Arts & Culture
September is the month First Friday makes a comeback each year after its summer lull. With the monsoons mostly over, the ASU students back on campus and new places to check out, the local urge to re-emerge should draw a big crowd to the free downtown Phoenix art walk. Here are five art shows worth taking a look at this First Friday, September 4 from 6-10pm.
Featuring the work from five local photographers, this show takes a closer look at the beauty of the desert monsoon from behind the safety of a lens. The images come from all over Arizona, giving the viewer a grander perspective on the sheer mass of these storms as they sweep across the state. Drive-Thru Gallery & Studio is located at 918 N 6th Street.
“Sex, Cars and Cows, Taming the Wild West”
Featuring the work from award-winning, Tucson based artist, Skip Bailey and seasoned, Phoenix based artist, Jack Adams. This show promises to take watercolor to the next level through depictions of the Southwest in an array of style and subject matter. Alwun House kicks this event off from 7-10pm and is located at 1204 E Roosevelt Street.
“No Sense of Wonder”
Featured in the main lounge space at Eye Lounge, Japanese native artist, Takashi Hara explores both joy and sorrow simultaneously through his personal narrative work, depicted through images of swine and reflecting on the tendencies of society to cage human ambition. Eye Lounge will also exhibit Phoenix based, national artist, Wil Munny. His show, “A Few Canvas That I Painted and Their Secret Meanings” is Munny’s one and only show for 2015. Eye Lounge is located at 419 E Roosevelt Street.
“Cumbia Dance Party at Phoenix Art Museum”
The title says it all! The Phoenix Art Museum is presenting a special event, pop-up dance party featuring DJ Lengua, La Diabla, with performances by Liliana Gomez and more. The museum will feature its Masterworks of Spanish Colonial Art from their private collection, as well as others, in the celebration of Spanish heritage and culture. Don’t forget your dancing shoes! The Phoenix Art Museum is located at 1625 N Central Avenue and is one of four Phoenix Artlink Trolley Hubs.
“Art In Motion”
Shade Gallery, inside the MonOrchid is proud to present the vibrant work of Gennaro Garcia. This multi-media exhibit brings together the diverse passions and processes of Garcia, explored through a vast array of mediums and techniques that take root in the artists Catholic upbringing and reflect his duality through his Mexican and American heritage. Located just beyond the main gallery inside Bokeh Gallery, artist Noe Badillo will exhibit his, “Early work 1994-1999″ which gives the viewer an intimate look at the perspective of a photographer in his early beginnings. The MonOrchid is located at 214 E Roosevelt Street.
“”Music!” First Friday at The Heard Museum”
Okay, I know we said five must-see places, but Phoenix is bursting at the seems with culture this First Friday! The Heard Museum will host an evening of events featuring Navajo jeweler Vernon Begay, free gallery admission and performances by the Catalyst Quartet and the Native American Composer Apprentice Project (NACAP). Additional performances by Navajo composers Raven Chacon and Michael Begay will be held in the Steele Auditorium for a general admission ticket for $10. Additional information may found at www.heard.org.
For more information on First Friday, please visit www.artlinkphoenix.com
Posted on 9/03/15 by Rhonda Zayas » Comments Off
Welcome to Downtown Design, a column that will focus on the graphic design of downtown Phoenix and bring awareness to the talented designers that we have living and working among us.
What’s wonderful about graphic design is that it’s so readily accessible. Even trekking through a seemingly “undesigned” area, such as a national park, you’ll find points of interest signage, maps, brochures, and area warning instructions, all of which was touched by the hands of a graphic designer.
The downtown Phoenix graphic design landscape is rich. There is a strong showing of hand-painted lettering, murals and sandwich boards, seamlessly co-existing with slick Adobe generated design, with perfect kerning.
With the Graphic Gumshoe, a work-in-progress photo collection of interesting Downtown Design elements, we walk around an area of downtown, take photos of the graphic design we encounter along the way and give a quick caption to each photo. Our goal is to document the graphic design landscape of downtown Phoenix as it is now, and throughout it’s evolution.
“Street Coffee” mural – 7th Street & Pierce
The hand-painted graphic elements and typography of the Street Coffee wall art is what caught our eye and made us stop and explore this area. The bold coloring, and various graphic elements are striking and loud, but surprisingly easy to read even while driving by. Design as art to blend in with the landscape, paired perfectly with a brand new coffee shop make us eager to see what the interior design will look like and how these exterior elements will be incorporated into their packaging, signage and overall brand.
Angels Trumpet Ale House – 810 N. 2nd Street
Angels Trumpet has their logo painted at a slight angle, which invokes motion, almost inviting you in by saying, “come on ’round the corner!” The black and white logo pops off the neutral wall just enough without screaming anymore than it has to. Their choice of graphics and fonts gives it an edgy, tattoo-quality, with added iconography to play on the “angel” aspect, and quite clearly PHX proud.
Antique Sugar Vintage Clothing – 801 N 2nd Street #104
Antique Sugar’s distressed sandwich board caught our eye for the variety of expressive fonts. The light blue board is a nice throwback color to the seemingly simpler 1950’s sweetness, which reinforces the “sugar” of their name. The solid “Antique Sugar” typeface mixed with the vintage script font, and commanding arrow, led us right over to the store for a look inside.
Bioscience High School – 512 E Pierce Street
Solidly sitting outside Bioscience High School, a beautiful metal art sign incorporating their double helix mascot is a blend of refined design and organic materials. The signage alone begs you to ask more about the academics of this educational establishment.
FilmBar Lounge & Art House Cinema – 815 N 2nd Street
FilmBar’s logotype gets right to the point, playing on the mid-century modern design that was such an important part of Hollywood cinematic history. Its coloring is refined, and its overall look is just understated enough to know that you’re going to have a genuine experience, and its not kitschy, or pushed too far to come off “themed.”
Madam Helen – 715 N 7th Street
Madam Helen’s sign seemed throughly thought out and pulls you in with simplistic typography mixed with classic imagery. The colors are smart, and the image harkens back to vintage circus poster art. The mystery of her craft and longevity in the area is obvious.
Pint Ventures – 2nd Street & McKinley
A vinyl sign pinned atop plywood made a modern design statement in an area with more of a vintage flair. Something fresh is brewing, and we are interested to see what this real estate company will be doing with the space. The clean type, use of open space, and one bold color, is quickly becoming the “it” downtown Phoenix graphic look, as it can be seen in use by many of the current developers.
Photos by Rhonda Zayas.
Shimmering mirages still emanate from hot pavement and it will be at least a month until any semblance of cool weather wafts back into the Valley. In the meantime, performing arts seasons are being announced, kids are already back in school, snowbirds in Chicago are buying their plane tickets, and the galleries in downtown Phoenix are gearing up for another season of fantastic exhibitions. Chartreuse, a new gallery on Grand Avenue, will jumpstart the fall season with their inaugural exhibition, “Hot Summer Nights” opening this Friday, September 4.
“Hot Summer Nights” is a collaborative project featuring “images of Phoenix seen through loving eyes” by two local photographers: Jared Elizares and Catherine Slye. The promo copy for this exhibition captures their joy in the project. “As night descends, the city is bathed in rich, saturated, vibrant color. Blues and purples wash the urban environment, juxtaposing the naturally occurring with the human made. What better time to photograph Phoenix in the summer, than at night?”
Elizares’ photos were shot entirely on transparency film with a low rating of ISO 10. Each image required lengthy exposures ranging from eight to 45 minutes. Slye’s images are purely digital, blending the immediacy of digital with the ability to photograph manually. Additionally, Marshall Shore provides accompanying historical context for the photos.
Chartreuse is local art advocate Nancy Hill’s new gallery in the old Frontal Lobe space. Hill owns Hazel & Violet, a letterpress print shop housed around the corner, on the southwest end of the Bragg’s Pie C building. Previously she owned and operated 720 Gallery on 4th Street and McKinley in the Roosevelt neighborhood. When those buildings were slated for demolition, she made the transition to Grand Ave, first with her letterpress shop, and now with her newest gallery. For Nancy Hill, it’s a labor of love. “I wouldn’t be choosing to own a gallery if I wanted to be rich,” said Hill. “I’m doing a gallery because I miss having a gallery, and I want to fill that little part of the community.”
“Of course,” she added, laughing knowingly, “I want to sell enough work to cover the rent.”
As in the past, Hill will be working closely with Mike Oleskow to curate the shows. Oleskow has been involved in the arts in downtown for many years and was the previous owner and curator for After Hours Galley. While they intend to focus on showing work by Arizona artists, they will not be strictly limited. “We’ll be focused on showing work we like,” Hill said.
So what’s on tap for the fall for Chartreuse? Cheryle Marine’s work will be featured in October, Shauna Thibault in November, and December will feature a fun show conceived by Kate Benjamin of Hauspanther fame and Mark Allred of Allred Guitars featuring local and national artists. The focus for this holiday show? Why…cats and guitars, of course!
One way to experience what makes Phoenix special is to explore where the arts are thriving: Grand Avenue, Roosevelt Row, the Warehouse District, Garfield, uptown at Central and Camelback, and so many more art spaces and neighborhoods that are blooming in and around our greater downtown. Don’t miss the beauty of this new gallery on Grand, because getting out to see and, when possible, buy the artwork work being created in a city bursting with talent is one sure way to embrace what Phoenix has to offer.
If You Go:
What: “Hot Summer Nights” photo exhibition
Where: Chartreuse, 1301 NW Grand Avenue, Phoenix
When: Friday, September 4, 6:00 pm (Show will be up through the month of September.)
David Krietor has served as CEO of the newly-formed Downtown Phoenix, Inc. (“DPI”) since April 8, 2013. In that time, he has begun work with community stakeholders to develop the downtown we want. “Your Downtown” shares his thoughts and DPI’s progress with the downtown community and beyond. Read the other chats here.
A week ago, Kimber Lanning, Downtown Phoenix Inc. board member and Local First Arizona executive director, shared with me some interesting observations from attendees of the national BALLE Conference on Localism held in Phoenix in June. Hundreds of Localist leaders from across the U.S. visited Downtown Phoenix to talk about the best practices for building strong local economies. Here are some of the comments received from conference-goers about their stay:
- “I didn’t know much about Phoenix before this conference. I feel like I got a privileged view of so many amazing people and initiatives working to address their challenges in creative and collaborative ways. I now love this city and would love to come back.”
- “I had no idea Phoenix had such a vibrant arts district!”
- “I am an Arizona resident but don’t live in the Phoenix area. I was very impressed with how many committed, thoughtful organizations and activists are doing great work in city… The city was far more walkable than I anticipated and the [welcome] guide was very helpful.”
- “Phoenix has so much life, energy, pulse that I didn’t know about.”
- “I’ve always thought of Phoenix as a pretty rough place. I was impressed not only by the downtown but, significantly, by the passion of the folks working on local issues.”
- “I live in the East Valley of Phoenix and never come downtown. After my time at the BALLE Conference I realized I have been missing a big part of my town. Downtown Phoenix is really coming into its own. I will return.”
- “[Phoenix] is much greener than I expected!”
With those kind and positive words, I could stop right now, but there’s a lot more news and information to share about downtown:
IN THE PINK
- ASU ends on-campus psychiatric-care program
- ASU provides hope for an iconic downtown building and its residents
- UA & St. Joe’s Cancer Center comes to Downtown Phoenix
- How the UA Dignity Health cancer center almost wasn’t
- Will South Phoenix Light Rail affect your health?
GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT
- How transit spurred downtown growth, and could shape the whole city
- Banner to Midtown Phoenix neighbors: 3 years of construction
- Chicanos Por La Causa Pickle House incubator wins $50K SBA grant
- Condo project to take shape near Park Central Mall
- Downtown Phoenix’s growing residential boom shown in new study
- Hotel Monroe construction causes closure of Central Avenue
- New “one-stop shop” for homeless vets opens in Phoenix
- Phoenix asks for new bids for 100-year-old “Psycho” building
- Westward Ho owners get fed-backed loan for upgrades
OPEN FOR BUSINESS
- Be Coffee opens on Roosevelt Row in Downtown Phoenix
- Breweries craft expansions after drafting state law to boost production
- Cibo is a tasty, charming gem in Downtown Phoenix
- Downtown Phoenix storefronts in detail
- 15 places to eat near ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus
- Phoenix food truck looks to spice up Food Network show
- Summer dining deals around downtown, metro Phoenix
- Ten Best Kids’ Menus in downtown, metro Phoenix
- The Bosque plant boutique opens on Roosevelt Row
- Two restaurants to open in shared space in Downtown Phoenix
- WebPT ranks on Inc. 5000 list of nation’s fastest growing companies
- Burton Barr Central Library looking for artists to feature in 2016 gallery
- Emerging designers present at downtown preview of Phoenix Fashion Week
- First Fridays August music guide for Downtown Phoenix
- Mural in Downtown Phoenix highlights plight of migrants
- Nic Wiesinger founds Rhetorical Galleries in Downtown Phoenix
- Theater in Downtown Phoenix keeps its ear to the ground
THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS
- A prudent college path
- ASU boasts diverse achievers in freshman class
- ASU student move-in is a welcome sight for Downtown Phoenix
- Phoenix banks on Peter Pan theory of Millennials
- Young African leaders complete civic leadership training at ASU
- Coyotes’ biggest question: Is there a future in Glendale?
- Phoenix 10K and Half Marathon celebrates 40 years
- The one guy who can keep four pro sports in the Valley
SAVE THE DATE (UPCOMING EVENTS)
- AIA Placemaking Series Panel Discussion on “Work,” Aug. 20
- Space Between Grand Opening, Aug. 21
- Get Your PHX Vote On with Vice Mayor Daniel Valenzuela, Aug. 22
- Roosevelt Row Artist Meet & Greet, Aug. 25
- Artist Grants Information Session & Grantwriting Workshop, Aug. 26
- Marine Week Events, Sept. 10-13
- Urban Ale Trail, Sept. 12
- Phoenix Public Market launch of Downtown Sundown, Sept. 24
Congratulations to Lindsay Kinkade who provided DPI staff with excellent strategic communication and design support in creating our new #dtphx brand. Lindsay was just appointed Design Director of ASU’s Enterprise Marketing Hub. Her job will be to lead design in the Hub to collaborate across campus in building tools to tell the story of ASU far and wide. She will also continue to teach in The Design School and advocate for all good things downtown.
No giant sign hangs over its entrance. It’s only giveaway is the inexplicable bouncer standing near the door. If you’re there after 7 p.m. or so, at least one motorcycle or scooter will have almost surely dug its kickstand into the dirt alongside the dumpster. If it weren’t for the growing knowledge that it resides in a basement whose main door opens into an alley, you wouldn’t know Valley Bar existed. But then the bouncer smiles and assures you this is the place.
You stick your face into the darkness and head down the stairs, your mood and your work and your life falling off of you with each step, and arrive at a fork in the road made of doors. Which one you choose doesn’t matter. Either way, the place unfolds into a three-piece wonderland: part music hall (with a bar), part ‘80s arcade, and part secret restaurant serving up Short Leash gourmet dogs and throwing the silhouettes of hanging metal art onto the main bar’s facade.
Now you’re in on the secret. Valley Bar is the distinctly Phoenician third place that never existed and should have all along. Food and beverage manager Grace Perry says it all: “We don’t want to be a Portland bar. We don’t want to be a New York bar. We want to be an Arizona bar. And we want to do everything we can to keep it that way.”
Co-owners Charlie Levy and Tucker Woodbury, the duo behind the already legendary Crescent Ballroom, set out to turn this place—this dark expanse of untapped potential—into far more than a music venue. Ending its former life as a storage space on the underside of an otherwise nondescript building, Levy and Tucker have morphed the 8,000 square foot joint into quite the downtown surprise.
And it’s not just the live music that keeps your feet tramping back in night after night. It’s the spoken word shows. It’s the storytelling nights. It’s the dance classes. It’s the literary meet-ups in the faux living room under the stairs. It’s the food.
Okay. It’s really the Skee-ball.
Whatever draws you in, the place certainly makes a claim on what it means to be an Arizona bar, especially in that we all really want to live underground. The exposed pipes are legit; they’re used by the entire building.
The brick walls seal you in with not a window to be found. The exits are hidden.
It doesn’t matter. It’s not a place you want to leave anyway.
This is no accident. Levy, Woodbury, and team have made the best of a place most would’ve looked right past. “You make your surroundings,” says Perry. “You don’t let your surroundings make you.”
They made their surroundings, alright. Now they’re surrounded by a crowd every time the alley door opens.
A few facts before you head over:
• The music hall holds 250 people; the place as a whole takes 300.
• Happy hour is Monday-Friday from 4–6pm and all day Sunday and gives you $1-off drafts, house wine, and craft cocktails.
• If there’s no event, there’s a good chance you’ll run into a free game night with $1-off drafts.
• Games include Skee-ball, darts, board games, shuffleboard, and if you’re lucky, a round of 8-ball.
• Bonus tip: If spaces are few, park at Crescent Ballroom and walk over. It’s closer than you think (like, two blocks), and Crescent has its own lot on the backside of the building.
This Saturday, August 29, hit Valley Bar for “The Factory” — a new wave DJ night fueled by the music of your teenage years if your teenage years sped by 20-something years ago.
This is the place. Dig it.
Photos by Robert Hoekman, Jr.