Urban art walks: Eat, drink, stroll, admire
Monthly art walks are blossoming like Monet sunflowers nationwide. Hundreds can be found in art-oriented small towns, the art districts of midsize cities and the art-rich downtown hubbub of major metropolitan locales.
Most art walks let you stroll among many venues — not just galleries and artists' studios, but also spaces as diverse as hair salons, bars and churches. Visitors are often treated to hors d'oeuvres and wine, live music and the opportunity to chat with the artists about their work. Perhaps most appealing of all is that art walks are free, require no advance planning and take place every month.
With such a rich offering across the country, we had a hard time narrowing the list. Here are the five oldest, largest and most popular U.S. art walks, from the boulevards of L.A. to the streets of Philadelphia. These cities have plenty more to offer, too, but dropping by an art walk will enrich your appreciation for the creative energy of each city's art crowd.
First Fridays: Richmond
The monthly art walk in downtown Richmond, Virginia is simply called First Fridays (5 p.m. - 9 p.m.), and marks the night when thousands of visitors flock to the city's arts district downtown. They wander among galleries, four performance spaces, a cafe, a music store, and the newly opened Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia. Beyond just taking in the fine art, spectators are exposed to the broader arts and enjoy live music, theater, comedy and poetry performances. Most of the approximately 30 venues — showcasing more than 100 artists — are clustered in the heart of the city on a six-block stretch of historic Broad Street.
Second Thursdays: Los Angeles
About 10,000 art lovers convene at the Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk on Second Thursdays (6 p.m. - 10 p.m.). They travel from all over L.A. County to the city's core — encompassing the Bunker Hill, Little Tokyo and Gallery Row micro-districts — to visit about 40 galleries and art complexes, including the Fine Arts Building and Los Angeles Center for Digital Art. Eighteen murals are also showcased along the route, and don't be surprised if you stumble into impromptu spoken-word recitals, fashion shows or live street music. The 12-year-old event even has a visitor center, the Art Walk Lounge, where you can go first to pick up a map and get a glimpse of each month's artwork.
First Fridays: Phoenix
First Fridays (6 p.m. - 10 p.m.) in Phoenix, Arizona, started small in the late 1990s, but the event has evolved to include much of historic Grand Avenue, the Warehouse District and the Central Arts District — particularly Roosevelt Row (commonly known as RoRo). About 10,000 to 20,000 people come each month to take in the art at 71 galleries, artists' studios, restaurants and bars with live music, and other venues — from the Heard Museum and Phoenix Art Museum to a vintage clothing shop and a Lutheran church. Altogether, about 400 visual and performance artists participate in the art walk. Don't be deterred by the considerable distance between some venues; a complimentary First Friday trolley runs every 25 minutes for your convenience.
First Wednesdays: Jacksonville
The Downtown Art Walk (5 p.m. - 9 p.m.) infuses some excitement into “hump day" in Florida's most populous city. An average of 10,000 people each month peruse 60 venues, including unexpected spots such as a bank, a day spa and a cigar lounge. Besides displayed art, you may witness a mural in the making, a hypnotizing belly dance performance or a poetry reading. Live music, food trucks, a beer garden and a kids' zone are also in the mix. All sites are within a five-block radius of the town's heart, and Art Walk After Dark (9 p.m. to “late") keeps the party going at many downtown restaurants and bars.
First Fridays: Philadelphia
Sylvester Stallone famously sprinted up the steps to the Philadelphia Museum of Art in “Rocky," but visitors to Philadelphia's 25-year-old First Friday (5 p.m. - 9 p.m.) can go at a more leisurely pace in pursuit of art appreciation. The historic buildings of Old City, a former waterfront and industrial district-turned-artists' haven, boast Philly's largest concentration of art and design studios, where most First Friday artists display their work. The neighborhood — nicknamed America's most historic square mile because it includes Independence Hall, the National Constitution Center and the Liberty Bell — is also brimming with theaters, restaurants and nightlife, so your night can continue after the art walk.
If you go
From Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, the U.S. celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month, a chance to pay tribute to the history, culture and contributions that generations of Latinxs have paved to enrich U.S. history. It is also a reminder to celebrate our differences and spark difficult, yet important, conversations.
To kick off the month, UNITE, our multicultural business resource group for employees, did just that by hosting a panel discussion about the immigrant experience and what it means to be an immigrant in the U.S.
United Litigation and Managing Counsel Elizabeth Lopez, who is a pro bono immigration attorney, moderated the panel, and was joined by Ashley Huebner, Associate Director of Legal Services at the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) and Magdalena Gonzalez, Program Manager, Leadership Development Programs at Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement. The three women shared their insights and personal stories, while addressing some misconceptions and highlighting the contributions of immigrants to our company and country.
From left to right, Elizabeth Lopez, Ashely Huebner and Magdalena Gonzalez
"I started to notice that there were things I was scared of doing, that I needed to be cautious," said Magdalena while sharing her personal experience as a DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipient. "My friends, who a majority of them are citizens, did not need to worry about that. As I was able to see that, I realized that, 'oh, there's so many things that revolve around not just being a DACA recipient but revolve around being a person with an undocumented status here in the United States.'"
United maintains a close relationship with the NIJC. In May of 2019, United co-hosted an asylum clinic put on by the legal services organization, where several attorneys and legal professionals were trained on representing asylum-seeking applicants. At the end of the clinic, members of our legal department were assigned an asylum case through the NIJC.
Litigation Managing Counsel Elizabeth Lopez, Commercial Transactions Counsel Tiffany Jaspers, Global Compliance and Ethics Counsel Nancy Jacobson and Employment Litigation Senior Manager Dorothy Karpierz were partnered with attorneys from the law firm of McDermott Will & Emery to take on an immigration case of a mother of three from Honduras. Recently, after a years-long court battle, the legal team was victorious, changing the life of the woman and her family.
United is committed to connecting people and uniting the world. Whether you're an immigrant, a child of immigrants or simply want to learn more about the immigrant experience in the U.S., discussions like these, related to this hot-button issue, are important to have in order to understand the human lives behind it.
Your voice matters. Voting is one of the most influential civic activities we can engage in as Americans. At United, our mission is to connect people and unite the world — and one of the most important ways to do that is to engage in the democratic process. That's why we've long provided our employees with resources to help them get registered to vote.
This year, we're taking our support a step further as the official airline of the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). Since the start of the pandemic, we've overhauled our cleaning measures through a program we call United CleanPlusSM , and the CPD has placed their trust in United to fly Commission production staff to each of the four debates, starting with the first one on September 29, hosted by Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University.
Today, on National Voter Registration Day, we also want to make sure our customers have access to information about how to participate in the 2020 Election. Over the past several months, you've heard a lot from us about how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed air travel. We've learned that with some planning and extra effort, it's still possible — and safe. That's true of voting, too.
No matter which party you support or how you're planning to vote, we know our democracy will be stronger if you make your voice heard and make a plan to vote.
Brett J. Hart
Since its launch 20 years ago, Year Up, one of our critical needs grant recipients, has helped more than 10,000 young adults gain access to corporate business and technical experience at large companies like United while offering the invaluable perspectives they bring with them.
On Wednesday, the nonprofit inducted United into its Opportunity Hall of Fame – a selection that occurs once every five years.
Year Up's mission is to help close the opportunity divide by providing urban young adults with the skills, experience and support that will empower them to reach their potential through professional careers and higher education. Since 2018, our partnership has allowed talented student learners the opportunity to gain corporate business experience and technical skill training at the airline while bringing their unique perspectives to our United family and culture. One of those students is Emily Lopez, who graduated from the Year Up program in January 2019 and was hired to be part of the United family as an analyst in Revenue Management.
"I moved from Venezuela to the United States in July 2016 and being a young immigrant with no resources can be difficult to pursue a career in a new country," said Emily.
After learning about Year Up and ultimately being accepted into the program, Emily landed an internship with United, an opportunity she is very grateful for.
Emily Lopez - Analyst, Pricing & Revenue Management
"Feedback from my mentors, coaches and managers was key during my internship phase and helped me convert my internship at United to a full-time position. I am grateful for the opportunity United has provided me and my Year Up Alumni colleagues to keep building a professional career within the company. I am so excited to continue building a professional career with the company and to see United being inducted to Year Up's Hall of Fame. Let's continue closing the opportunity divide!" said Emily.
Although the coronavirus pandemic has made this year's partnership a bit more difficult, we continue to do our part to support the Year Up student learners. Last month, we surprised 145 graduates of this year's Year Up Chicago program with roundtrip tickets to pursue career and networking opportunities within the United States.
"I've been personally honored and inspired to be an advocate for Year Up since I joined United," said CEO Scott Kirby. "This program gives young people from challenged backgrounds an opportunity to get their foot in the door as interns at United. This year's graduates are entering a challenging job landscape, but we have one thing that can help: a route network that provides easy access to major business markets across the United States."
Together, we are facing an unprecedented challenge. United Together, we rise to meet that challenge.
Calling all AvGeeks and travelers! Here's a fun way to take your next video call….from a United Polaris® seat, the cockpit or cruising altitude. We're introducing United-themed backgrounds for use on Zoom and Microsoft Teams, video conferencing tools that many people are using to stay connected.
So for your next meeting or catch up with friends and family, download the app to either your computer or mobile device to get started. If you've already downloaded Zoom you can skip ahead to updating your background image (see instructions below).
To use on Zoom:
- Start here by downloading your favorite United image to your computer or mobile device. Just click "download" in the bottom left corner of the image.
- Next go to your Zoom app (you'll need to download the app to access backgrounds) and click on the arrow to the right of your video camera icon in the bottom of the screen.
- From here select, "choose virtual background" to upload your uniquely United photo.
- Start by downloading your favorite United image to your computer. Just click "download" in the bottom left corner of the image.
- If you're using a PC, copy the image you want to use into this folder:
- C:\[insert your device user name here]\AppData\Microsoft\Teams\Backgrounds\Uploads
- If you're using a Mac copy the images to this folder on your computer:
- /users/<username>/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Teams/Backgrounds/Uploads
- If you're using a PC, copy the image you want to use into this folder:
- Once you start a Teams meeting, click the "…" in the menu bar and select "Show background effects" and your image should be there
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This is the story of Jason and Shantel. You see, Jason and Shantel love each other very much. They also love traveling and they love the classic Adam Sandler film, The Wedding Singer.
It all began when Jason reached out to United's social media team, hoping for assistance with his upcoming plan to propose. Some phone calls and one borrowed guitar later, the stage was set for Jason. Put all that together, mix in some helpful United employees and, voila, you have a truly memorable marriage proposal. Congratulations to this fun-loving and happy couple, and here's to many more years of making beautiful music together.
A big thank you to Chicago-based flight attendants Donna W., Marie M., Karen J. and Mark K. for making this proposal come to life.