Daily Archives: November 2, 2008

Phoenix’s 1922 Memorial Hall renovated and reopened

[Source: Nicole McGregor, 12 News Today] — An historic part of Phoenix opens to the public this week.  Memorial Hall was part of the Phoenix Indian School when it began in 1922. Closed in the early 90’s, it sat in disarray, until now.  The $5 million project was not a small undertaking; most of the funding came from bonds passed in 2001 and 2006. The idea was to renovate it, not re-do it.  The goal was to retain much of the integrity of the building.  The original wood floors remain and so do about 40 percent of the ceiling tiles.  Even the same bricks can be seen on the outside where students once carved their names.

Back in the 20’s the Memorial Hall was used for graduation, recitals and assemblies for the school. Regional Park Manager Dorothy Blakely says it is just one of three buildings which still stand at Steele Indian School Park.  The other two, the dining hall and elementary/band building will also be renovated, but only on the outside.  Memorial Hall will be available for rent and used for a musical venue when opportunities arise.   Call 602-534-8198 if you’re interested.  The grand opening is this week.  It’s open for public tours Wednesday, October 29 starting at 6:30 p.m.   (Click here for video.)

[Source: Betty Reid, Arizona Republic] — About 200 people attended the grand opening of the restored Memorial Hall at Steele Indian School Park in central Phoenix on Wednesday night.   It cost nearly $5 million and took two years to restore the building.  The auditorium, which seats 350, is part of the old Phoenix Indian School property.   It was built in 1922 and named to honor those who served during World War I.

CenPhoTV for the week of 11/2/2008

Downtown Phoenix news and events are featured on a new video podcast called CenPhoTV, hosted by Jacqui Johnson and Dave Brookhouser.  The most current edition is above; to view past editions on YouTube, click here. For more information, visit their website.

Mapping out downtown Phoenix’s First Fridays artwalk

First Fridays

Taking in Phoenix's First Friday. Photo source: Arizona Republic.

[Source: Richard Ruelas, Arizona Republic] — First Fridays has been a tradition for more than 14 years in downtown Phoenix, growing into an event that sprawls across miles of downtown Phoenix and draws more than 10,000 people each month.   It can seem daunting for newcomers or those who haven’t been in a while.  It would be impossible to see every gallery or browse every booth in one night, especially those isolated in outlying areas.  For those, it’s probably best to check ahead of time to see if they are holding a show that might draw your interest, or whether they’re even open that night.

A lot of the action is centered around three main areas.  And a free city shuttle can get you to the outlying galleries.  It’s best to figure out what type of experience you’re looking for, then head to the spot that can give it to you.  [Click here for interactive map.]

Roosevelt Row.  The epicenter of First Fridays, the Roosevelt area has high-end galleries.  But it might be marked more for the row of vendors set up on Garfield Street between Fourth and Sixth streets, and along Fifth Street between Garfield and McKinley streets.  There, you can buy $5 sunglasses, $2 strings of beads, handmade necklaces, and small paintings.  “In the beginning (of the night), it’s families, high-school and college kids,” said Celia Chavarin, 34, who was selling homemade handbags at a recent First Fridays evening.

As the night goes on, the people become a little bit more colorful, a little more artistic.  “That’s a good way to put it,” Chavarin said.  She gestured toward her mother, Lupe, who makes the handbags.  “It was her first time, so it was a big of a shock.”  This is an area where families can wander with strollers.  They can catch a bit of art, browse affordable vendors and feel that they’ve been out to First Fridays.

Grand Avenue.  Fewer people, no vendors, and a little more space between galleries, Grand Avenue allows more time to concentrate on the art hanging on the walls, not the people walking up and down the street.  Gallery owners on the diagonal street call themselves the true artistic home of First Fridays.  “Here, people are looking at the art,” said Steve Gomph, owner of gallery Deus Ex Machina.  “There (Roosevelt Row), people are mainly there for the street experience.”

There is street parking along Grand Avenue.  And although there are a lot of galleries, they are a bit spread out. Expect to walk a block or two between stops.

Melrose.  This is the least concentrated of the First Fridays “areas” and the one with the fewest galleries.  But the night provides an opportunity to explore the funky shops and antique stores of this burgeoning corner of the city around Seventh Avenue and Indian School Road.  “I drive through it all the time, but I’m always headed somewhere else,” said Beth Brezinsci, 37, of Scottsdale, sitting at Copper Star Coffee, at Seventh Avenue and Heatherbrae Drive.  “This is a good opportunity to explore.”  

A dog-washing shop has animals out for adoption.  Vendors are set up in a parking lot outside the coffee shop and Revolver Records, at Seventh Avenue north of Indian School Road.  Some antique furniture stores stay open late.