single first Friday this year.

“I come to First Fridays just about every month. It’s a very nice thing to do. Just being outdoors and enjoying everybody. No fight. No guns. Just people having a good time. The vibe is good. If you want to eat, if you want to dance, or if you want to be like me, sit, and people watch, this is the night to do it.”

From art to parties, Trenton has done well as the summer continues, or at least Beverly Keese-Kelley, a Trenton resident, seems to think so.

“I feel great. I want to see this every month throughout the year. I don’t think the weather should have us sitting at home. I think if it’s raining or snowing. I think we should still do First Fridays every month,” Keese-Kelley said.

There were plenty of other events that happened on Friday, so be on the lookout from TrentonDaily about other First Friday exhibits you can still attend.