Blog Archives

The Holiness Project comes to the Ice House

The Holiness Project at the Ice House 05-03-14

Multimedia performance event The Holiness arrives at The Ice House on May 3, 2014.

The Holiness Project will be presented at The Icehouse Phoenix located at 429 W Jackson St., Phoenix, AZ, 85003 on Saturday, May 3rd from 7:00 to 9:30pm with reception immediately following. Featuring performances from local artists Taran Emmert, Patrick Michael Finn, Jake Friedman and Four Chambers Press, Heather Lee Harper, Keith Kelly, Jeanette LeBlanc, Akiva Yael, Ashley Oakley, John Elliott Oyzon, Erin Schaad, Chris Danowski, Melissa Tramuta, Jane Ysadora, and Cassandra Wallick; with visual art from Joshua T. Ruth, Jillian Sinclair, Chanelle Sinclair, and Indiana Nelson. Cuisine by 24 Carrots.

The Holiness Project is a multimedia performance event and art show exploring the intersection of the sacred and the mundane. What does holiness mean on the most personal level? What happens when the ordinary objects of our bodies, lives, minds and hearts cross paths with something greater? The Holiness Project explores these questions in an immersive/interactive evening of film, dance, performance art, poetry, music, and kirtan.

Doors at 6:30. Performance promptly at 7:00pm. Admission is $11, no one turned away. For more information, contact Jane Ysadora at jane.ysadora@gmail.com.

You can follow the Project’s event and even Join on Facebook. And yes, there’s even an informative website!

Help Save the Icehouse in Downtown Phoenix

In December, we shared word that the Icehouse, a longtime downtown art gallery and performance space, is slated to close at the end of 2001.

This week, however, the New Times indicates that there may still be a chance to save it, with OUR help.

[Source: Niki D’Andrea, Jackalope Ranch]

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Riette Pretorius. A corporate event, as seen inside the Icehouse.

Can ceaseless Facebook posts save the Icehouse? In December, we reported that the Icehouse, a performance space and art gallery in downtown Phoenix, is slated to close at the end of the year. Now, the financially ailing venue is trying to drum up revenue by blasting Facebook friends with posts about renting the Icehouse for various events.

Last week, the Facebook page for Icehouse Phoenix was filled with posts like, “Rarely seen Recording Studio! Small 2nd-floor room ready for recording equipment. Ideal for commercial or musical use,” and “Tea Room-Available for small dinners or luncheons, art installations, or presentations.”

We tracked down Peter Conley, the fellow responsible for the Icehouse Phoenix Facebook page, who explained why he’s touting Icehouse rentals.

​”If we can raise enough funds by the end of this year, the Icehouse will stay open,” he says. “We’re in the early stages of really pumping it, and I’m almost 50, so I’m not as savvy as I should be regarding social media and Twitter and Facebook. We have some younger volunteers who are helping with that.”

But Conley’s got the pitch down pat: “We have three main rooms and additional event areas. We’ve had so many events here. Moby and The Chemical Brothers played there, we had an event for peace there, and so many wonderful weddings. To lose the Icehouse would really be losing something special.”

Conley says the space is open to all types of rentals, including corporate events, and that social media has become another way to advertise the space’s availability. “We were probably too fluid and grass roots in the past,” Conley says. “And our pricing is probably coming down a bit. But I tell you, everybody who comes here is just awestruck by [the Icehouse].”

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Korean artist Sung Hun Lee, who held a show at the Icehouse. Courtesy of Peter Conley and the Icehouse

Downtown Phoenix’s Icehouse to close at end of 2011

[Source: New Times]

Source: New Times

New Times has confirmed that the Icehouse, the longtime downtown art gallery and performance space, is planning to close at the end of 2011.

“We are being taxed out by the county,” says Icehouse owner Helen Hestenes. “We are one of the largest alternative arts projects in the U.S., but Phoenix has been crazy.”

In 1990, Hestenes and her at-the-time husband David Therrien converted the circa 1910 building — which originally housed operations for Constable Ice Storage — into an edgy contemporary art space that has helped launch the careers of countless artists, such as Angela Ellsworth and the late Rose Johnson.  However, due to its relative off-the-beaten-path location at 429 West Jackson Street, the 20-year-old venue has struggled to survive for the past decade.

It wasn’t always that way, especially when the space was located in the creative epicenter of the downtown arts scene in the early 1990s. But following the displacement of many DIY spaces and artists due to the construction of US Airways Center (the downtown sports venue, formerly known as America West Arena, opened in 1992) as well as current First Friday artgoers’ concentration on Roosevelt Street and Grand Avenue, the Icehouse, despite its longevity and quality of exhibitions, has, in some ways, become a forgotten venue.

Future exhibits planned for the space include a solo show by photographerJoe Jankovsky in January and a 20-year retrospective during March’s Art Detour.

In case you missed it: Downtown Voices Visioning Conference welcome address

Below is the transcript of Steve Weiss’ welcome address at the opening of the Downtown Voices Coalition’s Visioning Conference on January 15, 2010 at the Matador Mexican Restaurant.

Good evening and welcome to the pre-event for tomorrow’s Downtown Voices Coalition Visioning Conference.

You know, Downtown Voices was formed in a place just like this.  As a matter of fact, if the Matador bar wanted to, they could create a new drink called the DVC.  All you need is a shot of good tequila and a signature on an article of incorporation!

What some may not realize is that Downtown Voices Coalition was the culmination of a chain of events that began with a move to bring a pro football stadium to downtown.  As the art folks and small business owners got wind of the plan, they felt their work to make a new and interesting arts district was going to suffer with a giant stadium plunked in its center.  Though the protests didn’t stop the demolition and razing of the Evans Churchill neighborhood by speculators and the City, it did manage to shine a light on the project, and successfully persuade the city officials to put the idea aside.

For the first time, artists and small business folks started talking to each other.  Then, the Jerde Project, a big box mall development, was floated as another direction for downtown.  Ideas were being discussed for another ASU campus, and suddenly the University began as a player in the fate of the downtown community.  The fledgling organization known as D-PAC, the Downtown Phoenix Arts Coalition, felt now was the time to get the other voices heard, ones that didn’t have political power or an outstretched hand looking for tax incentives and variances.

The result was an event singular in the City’s history: A one-day facilitated discussion at the Icehouse of over 80 downtown stakeholders, to determine what WE as a group wanted for the future of downtown Phoenix.  The resulting report created from the discussion was titled Downtown Voices: Creating a Sustainable Downtown.” It was not only presented to the City of Phoenix, but also found its way into many of the aspects of the newly created Downtown Strategic Plan.

On that day, when we all met and talked, new relationships were formed.

Artists, business owners, developers and, yes, even city officials began to realize that the ultimate goal of the downtown stakeholders were actually very similar.

However, as the dust began to settle from the good work done, development projects in once untouched and unwanted areas began to rise.  We as stakeholders learned how zoning by variance and self-imposed hardships could dramatically change the development rulebook.

A key group of stakeholders, coming from different backgrounds yet tied together with similar concerns, realized it would be beneficial to speak with one voice, the voice of what became the Downtown Voices Coalition.  We met with a lawyer at the old Ramada Inn downtown bar, and with a toast, began our first mission and organization.

Negotiating a better project for The Summit at Copper Square became our first test, and as we created our organization’s bylaws and elected officers, we found direction from that initial Downtown Voices document.

It was a boom time, and it seemed many times we were playing Whack-A-Mole, that great carnival game where hitting one pop-up mole only made another rise.  We found ourselves as a group both welcomed and disparaged.  The tactics of “Agitate, Negotiate and, when all else fails, Litigate” brought us through a series of events with many successes and some sad losses.

A Tibetan Buddhist Lama, whom when asked at a conference the definition Buddhism, replied “Divine Common Sense.”

It is regular old common sense that drives our group, and something else just as tangible.  Dr. Howard Cutler has worked with His Holiness the Dalai Lama to write three books, The Art of Happiness, The Art of Happiness at Work, and The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World. In each book, the over-arching view expressed that people as a common goal ultimately desire happiness above all else.

As I’ve worked with this group of fellow DVC members, I’ve come to realize that each member seeks the same thing: Happiness in their lives and in their community.  There isn’t one member of DVC who wouldn’t want happiness above all other things.  The desire is a better place to live, a better place to create sustainable businesses, and a genuine dedication to staying here and making it a great city for all of us.

An example of how different this sentiment can be expressed was in one particular issue, when a proposed out of scale development’s lawyer declared in front of City Council that he’d “never dealt with people who didn’t want to raise their property values.”

The truth is, we represent people who aren’t moving toward the next buck or the next city, to which it’s more important to raise living values than financial values.

Since 2004, new blood with new ideas have entered the downtown picture.  Individuals are drawn to the small-town feel of the 5th Largest City in the Nation, great small businesses have enhanced neighborhoods, partners have been found in thoughtful development, and the ASU Downtown campus is showing signs of like-minded goals for that sustainable, cool, and enhanced downtown where we all will happily live, work, and recreate.

In these circumstances of a down-turned economy, it seems appropriate to take a breath, reflect a bit on the past, but, most important, look forward.

  • What is the City that we hope for?
  • What have we achieved and what can we improve?
  • How can we get more voices to speak as Downtown Voices so that together we can create that happiness we all desire?

These are tomorrow’s questions, and the facilitated discussion we begin at 10 am at the A.E. England building at OUR Downtown Civic Space will help to provide some answers.

Tonight we reflect, remember old battles, good friends, vocal and silent partners.  Tomorrow we begin anew and renewed, with new ideas and voices, to create a better Phoenix.

I toast the future.  To the city of Phoenix!

Barter for art at Art4Barter, Icehouse, downtown Phoenix, July 11

377[Source: Roosevelt Row CDC] — On Saturday, July 11, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., Art4Barter will be coming to the White Column Room at the Icehouse, 429 W. Jackson St. (historic Warehouse District).  This traveling project allows artists to trade their art for goods and services rather than money.  The exact service or good that the artist requires will be labeled next to their art.

The curator, Antonio Puri, is offering to barter a work of art with institutions that will host the exhibition.  Art4Barter hopes to inspire people to trade with artists, musicians, writers, dancers, and other creative minds and to reconfigure their ideas about the value of different services.  For more information about the event, click here.

Viewpoint: Downtown Phoenix’s Jackson Street lost its artists long ago

[The following “letter to the editor” was written by Steve Weiss, Steering Committee Chair of Downtown Voices Coalition, in response to the Arizona Republic’s June 10, 2009 editorial on the Jackson Street Entertainment District.  Since the letter hasn’t been printed in the Republic, we’re reprinting it here.]

There are many issues to debate regarding the proposed Jackson Street Entertainment District: the loss of historic preservation on the last surviving contiguous areas of the Warehouse District, the impact on residents South of Jackson Street, or even whether a created Entertainment District can achieve the financial and sales tax success the developers and city officials hope for.  The debate can rage back and forth on these issues.

But there is one glaring fact that disputes your editorial, where you say “Even now the area is drawing artists’ studios and clubs.”

The artists were forced out of Jackson Street long ago, first by the America West Arena (now US Airways Center) and then by Bank One Ballpark (now Chase Field).  What was once an area inhabited by live/work studios and galleries seeking large spaces with cheap rent is now priced for speculation or geared towards the ethereal sports fan.  The one exception is the eternally struggling Icehouse, way West of the proposed development.  No city help seems forthcoming to the last true artspace on Jackson.

As in all big cities, the gentrification of the downtown, first made cool by the artists, will be left to those who can afford “attainable” housing or “themed” entertainment.  A House of Blues club is no match for the authenticity of The Rhythm Room, as an example.

If the developers who seek to make Jackson Street interesting once again are wise enough, they will create incentives for affordable (not just attainable) live/work artist spaces and the kind of hospitable and distinct food, music and art venues that thrive in the less structured and less pricey environments of Grand Avenue and Roosevelt Street.  Look to those streets to find the remaining downtown artists and artspaces.

Steve Weiss
Steering Committee Chair, Downtown Voices Coalition