Find free salsa dance and art at Walnut Beach Art Stroll next week

It was a cold night in January when 10 diehards who just wanted to have fun and dance gathered in the Walnut Beach art district, at the corner of Naugatuck Avenue and Broadway, to dance salsa in the streets.

Walnut Beach business owner Susan Patrick laughed as she remembered the night. “It was brutally cold,” she said.

But the dance lessons were free, and the music was lighthearted, so it was fun, she said.

The same free salsa lessons will be found on the same street corner Thursday, April 25, from 8 to 9:30 p.m., running in conjunction with the district's “art stroll.”

The combination of events is meant to draw people to the area, which is home to several small galleries and people who hope one day to see the area blossom into a full-fledged art district.

The evening will start at 6 with an opening reception at the Firehouse Gallery at 81 Naugatuck Avenue. The theme of the exhibit is “Imagine,” and work will be judged by local artist Matt Roe. Roe is internationally known for his modern art works in different mediums, event organizers said.

Art strollers are invited to walk from there down the street to Sobobo Art Gallery at 42 Naugatuck Ave. for the opening reception of April's artist, Karen Macker, from 6 to 8.

“Musician Andrew Hungaski will be playing guitar, adding melodious sound to the evening,” said Sobobo owner Donna Turner Woods.

From there, strollers can head outside for some free salsa lessons. Brian Smith, Milford DJ, will provide the music. No specific dress is required, but organizers suggest participants dress warmly.