(From the Wire includes press releases received from reliable sources that help tell the story of the many happenings in Greater Downtown Phoenix. Yep, they are ripped from our inbox.)

On December 9, shop for holiday gifts and bring sunflowers downtown.

Everyone needs to get their holiday shopping done. Roosevelt Row is offering an opportunity for shoppers to not only get their gifts purchased, but to also help beautify Downtown Phoenix with sunflowers.

On Friday, December 9th, come downtown for Shop and Share. Supporting businesses are donating 10% of their sales from that day to Valley of the Sunflowers. Participating Locations: Bunky Boutique, Butter Toast Boutique, Galeria De Los Muertos, GROWop handmade+found, Jobot Coffee Shop, Made art boutique, Mercantile Vintage, Nachobot, Pita Jungle, Roose Parlour and Spa with new businesses signing on everyday.

In August 2011, Roosevelt Row Community Development Corporation (CDC) leased a vacant parcel in the Evans Churchill neighborhood in downtown from the City of Phoenix to grow a 2-acre field of sunflowers. Today the sunflowers are blooming!

Valley of the Sunflowers (VOS) is part of Roosevelt Row’s A.R.T.S. (Adaptive Reuse of Temporary Space) Garden Program, which activates vacant land in Roosevelt Row Arts District through greening initiatives. This A.R.T.S. Garden project, Valley of the Sunflowers, is a partnership between the Phoenix Union Bioscience High School and Intel Corporation.

In August & September, the students and over 500 community volunteers cleaned up the parcels, spread organic fertilizer and planted over 60,000 sunflower seeds. The art classes at Bioscience have been drawing the plants in their various stages of growth and the biochemistry classes have been doing soil tests. In late December the flowers will be harvested and pressed for seed oil to produce biodiesel fuel to power the Bioscience High School’s hybrid solar/biofuel car.

To date, over 3,000 people have volunteered at the Valley of the Sunflowers. While snow falls in the east coast, in Downtown Phoenix, sunflowers are blooming and families are coming downtown to photograph their holiday portraits in a field of sunflowers. Funds still need to be raised for the second season of sunflowers, which will be planted in late January.

The A.R.T.S. Program addresses the issues of vacant urban space by putting dirt lots into productive use throughout the Roosevelt Row Arts District. Programming includes the A.R.T.S. Markets, gardens, public art projects, cultural fairs, outdoor films, and concerts.

Phoenix Union Bioscience High School is a unique science-focused, small high school that is responding to the burgeoning science, technology and engineering industries. The courses are developed around student interests and are intended to prepare students for future study and jobs that do not yet exist. Bioscience offers a full, four-year curriculum with integration among the disciplines. Located in the hub of biotech research, medicine, arts district and higher education in downtown Phoenix, and through partnerships with the community, students have the opportunity to collaborate beyond the walls of the school and experience real world learning.

Roosevelt Row CDC is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization established to further the unique character and assets of the Roosevelt Row Arts District connecting the four historic neighborhoods immediately north of the downtown core – Garfield, Evans Churchill, Roosevelt, and F.Q. Story. The organization also advocates for the continuing role of the arts in the revitalization of downtown Phoenix and fosters a dense, diverse, and walkable urban environment. Programs include an annual business directory, new murals, tree plantings, vacant-lot activation and support for new and existing businesses and community organizations in the area.