DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
Big Changes Coming to Bentley Gallery
Bentley Gallery will be dramatically changing its 25,000 sq ft facility this summer to allow for a more intimate space to exhibit artwork. Brian Stark of Scottsdale architecture firm STARKJAMES is heading up the design of the gallery and wayfinding.
Another major driving force behind the gallery scaling back on physical space is that brick and mortar art sales have increasingly shifted to the Internet over the past few years. According to Bentley Calverley, “Art collectors today expect galleries to have a robust online presence as more and more art sales are moving to the Internet. In fact, online trade is expected to more than double by 2018. As reputable art sites continue to vet the gallery for inclusion, responding to online requests for information and preparing international shipments has altered how we do business.”
A recent article on Artsy noted that in a survey of collectors on Instagram, more than half had purchased works from artists they originally discovered through that platform. Although the respondents were all active on Instagram, these were significant findings. Experienced art collectors and neophytes are both increasingly using websites to find original contemporary works and ordering them for delivery. This is especially true with younger people, who are quite at ease using online resources. They can do their own research and feel they can be involved in a world that even five years ago may have seemed daunting.
Bentley Gallery director John Reyes agrees that the Internet business has taken off. “I think we’ve reached a turning point,” he said. “People feel more comfortable buying expensive things online. There is growing confidence among collectors that digital images can inform enough about works of art to spend comfortably. We have staff whose time is dedicated to our online presence on our website, our social media platforms, and art-specific sites. We are making great art available to a far wider audience.”
Reyes makes it clear that the gallery will continue to be an art destination in Phoenix, and a beautiful exhibition space. “Though the art world has entered a new era, there are certain things the online experience can never deliver,” Reyes clarifies. “Bentley Gallery is not turning its back on traditional exhibitions or showcasing artists’ works in a gallery setting. We know it’s important to keep the traditional gallery intact because often buyers need context, and we’ll continue to offer that. Our exhibitions today and those planned for the future are as strong as ever, and we house all of the artwork here on site.”
The gallery will be closed during the month of July and will reopen on August 1. Construction on the new space will be completed by late summer.
Image courtesy of Clutch Photos.
Trellis kicks off new “Good Neighbor Initiative” with art show featuring artistically designed front porch benches that will be awarded to 12 deserving individuals
GOOD NEIGHBOR INITIATIVE – WHO DESERVES THE BEST SEAT ON THE BLOCK?
Trellis and the 6th Avenue Gallery are kicking off a new “Good Neighbor Initiative” at a First Friday event that features 12 creatively designed, one-of-a-kind front porch benches that will awarded to 12 deserving good neighbors, once a month, throughout the year. Trellis, a 40-year old Valley nonprofit dedicated to making stable homes and communities possible, is launching the “Good Neighbor Initiative” in conjunction with National NeighborWorks Week (June 6-13). Come see, and sit in these warm and welcoming benches that have been designed by local artists, and nominate a good neighbor to win one for his/her front porch. The front porch bench exhibition includes a backdrop of captivating images from the lenses of photo journalists at The Arizona Republic.
- Nominate a “Good Neighbor” to win a unique, one-of-a-kind front porch bench created and donated by Grizzly Iron.
- Meet the artists who generously donated their time to create these works of art.
- Find out how you can purchase a “Good Neighbor” bench for your home too
- Participate in the creation of a community “Front Porch” bench
- Pose for “Good Neighbor” photos that will be posted on AZCentral.com
- Tell us what traits make a #GoodNeighbor in 140 characters or less for chance to win a custom porch bench. Winner drawn on June 5 at 6th Avenue Gallery. Must be present to win!
First Friday, June 5, 6 – 9 p.m.
6th Avenue Gallery, 650 N. 6th Avenue in downtown Phoenix, 85003
Images courtesy of 6th Avenue Gallery.
It’s unusual to see a Broadway musical enriched with a full symphony orchestra onstage behind the actors, but Phoenix Theatre’s fifth collaboration with The Phoenix Symphony promises the best of both worlds.
“It’s something so unique for an audience, because you’re basically watching a symphonic concert at the same time you’re witnessing a semi-staged production, so it’s just a very cool experience that you’re not going to get anywhere else,” says Phoenix Theatre Producing Artistic Director Michael Barnard, who directs Oliver! at Symphony Hall this weekend. “You can walk out going, ‘Wow — I’ve never seen this show done that way,’ you know? …And it only happens once a year and it’s a really neat collaboration with two arts organizations working in sync with each other.” He adds, “And Tito’s been great.”
“Phoenix Theatre is a great company, and the way we’re collaborating in Symphony Hall is very unique to both institutions,” agrees Tito Muñoz, who’s wrapping up his first season as music director of The Phoenix Symphony. “The wind parts for a lot of musicals are written for a small complement, but it’s the strings that we can augment and have much more than there normally would be,” he says, anticipating a full, lush sound.
“When we do a show at Phoenix Theatre – and even on Broadway any more – pit orchestras aren’t much bigger than 14,” says Barnard, “so to be able to have 56 pieces is quite remarkable. It definitely has its challenges, but it’s really quite lovely, and you don’t get that opportunity.” He continues, “It’s just completely unaffordable other than this kind of concertized version.”
Before his appointment in Phoenix, Muñoz served as music director for France’s Opéra National de Lorraine and the Orchestre symphonique et lyrique de Nancy. “Between opera and musical theater…the only big difference is that everything is amplified,” he says. “And generally speaking, in opera the stage and the theater are vehicles for the music, so the music is the most important part of the art in opera. In musical theater that’s not necessarily the case.”
Muñoz grew up conducting musical theater throughout high school and college before playing as a violinist for Broadway shows in New York. He explains, “I think there’s a little bit more balance between the storytelling, the production itself and of course the musical numbers, but there’s a lot of underscoring dialogue, there’s a lot of scene change music.”
Although this is his first official pops concert with The Phoenix Symphony, he’s confident in the musicians’ expertise. “The orchestra does so much pops that this kind of thing is nothing new to them, actually…they’re well versed in musical theater.”
First produced in London in 1960, Oliver! was written by Lionel Bart, who based his musical on Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. The novel was Dickens’s social commentary on the Poor Law of Victorian England, and was published in serialized form between 1837 and 1839. As a 25-year-old author Dickens drew on his own experiences working in a shoe-blacking factory as a child when his family was trapped in debtors’ prison. His misery during those years was aggravated by a bullying coworker named Bob Fagin, after whom Dickens named a villain in Oliver Twist.
Set in England, the plot follows the orphaned Oliver’s difficult and abuse-filled journey from workhouse – where we hear the famous tune “Food, Glorious Food” — to a dangerous community of pickpockets overseen by Fagin (“You’ve Got to Pick a Pocket or Two”). After a kidnapping and a murder, Oliver ultimately finds his way to better fortune in a comfortable household thanks to a kindly benefactor.
This production’s cast includes familiar Phoenix Theatre favorites D. Scott Withers as Fagin, along with Toby Yatso, Johanna Carlisle, Yolanda London and David Simmons. Sixth-grader Vincent Jacovo stars as Oliver with 12-year-old Asher Angel as The Artful Dodger, a youthful criminal.
“It’s so easy with these kids,” says Muñoz. “They’re unbelievably well trained; they’re fantastic onstage.” Adds Barnard, “Hats off to their parents, and hats off to the other youth theaters that have helped prepare them for an experience like this…they’ve done a good job.”
He continues, “I think the challenge is always in making sure that you can get the best out of the kids without losing your ability to get the best out of the adults as well. Molly Lajoie has been the choreographer in particular for the kids, so she’s been a big help in that regard.” Phoenix Theatre’s technical team also features music director and rehearsal pianist Jeff Kennedy.
Other challenges include timing and staging constraints. “The entire show has to come in with intermission under two hours and 15 minutes [due to the Symphony’s contract with its musicians],” explains Barnard. “Second – and probably one of the bigger challenges – is [that] we only use the apron of the stage because the symphony is occupying the bulk of the stage.” Muñoz elaborates: “We’re having the staging…in front of the proscenium, and so the orchestra’s onstage but behind all the action…so it’s a very big symphonic sound.” He says, “I’m not facing the action, so we’re doing it very much electronically – the singers have a couple of monitors so they can have a visual of my baton…and then I also have a monitor in front of me that shows the stage.”
Barnard continues, “Scenically speaking, we want to just do just fragmented or suggested locales because we want the audience to see the symphony orchestra – that’s part of the fun. So you just have to sort of think it out – necessity becomes the mother of invention. But since this is our fifth collaboration we’ve sort of learned a lot about how this might work.” He adds wistfully, “This also could be our last. I’m not really sure why, but from what I understand it’s not part of the Symphony’s calendar for next season, so this may be the swan song. I’m sad about that because I love that collaboration.”
If you go:
- The Phoenix Symphony and Phoenix Theatre perform Oliver!
DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
Spirit of the Arts
A Unique Community Project to Beautify Downtown
Phoenix Center for the Arts, in partnership with The Breadfruit & Rum Bar, Roosevelt Row CDC, and State Representative Ken Clark, is excited to announce Spirit of the Arts, a fun and creative collaboration to repair and beautify one of the most visible buildings in Downtown Phoenix, Phoenix Center for the Arts. Spirit of the Arts will be held Saturday, August 15, from 6-9pm, at Phoenix Center for the Arts to raise funds for important building repairs in a very creative way.
Local and nationally acclaimed artists from all mediums have been commissioned to convert discarded rum bottles from The Breadfruit & Rum Bar into works of art. These works will then be auctioned at the Spirit of the Arts restoration gala. A portion of the proceeds will go directly towards the improvement of the building.
Over the past year, The Breadfruit & Rum Bar has collected hundreds of these rum bottles, which would have otherwise ended up as trash, to support this endeavor. “These bottles came from rum-producing regions all over the world, says The Breadfruit & Rum Bar Co-Owner, Dwayne Allen. “Each bottle has been carefully considered and crafted to embody the spirit its origin. These bottles have intrinsic value and can serve to inspire and delight just as they did when they were filled with rum. As they collect dust, their labels fade, they crack and chip from neglect. Similarly, the Phoenix Center for the Arts campus, though well-used and well-loved, is cracked, chipped, and faded. It deserves to be ‘dusted off’ and given a chance to shine as our front door to downtown Phoenix.”
Phoenix Center for the Arts is a non-profit operated City of Phoenix facility that borders Margaret T. Hance Park (also known as the Deck Park) on Third Street, just north of Roosevelt. The City acquired the campus – a former Baptist church – in 1975 when construction of Interstate 10 began. Since then, the facility has continued to serve thousands of Valley residents each and every year. The Center has truly blossomed in the past 4 years since “going nonprofit,” having grown by nearly 500% since 2011. Most recently, the buzz behind the new Hance Park Master Plan has increased the Center’s visibility and bolstered community awareness of Phoenix Center for the Arts’ role in shaping our local culture and arts community.
The southbound Third Street corridor has long been considered a major gateway to downtown Phoenix. It offers a magnificent view of the Downtown skyline that ushers motorist and pedestrians into the urban heart of the City of Phoenix, as well as the State of Arizona. One cannot help but notice the historic red brick building, which boasts a majestic staircase and monumental pillars. The mere sight of it conjures memories of downtown Phoenix in its formative years.
“Unfortunately, as it sits today, this great piece of our community’s history is in a state of relative disrepair, says State Representative, Ken Clark. “We are excited to work with community leaders to bring back the building’s original charm in support of arts in Arizona.” The building itself is 84 years old and has served the community as an Arts Center for nearly 40 years. In fact, the Spirit of the Arts event will serve as the first of many Anniversary events.
Joseph Benesh, Director of Phoenix Center for the Arts states: “This is about placemaking and historic preservation. Our objective is to return the Phoenix Center for the Arts facade to a state that accurately represents the value of its history, the importance it holds for our community today, and the potential it will possess in years to come.”
Spirit of the Art tickets cost $75 each and can be purchased by visiting phoenixcenterforthearts.org/spirit
For more information about Phoenix Center for the Arts, visit phoenixcenterforthearts.org or call 602-254-3100.
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.
While the weather remained wildly unpredictable in other parts of the country these past few weeks (i.e., snow, hail, wind, twisters), Phoenicians enjoyed sunny skies and balmy temperatures enough to hold many Valley Bike Month, Phoenix Urban Design Week, and Earth Day events in the great outdoors. Even Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton led hundreds of cyclists around downtown on Bike to Work Day. Time to get your GRID on…
Home Sweet Home
According to the Arizona Republic, “For the first time, metro Phoenix is growing up more rapidly than out. A record number of high-rise, townhouse, and loft housing developments are shooting up in central Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe, and selling out quickly. Condominium sales are climbing faster than regular home sales in the Valley, a reversal of the region’s growth pattern since the 1950s.” People seem to characterize downtown as “cool” or “hot.” For us longtime advocates this is a really exciting time.
- 44 Monroe, Arizona’s tallest residential building, sells for $51M
- Building a vision for downtown living
- Roosevelt Row highlights downtown’s growing pains
- Shipping container housing in Baton Rouge? It’s happening in Phoenix
- APS buys Phoenix land for new downtown, midtown substations
- Banner Health’s new headquarters may give boost to midtown
- Big plans in works for Hance Park downtown
- Grand Avenue hosts street cleanup in hopes of revitalization
- New south Phoenix Park-and-Ride connects commuters with downtown
- Roosevelt Row shipping container art galleries in downtown to move
- Uber won’t confirm downtown “Global Command Center”
- Valley cities work to fight blight along stretches of Grand Avenue
- Girls in Tech national conference held downtown
- Innovation-focused companies fuel downtown, midtown growth
- Innovative, independent entrepreneurship grows downtown, in the Valley
- Phoenix High Tide announces 5 new downtown startups
- Phoenix on its way to becoming a tech hub
Each spring, the Phoenix New Times Big Brain Awards recognizes 15 emerging creative individuals in the areas of Culinary Art, Design, Music, Performing Art, and Visual Art. This year’s winners (one from each category) were announced on Saturday, May 9, at Monarch Theatre during Artopia, the New Times’ annual soiree of art, music, food, and drinks. In other downtown art related news…
- Creating architectural memories
- Downtown band, Black Bottom Lighters, celebrate release of first album
- Focus. Flash. Phoenix: Ineffable Artifacts
- Latina-owned ad agency christens downtown studio, gallery & culture lab
- Midtown museums benefit from recent large gifts
- New downtown exhibit, “El Sabor,” celebrates influence of Latin music
- Phoenix arts leaders celebrate 30 years of progress, look to future
- PHXFLAMEnco launches monthly arts and entertainment programs
- Steven Tepper talks about how ASU art students are changing downtown
- Third Friday becoming more than great works and art lovers out and about
New Food Spots
- DeSoto Central Market displays variety of cuisines, with more to come
- New Phoenix food truck focuses on French fries
- New life for old downtown church; plans include restaurants and the arts
- Short Leash hosts Pinewood Derby for adults in downtown
- Songbird re-opening pleases customers in century old downtown house
- Valley Bar, new music venue opening, hiring in downtown
- Vote for Ripe Awards up-and-coming chefs, spirit maker, and bartender
- Wednesday downtown open air market to move, expand to Thursdays
- County OKs contract to shelter homeless sleeping in lot
- Our homeless deserve more than a parking lot
- Phoenix fights blight with plastic windows
- Phoenix named among America’s least bike-friendly cities
- Two openly-gay pastors aim for inclusion downtown
Mark Your Calendars
- Urban Wine Walk, May 16
- Slide the City, May 16
- Creative Placemaking: Transforming Communities Through the Arts, May 20
Over at the ASU downtown Phoenix campus, student journalists with Cronkite News and the Cronkite Public Insight Network Bureau want to understand how the downtown Phoenix community sees itself. Through an online survey, they’re asking downtown stakeholders what they would like to see happen in our city. They’re asking how city leaders, business owners, community leaders, residents, and the media can best discuss the issues that concern everyone the most. If you have a connection to downtown Phoenix, feel free to share your thoughts here.
Featured image courtesy of Downtown Phoenix Inc.