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Music, art draw residents to downtown Marietta businesses

In the entry of Just Ajar print shop on Front Street, Girl Scouts, from left to right, Elle Rosenstock, Ella Standiford and Lydia Goldberg, all 7, under the supervision of Amanda Goldberg, greet customers coming in during Marietta Main Street’s First Fridays event, offering to sell them a box or two of cookies. (Photo by Michael Kelly)

MARIETTA – It was a good night to get in out of the wind and rain.

More than a half-dozen shops in downtown Marietta held events and stayed open late to mark the monthly First Fridays event and get the weekend started. The theme Friday night was Shamrock and Roll, in anticipation of St. Patrick’s Day with live music in the downtown shops.

The only outside participants were the United Way of the Mid-Ohio Valley, which had a rock-painting booth for kids on the lawn of the Armory, and the Sierra Club, hoping to get signatures on a petition urging the city of Marietta to incorporate renewable energy provisions in its next aggregation contract for electricity.

“We haven’t had a lot of people come by,” said Becca Pollard of the club’s Beyond Coal Campaign at 5:30 p.m. as wind whipped the tent canvas around and rain blew past. “But all the people who stopped signed the petition.”

Across the street in the Just Ajar print shop, a chorus of young voices greeted everyone who came in the door. “Would you like some Girl Scout cookies?” three 7-year-olds sang out.

The annual Riverside Artists Gallery Mid-Ohio Valley High School Art Show opened Friday night during Marietta Main Street’s First Fridays Shamrock and Roll celebration. (Photo by Michael Kelly)

Elle Rosenstock, Ella Standiford and Lydia Goldberg, under the supervision of Amanda Goldberg, stood with beguiling smiles behind a table loaded with neat rows of boxed cookies.

“It’s a good opportunity for them to meet people and work on their selling skills,” Amanda Goldberg said as the girls giggled in the background. Goldberg said they’re members of the Campus Martius troop and students at St. Mary Catholic School.

Shop owner Bobby Rosenstock said a small crowd in the back, leaning on vintage printing presses and racks of old type, was waiting on the arrival of musicians.

“We’re going to have three bands, one of the musicians is a friend of mine coming down from Cleveland,” he said. Rosenstock plays banjo.

He pulled a poster off a rack, saying he’d used some old type and a hand-turned press to print posters for the Girl Scouts, showing them how the press works.

Joshua Lee sings as customers browse the art and other goods at Hive Alive on Front Street as Marietta Main Street’s First Fridays event gets underway. (Photo by Michael Kelly)

“I found a lot of old type under a tarp in a basement, I think it used to belong to Richardson’s,” Rosenstock said. “It’s cool, seeing it have sort of a second life.”

Alissa Steely and her son Dolan Steely came up from Belpre for the event.

“A friend of ours is one of the musicians,” Alissa said. “We come up for First Fridays sometimes, we’ll hit a few stops and grab dinner somewhere downtown.”

“It’s a nice town,” Dolan said.

Down the street in Hive Alive, two customers looked at the art as Joshua Lee sang and played guitar. The evening was just getting started.

The annual Riverside Artists Gallery Mid-Ohio Valley High School Art Show opened Friday night during Marietta Main Street’s First Fridays Shamrock and Roll celebration. (Photo by Michael Kelly)

“I’ve just sang two songs so far,” he said. “It’s good to be out here.”

Proprietor Todd Morrow said the music fit well in the store’s atmosphere.

“It’s nice getting serenaded,” he said. First Fridays is always good for business, he said.

“You’ll have just a couple, then 15 or 20 people come in at once,” he said.

In addition to the music, the night had art. The Riverside Artists Gallery held the opening of its annual Mid-Ohio Valley High School Art Show, with 98 entries from 10 schools, one of the biggest in the event’s long history.

“We had a really good response this year,” said volunteer Betsy Cook, gesturing at the art filling the center of the gallery and winding into its back room.

Virginia Killian, another volunteer and a judge for the competition, said the quality of the entries this year was stunning.

“I’ve been with this since it started, and this year is the highest quality I’ve seen,” she said. “These are very talented students, and it takes a teacher to bring that out. Much of this is professional level art.”

Etta Stull, another judge and gallery volunteer, said the quality makes judging difficult.

“The size of the works, they seem to be going bigger, moving out of their comfort zone, and they’re learning more about how to present their art,” she said. “Judging is always difficult, and these kids are way beyond where I was when I was in high school.”

The works will be on exhibit through March 28, and awards will be presented at the gallery, 219 Second St., from 6 to 9 p.m. March 12.

Michael Kelly can be contacted at mkelly@mariettatimes.com.

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Marietta Main Street First Friday

* Friday night: Shamrock and Roll

* Next month: 5 to 9 p.m. April 3, Downtown Peep Show, celebrating the iconic Easter treat

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Riverside Artists Gallery, Mid-Ohio Valley High School Art Show

* Ninety-eight entries from 10 high schools in the area

* On display through March 28

* Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday

* Awards presentation 6 to 9 p.m. March 12

* Gallery location: 219 Second St.

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