[Source: Sadie Jo Smokey, Arizona Republic] — Phoenix officials are planning a move that will mean big changes to the look and feel of downtown’s monthly First Friday arts events. The gatherings originated in galleries with new exhibitions, music, wine and finger food. But, along revitalized Roosevelt Street, they spill out onto sidewalks and empty lots where vendors sell everything from oil paintings and pencil drawings to T-shirts and beaded necklaces. Ordinances make those sidewalk sales illegal, city officials say. And after complaints from some artists and gallery owners, the city will begin cracking down on the sidewalk sales. On Friday and again in April, the city will issue warnings. But, in May, inspectors will begin issuing citations, with fines ranging from $100 to $2,500.
Gina Suarez says the vendors add to the atmosphere. Suarez owns the Paisley Violin, a cafe and art space that once operated at Second and Roosevelt streets but is now at 11th and Grand avenues. Suarez said they don’t have vendors on Grand Avenue. “I think it’s great that the vendors are out there,” Suarez said. “It draws traffic and makes (Phoenix’s First Fridays) different than Scottsdale’s and Tempe’s art walks.” [Note: To read the full article, click here.]