With the return of Arts Month in Long Beach, Bixby Knolls will be spreading the creativity throughout First Fridays, from 6:30 to 10 p.m. tonight.

During the month of October, various corners of the city will feature dozens of individual artists, promoters and different events, including group photography, cold readings and more.

At First Fridays, the month will kick off at the Expo Arts Center, 4321 Atlantic Ave., which will feature two art galleries and two large exhibits. The evening also will include dance performances from Post Mortem Grotesque Burlesque, and a demonstration from live spray artists, according to Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association Executive Director Blair Cohn.

“The Expo Arts Center will be packed,” Cohn said. “There will be no shortage of activity in the Jones Gallery. It will be another great night with music and art and plenty of people.”

Along the streets of Atlantic Avenue, patrons will enjoy listening to a strolling Polka band, seeing improv comedy, face painting, mask-making, classic cars, graffiti artists and even two Lady Gaga impersonators.

“It’s also the 131st birthday of our mascot, the Knolls Ranger,” Cohn added. “It’s his birthday party, and because of Arts Month, we wanted to make it as colorful as possible.”

There will be birthday cake served at Oh Very Young, 4378 Atlantic Ave., at 7:30 p.m.

At the Expo Arts Center, visitors can try their hand at acting by participating in cold readings from original plays, as well as see veteran octogenarian Long Beach artist Slater Baron’s show, “Transformative Vision,” along with 24 other Long Beach artists.

“It’s coupled with more than 20 mid-career artists,” said John Glaza, interim Executive Director of the Arts Council for Long Beach. “She is quite famous, and at 84 years old, she is curating the show. That’s what people are most excited about.”

Baron uses dryer lint to create portraits and sculptures, and some of her work hangs in Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museums across the world.

“First Fridays is a popular deal,” Glaza said. “That mix is not only a great opportunity for patrons when they come, but it also is a great opportunity for the artists to connect with each other.”

Another exhibit, “NOW,” also will be displayed at the Expo Arts Center, Glaza added.

“The Long Beach Arts Month Steering Committee really stepped up to create these events to celebrate arts month,”Glaza said. “The Arts Council for Long Beach is proud to support and see their efforts come to fruition.”

For more details about First Friday events, visit www.firstfridayslongbeach.com. For more information about Arts Month, visit www.longbeachartsmonth.org.

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