Our guide to what’s worth browsing during the year’s first First Friday of spring:
Philly-based artist and writer Natalie Hope McDonald gets her first solo show this (and next) First Friday. McDonald uses mixed media to explore memory, music, and street art in her series of collaged canvases. Her pieces operate on a variety of (literal and figurative) planes, using layers of paint and other media to multiply and divide meaning, rendered in bold colors and cryptic messages. 5-9 p.m., Bluestone Fine Art Gallery, 142 North 2nd Street.
On display at Metropolitan Gallery 250 is NoLibs-based artist Sarah Coote's solo show. Examining the relationship between spectacle/spectator and tradition and modernity, Coote creates an exciting portrait of the digital age. Coote draws from event photography to re-create gatherings as a look into class structure and human interaction. 6-8 p.m., Metropolitan Gallery 250, 250 South 18th Street
Philly-born and PAFA-trained artist Timmy Graham debuts his first solo show, displaying his contributions to "Fourth Dimensionalism." On display are 13 of Graham's outsized, mathematically inspired pieces, which feature complex abstract patterns. 6-8 p.m., Leonard Pearlstein Gallery URBN Annex, 3401 Filbert Street.
Even if your daffodils are barely asprout yet, PAFA has spring on full display in its three-day exhibition of gardens and floral design. Fifteen garden clubs and 45 national floral designers come together to re-interpret rare masterpieces from PAFA's collection in gorgeous flora. British floral designers Neil Whittaker and Wendy Andrade will host presentations and workshops. Call for times, $20, Historic Landmark Building, 118 North Broad Street.
Celebrate the Art Dept.'s first birthday this First Friday with a new exhibition by Katherine Pulido, "Sometimes Words Fail." The University of the Arts alum's series highlights communication in human relationships through poignant character drawings. The reception/b-day party will feature Narragansett Beer and bites from Food and Ferments. 6-9 p.m., The Art Dept, 1638 East Berks Street.
Old City's Clay Studio celebrates its 40th year at the wheel with its newest exhibition. Recently on display in Milwaukee as part of the annual NCECA conference, the exhibition, which features pieces from over three dozen artists, comes to Philadelphia for First Friday. Call for times, The Clay Studio, 137 North 2nd Street.
Keith R. Breitfeller and Brian David Dennis play with the theme of suspended animation within the intimate space of 110 Church's gallery space. The collaborative exhibition will show Breitfeller's colorful, heavily textured oil paintings and Dennis's playful installation featuring paper-splashed miniature ladders. Call for times, 110 Church, 110 Church Street
Fishtown art collective Art Machine gears up for a First Friday evening to benefit local tattoo artist Gia Rose and her fight against cervical cancer. The Bottle Bar East show will feature works donated from local artists that will be auctioned off the next day. All proceeds go to Rose's treatment. 8 p.m., and Saturday, April 5th, 2 p.m.-5 p.m., Bottle Bar East, 1308 Frankford Avenue.
Looking for other weekend events? We’re keeping a list of the best to-dos on our Philadelphia Event Listings page. Check it out for a rundown of events through June.