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People walk on the gallery row on Prince Street during the Fall ArtWalk in Lancaster Saturday Oct. 2, 2021.

In the age of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lancaster city art galleries know many people are still trying to avoid the crowds.

That's why they banded together to create a Second Saturday event.

Red Raven Art Company owner Regina Martin and manager Lee Lovett wanted to find a way to bring people to local art galleries while avoiding the crowds that First Fridays often bring to downtown.

Their solution was to partner with local restaurants and create an alliance where people could visit Lancaster city to see the art galleries, and stop nearby for some discounted food or drinks, Lovett says. May will be the initiative's second month.

Most galleries were already open Saturdays, but Lovett said gallery owners wanted a specific day to encourage visitors from drivable places like Washington, D.C., or Philadelphia to make a day out of visiting Lancaster's arts scene. 

"We're trying to promote the city as a destination for the arts," says Lovett. 

This event will coordinate in tandem with First Friday, Lovett says, as galleries will continue to do First Friday celebrations.

"We're just trying to add another option for people," Lovett says. "I'm not seeing (our customers) much on First Fridays anymore. They're just being a little more cautious about being in big group situations."

Though most galleries have teamed up for the sake of bringing more awareness to the arts scene in Lancaster city, all operate independently and might have different events, hours or rules for Second Saturday.

One thing will be uniform, however: people who visit Lancaster city art galleries on Second Saturday will receive a coupon to a local restaurant.

Coupons must be used that day and can only be used once per person, so diners are asked to leave them at the restaurant after they are done eating.

"It was a nice way for us to also coordinate with our restaurants. We know how hard its been for restaurants the last two years. So, if we can drive some business to them, as well as to us, then I think it's a win-win for everyone," Lovett says. "I really hope our customers enjoy seeing the art and checking out our fabulous city."

Here are the participating restaurants, as well as the discounts offered after visiting art galleries. 

- Zoetropolis Cinema Stillhouse, 112 N. Water St., $2 off per person (excludes alcohol)

- Prince Street Cafe, 15 N. Prince St., $2 off per person

- Our Town Brewery, 252 N. Prince St., $2 off a soft pretzel

- Root Lancaster, 223 W. Walnut St., $2 off per person

- Rachel's Cafe & Creperie, 201 W. Walnut St., 10% off a food or drink order

- Shot & Bottle, 2 N. Queen St., $2 off a dessert

- Pop & Perk, 136 N. Prince St., 20% off any drink

For more information, hours for participating galleries and more, visit lancastercityartgalleries.com.

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