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First Friday highlights arts and artists

At First Friday in September last year, this young fan got a hug from Clifford the Big Red Dog, the title character in a series of popular children’s books by Hoosier author Norman Bridwell. First Friday in September typically marks the start of the annual Shelby County Reads program, and this year “Pete the Cat” is due to appear along with artists and authors at First Friday in downtown tomorrow evening.

By JOHN WALKER - jwalker@shelbynews.com

On Friday evening, the monthly First Friday celebration downtown is set to become a showcase for all things artistic.

Local artists of all types have been invited to display their talents and creations on the Public Square starting at 5:30 p.m. on Friday.

The arts festival also marks the beginning of the 15th annual Shelby County Reads, a community-wide event to encourage reading.

“Pete the Cat,” a popular children’s book character, is scheduled to be on hand to help promote the reading program.

And the Indiana artist/author team of Gabriel and Jamie Lehman are due to appear to discuss their illustrated, rhyming story book called “Splat.”

The Lehmans are also set to visit schools across the county, said Laura Guenin, public relations director for the Shelby County Public Library.

“They’re going to visit every single kindergarten classroom,” she said.

Visits by the Lehmans during September and October are one of the many events scheduled for Shelby County Reads.

Also on the schedule are two docent tours to Indianapolis museums, including the Museum of Art on Sept. 16 and the Children’s Museum on Sept. 22, Guenin said.

Tickets must be purchased in advance at the library by Sept. 12 and Sept. 18, respectively. Information is available at the library, 54 W. Broadway St.

First Friday is also to host artists working in various media such as painting and jewelry making.

And SAGA is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

The Shelby Art Guild Association is hosting a member art competition to mark 10 years of promoting arts in the community.

Works by the SAGA members will be on display at The Gallery, 5 Public Square, through the month of September, and members of the public are invited to vote on their favorite.

The winners will be announced at a reception to be held on Sept. 29.

First Friday runs from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday. There is no admission charge.