Piece of Craft: A Boutique MADE for Arizona Artists
If you’ve ever wandered around downtown Phoenix near 5th and Roosevelt Streets, then odds are you know about MADE, a locally owned art boutique featuring some of Arizona’s best artists and crafters. I had the opportunity to interview Cindy Dach, a bookseller, artist, community activist, and co-owner of MADE to uncover the ins and outs of this one-of-a-kind shop.
How did MADE begin?
In 2005, a tenant left the space in terrible condition. We had to put a lot of work into it just to make it useable. We didn’t have the heart to put money back into the space and then rent it out again. By 2005, eye lounge was a successful model and we had also started 515 Arts and the Kitchenette space. There were galleries popping up in our area, but there weren’t spaces for the crafters, small works of art or workshops. I also work at Changing Hands Bookstore, so I have a retail background. We thought this would be a great addition to the Roosevelt Row area.
Was the goal of MADE always to sell handmade items by local artists or was there some other beginning goal in mind?
Handmade functional art was always the goal of MADE. We also wanted to do and host crafting and small business workshops. We see MADE as a community gathering space where like-minded people can engage in a conversation. We hope that a walk through MADE will serve as inspiration for someone in need. We were the first business in the area with regular hours, so we instantly became an information center for downtown. At this time, we provide opportunity for over 150 artists to exhibit and sell their wares.
What types of one-of-a-kind items do you sell and what types of artists do you feature?
We feature a lot of jewelry, ceramics, woodwork and highly curated books. We believe that books stimulate the mind. Our items have to be well-made. We look to work with artists who are in it for the long haul. We want everything to be visually interesting and functional. We want to be a tipping point for another great idea. What we look for is often a matter of taste mixed with what we know will sell. Being a small space (700 square feet) we have to very mindful of how quickly an item turns and the space allotted for it. We’re always open to new artists and new items.
If an artist wanted to get some of their art featured in MADE what would they need to do?
The best thing to do is send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with images of the work, price point and information. We take everything in on consignment and pay 50% back to the artist. If the work looks like it’s a good fit for MADE, then we’ll set up a time to meet to see the work in person.
What other community building initiatives, besides selling local art, is MADE involved in (events and things of this nature for the Phoenix area)?
Oh, we go to lots of community meetings and participate in numerous events. Being surrounded by so many dirt lots, we are in constant talks with the city of Phoenix in regards to their development plans. We work very closely with the merchants association of Roosevelt Row, with a focus on marketing our area. We also partner with a lot of non-profits. Since we opened our doors, we host an annual holiday ornament sale. Students of Phoenix Union School District make holiday ornaments and we sell them every year. All the sales go back to the students. Last year, they used their funds to frame their work for another exhibition. Phoenix Union is one of the poorest districts in the country. We were co-sponsors of a great Pie-Social last November and have already started working on Pie Social 2012. We participate in First and Third Fridays, Art Detour and the PAPA parade.
What do you think is in the future for MADE?
We have multiple projects on the horizon. MADE is currently expanding its book selection. We’ve heard from our downtown community about their need for books. We’ll feature some great literary fiction books, old and new. We’ll also feature funny books, smart non-fiction and crafting books. We’re continually expanding our workshop series and we’re always looking for new instructors. We’re continuing to find new and evolving ways to engage our community and serve as a gathering place for the numerous and diverse people that are continuing to make downtown Phoenix their home.
[Source: Georgann Yara, Special for The Republic] — When Cindy Dach and her husband, Greg Esser, bought a vintage cottage south of Roosevelt Street and west of Seventh Street in 2001, the area was sketchy, especially after sunset, Dach said. At the time, Dach joked that when she saw a car slow she would hurry inside. Five years later, a slowing car means a real-estate agent or prospective homebuyer is inspecting properties. “Now it’s someone looking for one of our hidden bars,” Dach said. “It’s funny how that metaphor of cars slowing down shows how the neighborhood is changing.”
That vintage cottage houses her shop, Made Art Boutique, part of a revitalization of funky galleries, eclectic boutiques, and bars in the heart of Phoenix’s hipster haven. That was not the vibe when Dach opened Made Art in March 2005. At first, the boutique opened for limited hours and focused around events and occasionally offered crafting workshops. By that November, Dach was able to expand hours. The business was running at a loss at first, but it stabilized in 2007.
Owning the building gave Dach the flexibility to take risks. “It was a huge advantage,” she said. “We knew the rent wouldn’t go up when the neighborhood changes, and we felt we could manage it within the community. We did know we were ahead of our time.” [Note: Read the full article at Couple invest in downtown Phoenix neighborhood, arts boutique.]
[Source: Robrt L. Pela, Phoenix New Times] — In Jason Hill’s Phoenix, the sun never sets. His paintings of the city — a vibrant Valley National Bank framed by a glowing sky; a dazzling Financial Center with a jet jauntily speeding past — are thousand-watt, high-color beacons that send the same, simple, not-so-subliminal message: Phoenix is cool. Come see for yourself.
Laura Spalding’s paintings are more roundabout celebrations of our town. Onto old Arizona license plates and tin trays, she paints skies cluttered with telephone poles and electrical wires. Her cityscapes are testimonies to how amazing it is that Phoenix sprang up in the desert in the first place; homages to how it survived to become a prosperous, distinctive destination.
Georganne Bryant’s message is less subtle. Onto black, cotton T-shirts that she sells at her midtown boutique, she has had a local T-shirt artist silk-screen this legend: Love Phoenix or Leave Phoenix.
Something has shifted. Hill and Spalding and Bryant and dozens of others like them are having a public love affair with Phoenix. They’re opening cafes and launching Web sites and creating art that speaks of their pride in a city that most of us have gotten pretty good at mocking. Many of these folks would have us believe — and, perhaps, want to believe themselves — that we, the country’s fifth-largest city, have finally arrived. That Phoenix has at last, after decades of false starts and near misses, awakened from a slumber that lasted way too long. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]