[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.]
[Source: Arizona Republic] — Georganne Bryant, owner of Phoenix clothing boutique Frances, is making news with her new “Love Phoenix or Leave Phoenix” bumper sticker. [The Republic] invited her to explain why she created it.
“Having a business at one of the busiest intersections in Phoenix and on the light-rail construction path, I have witnessed many positive changes during the ongoing revitalization of Central Avenue and downtown Phoenix since opening Frances in 2006. But our location has also placed us in the eye of the storm as far as complaining and negative energy attached to the light-rail project. My intention in creating the bumper sticker was not to be confrontational, but to get people’s attention.
If it said “I Love Phoenix” or some other mushy sentiment, it would not have attracted the notice and reaction it has. The bumper sticker is a call to residents to look past the short-term pain and embrace the many good things that are happening in and around the core of the city.” [Note: To read the full commentary, click here.]
[Source: Dolores Tropiano, Arizona Republic] — Phoenix is bustling with new and unusual boutiques and businesses. There’s only one problem — finding them. Now, nearly 70 independently owned stores and restaurants in central Phoenix and the downtown area have banded together to create a map of their cool, hip, and urban businesses. The fold-up guide, coined “Small Wonders,” has been distributed to 25,000 people, with 50,000 guides still available at any of the local shops, a list of which can be located here. The map is not necessarily a new concept, but it is a fresh idea for Phoenix. “A lot of big cities have pocket guides of unique businesses,” said Georganne Bryant, owner of Frances, a clothing, gift, and accessories shop highlighted in “Small Wonders.”
The map features photos and location information for all of the shops and restaurants. There are no service companies advertised. A lot of the stores are clustered along Seventh Avenue, Seventh Street, or along or near Camelback Road. But the map features shops and restaurants from Buckeye Road to Missouri Avenue. Many of the shops and restaurants are award-winning Valley favorites and some are new on the scene. Most are located in funky, old bungalows and buildings. “This is not mall shopping,” said Bryant, whose shop features letter presses, cards, vintage clothing, and jewelry, and custom journals. “These are unique places that people want. They don’t come to Phoenix to go to Applebee’s or a mall. People want to see what creative, different stores are around.”