Flint, MI – Buckham Gallery in downtown Flint will host its final open mic event on Friday, Nov. 4, 2022, at 6:30 p.m., concluding a long-running, monthly series.
Nic Custer, an event organizer and emcee for Buckham’s open mic nights, said that the gallery is unofficially passing the baton to Flint Renaissance Era, an artist collective that started hosting its own monthly open mic nights across the street at Comma Bookstore & Social Hub on Oct. 7.
“We really felt that, for a long time and especially after COVID, there weren’t any open mics. There were no opportunities for folks to reengage,” Custer said. “Now we have come to a place – an exciting place, frankly – where it feels like filling that niche isn’t really needed anymore. There are more young people coming up and strongly taking the next step.”
Rather than compete with Flint Renaissance Era for an audience of young people, Custer said that Buckham Gallery sees this as an opportunity to try something different.
“This isn’t like we’re going to lose something on Fridays. We’re hoping to continue to gain something now that the rest of the city is back on a more regular open mic and more regular kind of art schedule,” Custer said.
Buckham Gallery has hosted open mic events on and off since 2013 according to Custer. The current iteration of the gallery’s open mic night launched in 2017 to provide Flint residents an outlet for artistic expression, even as many artistic communities were closing their doors, he said.
The open mic night is open to all sorts of entertainers, including musicians, writers, poets, actors, comedians and performance artists, Custer said, adding that the event seeks to remove all barriers of entry—including a price of admission.
“Since this Friday is going to be our last First Friday open mic, we’re really hoping that we’ll get a huge showing of folks that have come through the years,” Custer said.
The emcee also told Flint Beat that there are only two rules to the event: audience members must “show love” to whoever comes on stage to help them make the leap from practicing alone to performing in front of a crowd; and to encourage performers to come back and continue to grow as an artist in the community.
Custer said Buckham Gallery will take two to three months off to come up with a new schedule of events before returning for more First Friday events in January or February.
He noted event updates will be added to the gallery’s Facebook page, as available.