Sitting in a blue folding chair beside her car, Jennifer Arnold is listening to the music played by a band named The Daves on the roof of Three Story Coffee.

The band is one of the artists participating in the First Friday Drive Thru Music & Art Experience on Friday night in Columbia’s North Village Arts District in Columbia Friday night.

It’s a monthly art show that is usually held in a walk-thru style. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this month it took place in a drive-thru style.

Because of the format, some artists hung their paintings outside their studios so they could be easily shown to visitors.

While some spent their time sitting near their cars, others strolled around the galleries with wine glasses in hand.

“I actually like it cause it’s more friendly for me to have the kids with me and be in the car. Cause it’s kind of hard to get the kids in and out some places,” said Carrie Clark, a visitor who came with her two sons.

Some artists think the drive-thru style is a good alternative but not a perfect one.

Chuck Neal, a bubble man at the art show, said, “It’s definitely a lot less chance to see the art. But at least people can see art and do something.”

Mike Seat, an artist who has a studio at Orr Street Studios, sees art as a way of communication especially in a time people have to stay at home all day.

“We’re letting people know that our art community is still alive even though the studio is not open to the public,” he said.

While everyone was enjoying the atmosphere, artist John Fennell said he thought “the crowds aren’t quite as many.”

People also used the art show to express their opinions regarding the recent police brutality against African Americans.

A bold “Black Lives Matter” was written by someone days ago on a blue wall of one of the art studios at the North Village Arts District. A couple of days later, someone else came at night and added a sentence to it.

According to Seat, the person wrote “White, red, yellow, all lives matter.” Seat decided the focus should remain solely on African Americans, and painted over everything except “Black Lives Matter.”

“People are suffering right now because our lives change so drastically,” said Seat. “So I think it’s a good thing to try to have some normal things in our lives.”

While there have been nightly demonstrations downtown this week in memory of George Floyd, none were seen in the area of the First Friday event.

  • General reporter, summer 2020 Studying data journalism Reach me at

  • As senior editor of the Missourian, Fred Anklam manages general assignment reporters. He can be reached at or in the newsroom at 573-882-5720.

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