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Southern Shore Art Association President Remembers How First Friday Expanded to Franklin Square


The popularity of First Friday events in Michigan City has risen so much that this one will take place in conjunction with both the Taste of Michigan City and the Great Lakes Grand Prix, two of the most well-attended events in the city every year.

But the “art walk” along Franklin Street that has become a monthly favorite for City residents and art lovers across the region may have never expanded past the Lubeznik Center for the Arts had it not been for a no-cost initiative by uptown business owners to do something together four years ago.

“It didn’t cost anything but time, which was spent nagging people to participate,” said Anneke Dekker, president of the Southern Shore Art Association. Dekker has been involved in downtown Michigan City since she began owning Anco Fashions - a fashion design store that sat at the corner of 8th and Franklin streets.

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First Friday events had already become quite popular with other communities nationwide when Dekker said the former SSAA president called the uptown community together that resulted in the decision to expand First Friday in Michigan City from the Lubeznik Center alone to the entire Franklin Square neighborhood.

“It started slow, but eventually took off thanks to our emails and the free press,” Dekker said.

Soon enough, feature different artists at businesses in the area became the thing to do. What started with ten art venues grew to “about 30” area businesses that participate now.

“We got the whole thing rolling at no cost at all and it is still growing strong,” she said.

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