Originally Published: March 30, 2015 6:03 a.m.
For 11 years, Prescott's Fourth Friday Art Walk has been a town mainstay under the direction of Patti Ortiz, marketing and special program director of 'Tis Art Gallery. She's also the only original member left. Recently, the City of Prescott honored her with a commendation plaque recognizing her commitment, drive and energy in relation to the formation, continuation, management and success of the Art Walk. Ortiz said it felt great to be commended for her work, noting that Fourth Friday launched after a group of gallery owners started meeting in late 2003, with the first Art Walk in February 2004. "We wanted to create a monthly event that highlighted the art galleries and tied them all together," she said. "At that time, the galleries weren't really working together at all, now were linked. We send people over to different galleries." The commendation was unexpected, Ortiz said, calling it a nice gesture that she really appreciated. She also mentioned that she is the only original member left and recently stepped down from her position as director, a position she had been in since the beginning. Ortiz postulated her stepping aside might be what catapulted the commendation, but added that she is still with the task force. In everything, Ortiz said she loves that the Art Walk has been able to bring the galleries and people together. And while Ortiz was the only one commended by the city, she wanted to recognize Jill Huckaba, Mary Kaye O'Neill and Kristen Densmore for their work as well. She said Densmore is now assisting Jen Chandler in directing the Art Walk. Ortiz said directing the Art Walk was a good ride and mentioned that the number four keeps popping up over and over again. She said for the first Art Walk, it started snowing at 4 p.m., leaving over four inches of snow and that 2004 was a leap year.She also said the Art Walk has become a mainstay for Prescott. "I don't see it going away," she said. "We get galleries that hop on, some hop out ... they're constantly doing something different." Follow Jason on Twitter @PrescottWheels