Phoenicians gathered last night at monOrchid on Roosevelt Row for RadiatePHX, a monthly networking event for business, community, and city leaders produced by Downtown Phoenix Inc. and Downtown Phoenix Journal. monOrchid owner Wayne Rainey welcomed those gathered speaking directly to the relationship between creative spaces and special places, and what we can do about it.

monOrchid is a place of hope.

It’s a studio complex. It’s two galleries. It’s a venue. It’s home to more than a dozen creative force businesses and is the platform for the symbiotic relationship of those businesses.

By being adaptable and flexible it provides an extraordinary opportunity for growth and advancement by consolidating experience with experiments and thus – often – art.

This building that is monOrchid is much like downtown Phoenix in many ways. Not that many years ago it was a broken and under-utilized place – a warehouse for forgotten things. It was inefficient and expensive to refit but its history and authenticity were still mostly intact, and that authenticity was an absolutely essential component for it – and its neighborhood’s – revival.

The investment was worth it.

Today we gather here and celebrate the many future possibilities that are Phoenix.

But this great view is also the place of a precipice. As we evaluate and decide who we will be as a more mature city we must be cognizant of our path. There is so much potential here – perhaps more here now in Phoenix than in any other major city in the country – and that is because we have been, in the past, so bad at being a city.

We must do better.

We must plan for the long term. And that means we must be willing to be choosey.

We should be careful to not accidentally damage our best assets, like our great arts districts, but we must also find ways to encourage more density.

We should build our great parks but we must also find ways to facilitate those who would come.

There are incredibly difficult problems that we will face and there must be great discourse and conversation. But the conversations must begin in earnest now.

I’m so happy to see you here and engaged, and I hope some of those conversations will take place here tonight. Thank you for coming.

Photos courtesy of Wayne Rainey. Featured image by Douglas Proce.