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June 2013 Meeting Agenda

DVCblocksOur June 8, 2013, meeting is coming up very soon! We meet from 9:30am to 11:30am at the Roosevelt Commons Clubhouse, 825 N 6th Avenue in downtown Phoenix.

On our agenda: 

I. Call to Order and Introductions

II. Consent Agenda

  • Treasurer’s Report – Louisa Stark
  • Approval of Minutes from 11 May 2013 will be in July

III. Community Updates / Guest Speakers

  • Vista College Prep (new charter school) – Julia Meyerson

IV. Updates on DVC Action Items 2013 as needed

V. Old Business

  • Hance Park updates – Louise Roman / Tim Sprague / Edward Jensen

VI. New Business

  • Downtown YMCA housing news – Louisa Stark
  • PO Box arrangement at the Downtown Post Office – Tim Eigo and officers
  • Downtown Phoenix Inc update – Tim Eigo
  • Greening Lower Grand Avenue award – Beatrice Moore
  • DVC 10th Anniversary Planning Committee – Officers
  • ASU College of Law building architect selection – Louise Roman

VII. Open Floor 2 minutes each, please!

VIII. Adjournment – A meeting of the Officers may follow.


Quebedeax Chevrolet/Paper Heart on Grand Ave is for Sale

[Source: pixelpixie,]

Somebody PLEEEEASE give the Paper Heart / Quebedeaux Chevrolet another life!

She is up for sale again. MLS listing here:

Designed by the “Father of the Outdoor Shopping Mall” Victor Gruen with local supervising Architect Ralph Haver. This was originally a car showroom with floor to ceiling glass and is now boarded up in the heart of the Grand Avenue arts district. Similar to the Toy Box on Indian School Road if you’re familiar with that vintage showroom.




Grand Ave Merchants Association Call for Agenda Items

[Source: Grand Avenue Merchants Association]

January Meeting

The Grand Avenue Merchants’ Association (GAMA) is soliciting items for the Wednesday, January 12th agenda.  The meeting will take place at the Moderncat Studio at 1301 Grand (enter from the entrance on McKinley). Meeting items are welcome from any GAMA member. Everyone is welcome to attend.

If you are not a member of GAMA but have an item that you think would be of interest to the group, they would like to hear from you as well. Please send agenda items to Beatrice Moore at by Tuesday, Jan 11.

GAMA meetings are the second Wednesday of each month at 5:30 pm. If you are not personally able to attend, perhaps you can send a representative from your business/building.

New Steering Committee Members Needed

GAMA is looking for new Steering Committee members. If you have an interest in finding out more, please send an email.

About GAMA

The purpose of the Grand Avenue Merchants’ Association is to actively and collectively promote a distinct, pedestrian-friendly arts and retail district along the Lower Grand Avenue Corridor.  Also, to coordinate efforts that encourage both existing and new independent, locally-owned businesses while preserving our corridor’s unique, historic and diverse character.

Paisley Violin Town has Spots for Rent on Downtown Phoenix’s Grand Ave

[Source: Jackalope Ranch, Phoenix New Times]

For Rent: Paisley Violin Town Spots

Photo courtesy of Liliana Gomez (via Phoenix New Times)

Have you resolved to get yourself some space in 2011? Take note: Paisley Violin Town is looking for renters.

Two little spots behind the coffee house/cafe/art gallery on Grand Avenue are available immediately, and open for everything and anything from one-on-one flamenco lessons to a non-profit’s HQ to a craft shop, according to the leasors.

Current tenants include: BeHeaded Salon (hair); Wicked Wear (custom-made clothing and alterations); Liliana Gomez’s Dragonfly Boutique (local designer clothing); Greg Robinson’s Lazy Lab Art Studio and Hugo Medina’s gallery and artist space.

The space is 275 sq feet and rent is $500 per month. Each cottage has original hard wood flooring and a bathroom. Wireless access and water is included. 6-month lease agreement at least. No deposit is required.

For more details contact Gina at 602-254-7843.

Downtown Phoenix business is purr-fect

[Source: Emily Gersema, The Arizona Republic]

Dave Seibert/The Arizona Repubic

Non-toxic toys, scratchers and climbing trees for cats are Kate Benjamin’s business – and now that sales from her Moderncat Studio on Grand Avenue and two Internet sites are soaring, she is directing a percentage of sales to local charities that help stray, feral or abandoned cats.

Benjamin recently started “Cat Charity of the Month,” in which a charity is named every month to receive 5 percent of her sales.

Her first Valley charities of choice were Altered Tails, Foothills Animal Rescue, the Foundation for Homeless Cats and the Arizona State University group, Mild Cats at ASU.

In addition, Benjamin launched a holiday give-a-thon, which will end before Christmas Day. Moderncat Web users can sign up to win a prize from one of her 21 sponsors.

Every sponsor provides two of each prize, so winners can keep one prize and donate the second to a charity.

“I love to give stuff away,” Benjamin said.

Within 18 months of opening Moderncat, Benjamin’s business is becoming popular. The blog on her website,, has 14,000 subscribers, and she said she draws 200,000 views per month.

“The studio business has just blown up,” Benjamin said. Internet “traffic has just been through the roof.”

Benjamin, 39, appears to have the gene for entrepreneurship. She was raised in Plattsburgh, N.Y., where her father was a restaurateur and her mother sold handmade crafts and gifts.

From them, she learned how to sew and develop product ideas.

“Selling Girl Scout cookies, it started from there,” she said. “I was always selling things.”

By age 18, Benjamin had a T-shirt design business, and sold jewelry and hair scrunchies at a booth in the Ithaca, N.Y., farmers market.

She went to Cornell University and graduated with a degree in design and environmental analysis with a focus on interior design. She was drawn to Phoenix because she wanted to work for a resort and, of course, for the weather.

After working for Valley resorts and for a website that sold children’s toys, Benjamin was inspired to launch her a toy business for cats.

Her nine felines – Ando, Dazzler, Flora, Mackenzie, McKinley, Ratso, Sherman, Simba and Theo – influence her craft.

Benjamin has designed and sells popular toys such as “Atomic Flyers” – merino-wool felt toys cut in shapes like snowflakes and moons that zoom and spin across hard floors.

Her Modkickers, also known as “Bunny Kickers,” are a huge hit with the cat community. They’re pillows and tubes of fabric stuffed with a little catnip – a toy that a cat can grip and kick with its hind legs.

She also sells cat trees and scratchers that are covered with carpet tiles that have no formaldehyde.

“This is all about cats,” Benjamin said.

Best of Downtown Phoenix

This week, the Phoenix New Times came out with their annual Best of Phoenix 2010 list.  Among the 583 winners, there were several in and around downtown Phoenix.

Here’s a list:

People & Places

La Vida

Shopping & Services

Food & Drink

Bars & Clubs

Hero Worship

Be sure to also check out the ‘Hero’s and Villains‘ slideshow, features some of downtown’s best—and worst—personalities!

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Grand Avenue Festival brings funky fashions to downtown Phoenix

[Source: Emily Gersema, Arizona Republic (sidebar)]

A series of fashion shows is scheduled for the festival on Saturday, in addition to the live music and tours of revitalized buildings.

Parking is free along Grand Avenue for the festival and in the lot behind Bragg’s Pie Factory.

  • 2 p.m-6 p.m. Shop Devious Beauty Lounge & Boutique, 1229 W. Grand Ave. “Devious Indie Fashion Experience & Fashion in Motion” features designer items from aprons to dog clothes with accessories by Devious Wigs & Things.
  • 5 p.m. Soul Invictus Theater, 1022 W. Grand Ave. “It’s All About U” by Gallery Marsiglia, a jewelry and fashion accessories show, shows original jewelry in sterling silver in various styles.
  • 5 p.m. Bragg’s Pie Factory, 1301 W. Grand Ave. Models will march in the “Untrashed Recycled Rubbish Fashion Show” by Babsomatic to show clothes made of recycled materials and thrift-store finds. Garments will then be shown at the “Trashy Sculpture Show for two months. Trash can-drumming musicians and an orchestra of typewriters are the accompanists.
  • 7 p.m. Bragg’s Pie Factory. Fashion by the Dragonfly Boutique, Butter Toast Boutique and others will be in the “Local Boutiques Fashion Show,” with music by DJ Kris the Fist.
  • 9 p.m. Bragg’s Pie Factory. Local designers will stomp the runway in designs available at Wicked Wear by Cia Underwood, Arte Puro and Wiskc by Kelly Calabrese, MLE Jean by Emily Blanche, and Sticker Club Girl by Lisa Michelle Jacobs. Music by DJ Jared Allen.

More information:

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Grand Avenue Festival promises edgy fun in downtown Phoenix

[Source: Emily Gersema, Arizona Republic]

Photo credit: Diana Payan/The Arizona Republic

Alexis Ariana Hermosillo, 20, of El Mirage, is dressed in a pleated skirt of newspaper with a sweetheart top made of packaging paper. She crinkles whenever she takes a step, and as she tugs to pull the back together over her shirt, she asks her professor, “What am I going to do about the back?”

“Maybe it needs a bustle,” muses Melinda Bergman, an ASU West art faculty associate and artist with a studio in Citywide Studios, 701 N. 15th Ave. near Pierce Street, west of Grand Avenue.

Hermosillo, a senior at the Arizona State University West campus in Glendale, is one of Bergman’s 19 students who are turning trash into edgy fashion for the second annual Grand Avenue Festival on Saturday.

They, or friends who volunteer to model their trashy clothes, will take the runway for the “Untrashed Recycled Rubbish Fashion Show.”

The show is just one element of the all-day festival that celebrates artwork, music and businesses along Phoenix’s former diagonal streetcar route from Seventh Avenue and Van Buren Street to Linden Street and Laurel Avenue. The festivities kick off at 8 a.m. with a tour of old buildings made new by innovative developers. Tour tickets are $10 per person, and other tours are at 9 and 10 a.m.

Live music will kick off at 10 a.m. with the band Frequent Kings at the Paisley Violin Cafe, 1030 W. Grand Ave.

Kate Benjamin, a member of the Grand Avenue Merchants Association that hosts the festival, said business owners and artists started the festival last year to draw more people to the area, which is west of the more heavily frequented businesses that benefit from the light-rail ridership along Central Avenue.

Grand Avenue is used by many drivers to quickly escape rush-hour traffic downtown and head for the suburbs in the northwest.

“Our challenge with Grand Avenue is that’s such a thoroughfare,” said Benjamin, whose cat designer products shop, Moderncat, is one of the half-dozen studios housed in the Bragg’s Pie Factory, 1301 W. Grand Ave., near McKinley Street and 13th Avenue.

Grand Avenue has many surprises., 1229 W. Grand Ave., houses resale beauty items, including wigs, and a small-business center for computer repair. Soul Invictus Gallery & Cabaret, 1022 W. Grand Ave., is a combination theater and gallery.

The Trunk Space, 1506 W. Grand Ave., is full of art and handmade gifts. It also hosts performances.

The art studios and galleries along the avenue will be open to visitors throughout the festival.

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Get your Tickets for Grand Ave’s ReDapt Tour in Downtown Phoenix

The 2nd Annual Grand Avenue Festival will be held this Saturday, September 25, 2010! For those who missed last year’s events, it is a day full of art, music, fashion, and more that celebrates the vibrant culture of the Lower Grand Avenue arts & small business district.

Re-Dapt Tour

A central part of the Festival are the morning’s Adaptive Reuse,  aka Re-Dapt Tours. These special walking tours highlight some of the most interesting adaptive re-use projects on lower Grand Avenue.

Over the last 16 years new uses have been popping up in the Lower Grand Avenue district (from Van Buren to the 1-10 Freeway overpass) with many buildings reverting from industrial uses back to the original small retail and office uses that once lined this important connector to Wickenburg, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and points west. An influential factor in this renaissance has been the many innovative commercial adaptive re-use projects in the neighborhood: new owners have preserved parts of the existing vintage structures while making modern conversions that allow for more practicality in today’s world, including a myriad of hybrid uses.

Adaptive re-use of commercial buildings in older commercial districts is an important factor in creating true neighborhood sustainability. Many small, entrepreneurial businesses are attracted to the character these older structures lend to a neighborhood – and rents are usually more affordable than brand new construction can offer. The Re-Dapt Tours during the Grand Avenue Festival focus on celebrating the unique history of Grand Avenue, as well as the wonderful adaptive re-use projects in the neighborhood.

This year the Re-Dapt Tours will include La Luz Del Mundo Church, the Gonzalez Heating and Cooling buildings, The Oasis Motel and future home of The Grand Oasis multi-use project, the Rodriguez Boxing Gym corner, and the Grandevelt Complex, home to Kooky Krafts Shop, The Bikini Lounge, Sweets & Beats, and The Trunk Space.  Click ‘more’ below for  descriptions of these buildings.

Each tour is led by an expert Phoenix historian who will reveal the past uses of these unique buildings and the history of how Grand Avenue developed into a major transportation corridor to points west.

Tours will begin at 8:00 am, 9:00 am, and 10:00 am and last approximately two hours. Tours will start at the Rodriguez Boxing Gym at the corner of Roosevelt and 15th Ave. (map) All tours will include the same five buildings.

Tickets are $10 per person and can be purchased in advance at Sapna Cafe, Paisley Violin Cafe, Kooky Krafts Shop, and Sweets & Beats, or online by clicking HERE. Tickets can also be purchased the morning of the festival starting at 7:30 am at Kooky Krafts Shop, 1500 W Grand Ave.

2010 Re-Dapt Tour Stops

Read the rest of this entry

Turn your Trash into Treasures

[Source: Grand Avenue Merchants Association]

As a fundraiser for the Grand Avenue Merchants’ Association (GAMA), the Bragg’s Pie Factory, 1301 Grand Avenue (map), will host the 2nd Annual Trashy Sculpture Show on Saturday, September 25 as part of the quirky 2nd Annual Grand Avenue Festival.  The Trashy Sculpture Show will be one of many events taking place during the all day event along the Lower Grand Avenue Corridor.

Source: Grand Avenue Merchants Association

All work for the exhibit must be made primarily out of trash or recycled materials, with a limit of 3 pieces per contributor and an entry fee of $ 10 per piece.  Works can be for sale (or not).  The entry fees will go directly to GAMA, and if work is sold, 70% of the proceeds will go to the artist with 30% donated to GAMA.  Children’s projects are welcome; entry fees will be waived for school groups.

The work should reflect a person’s ability to go out in the world in search of trash and discarded materials, fashioning discards into unique and interesting sculpture.  Creative, funky, fun, whimsical and unique are encouraged. The purpose of the show is to highlight the ingenuity and creativity used in finding and adapting trashy, throw-away materials into one-of-a-kind hand crafted sculptures.  Work that aspires to be “fine art” or work that is mass produced for sale elsewhere is discouraged.

The exhibit will be on display at the Pie Factory for the festival as well as during October and November for the First Fridays and 3rd Fridays of the month.  Work must be delivered to the site September 20 from noon to 4 pm. All work that meets the above criteria will be exhibited.  For more information contact Beatrice Moore at 602.391.4016.

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