DPJ’s Urban Form series looks at the interplay between movement and surroundings through the lens of dancers and architecture in downtown Phoenix.
“The phrase “Ain’t Life Grand” can seem like an obvious one, but I don’t think I ever experienced it the way I have in Phoenix. The city, the art, and the diverse people are really illuminating.” – Lacee
Simply put, life in downtown is grand, as this mural by Michael Ranta on the wall of Legend City Studios at 5th Ave. and Van Buren suggests. This mural has become a wedding and family photo icon due to its simple statement of happiness, which is why we chose to do a photo here. It not only encapsulates the subtle greatness of the west side of downtown with a nod to Grand Avenue (which begins a couple blocks away at 7th Avenue,) but simultaneously speaks to the energy of the people here.
Dancer Lacee Garcia and I were greeted to this scene by a kind elderly man and the peeking smiles of drivers passing by as Lacee moved below the painted words and I shot her from across the street. On this particular morning there was also a breast cancer awareness walk flooding the streets with ombres of pink tulle and an air of strength that can only be exuded by survivors. It was all a reminder that downtown Phoenix is full of stories that bring a certain kind of expression, whether captured in photos or seen on the streets every day. It’s a simple reason why I and so many others love this city.