Blog Archives

Help Roosevelt Row launch the A.R.T.S. Project this Saturday, March 12th

A.R.T.S. Clean Up Day!

Help Roosevelt Row launch the A.R.T.S. Project!

A.R.T.S., Adaptive Reuse of Temporary Space, is a dirt lot activation program that addresses the blight of vacant urban space. Roosevelt Row is working on temporary activation projects for dirt lots in the neighborhood including arts markets, community gardens, public art projects, cultural fairs including science and sustainability, outdoor film space, and concerts.

SATURDAY MARCH 12,  2 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Volunteers Needed!

Meet in the dirt lot at 408 E Roosevelt St. We’ll pick up garbage, remove debris, spread mulch donated from local landscaping companies, plant posts, & enjoy the sunset.  Gloves, tools, water, and snacks will be provided. Wear comfortable clothing, tennis shoes or boots, and bring your own water bottle/canteen to refill onsite.

Tell us you’re coming by calling (602) 475 2661, or emailing volunteer@rooseveltrow.org, or just show up!

Roosevelt Row CDC/ 922 N. Fifth St./ Saturday/ March 12/2pm-6pm/FREE

Map of Location

Artist creates downtown Phoenix First Friday mural, over and over again

Muralist Joe Pagac at work

[Source: Sadie Jo Smokey, Arizona Republic] — For First Fridays on Roosevelt Row, getting noticed is practically a mantra.  Artists and advertisers take the idea to new heights.  Depending on the month, models wearing portable LCD screens advertising products mingle with the crowd.  Vehicles touting an energy drink drive loops around the festivities.  Groups of people in matching outfits hand out fliers and samples.

In November, promoter Charlie Levy, of Arizona’s Stateside Presents, tried a new tactic to garner attention: Levy hired Tucson-artist Joe Pagac to paint a mural on the western side of Eye Lounge, 419 E. Roosevelt St.  “What he’s doing is original artwork,” said Levy, who’s been staging concerts in the Phoenix area for 15 years, from bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley to electronica/experimental/folk rock artist Dosh.  “A billboard costs multiple thousands of dollars.  Joe’s charging me a very friendly rate.  And he’s helping to add to the (First Friday) scene,” Levy said.

The monthly First Friday art walk showcases more than 100 venues in downtown Phoenix.  It’s packed with artists and vendors selling their canvases, jewelry, incense and CDs, in addition to musical performances, fire-breathers, break-dancers, grass-roots political activists, food stands, and people of all ages and sizes taking in the sights, sounds, and smells.  [Note: Read the full article at Artist creates downtown Phoenix First Friday mural, over and over again.]

Couple invest in downtown Phoenix neighborhood, arts boutique

[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.]

It’s Artlink’s downtown/central Phoenix Art Detour #22, March 6-7

[Source: Rebecca Clark, Arizona Republic] — This Saturday and Sunday, about 15,000 people from across the Valley are expected to experience Phoenix’s art scene when they take part in the self-guided art walk and studio tour during the 22nd annual Art Detour hosted by Artlink.  “We have such amazing artists that are now producing art in the Phoenix area, some of which are now receiving national and international attention,” said David Appleby, an Artlink spokesman.

Jane Reddin, owner of Practical Art, on Central Avenue, has been a part of Artlink’s Detour since the first in 1989.  Once a volunteer guide for the event, she has seen how it has expanded across central Phoenix.   “Art Detour highlights that we have this extensive (arts) community that is all working together.  It’s not just focused in one area.  It’s not just Roosevelt Row, Grand Avenue, or Seventh Avenue/Melrose.  It’s all of those things and more,” said Reddin.

More than 100 artists and 60 galleries are expected to participate this year.  A free shuttle will run through the weekend stopping at galleries along Roosevelt Row, the Melrose District, and the Grand Avenue area, and a few satellite locations, originating from the walk’s headquarters at Phoenix Center of the Arts at Third and Moreland streets.

Art Detour is designed to reach a broad audience, and as such, hosts a Kids’ Detour where children can create artwork.  Kids’ Detour begins at Phoenix Center of the Arts where children can create art projects and enjoy story time.  There are also a designated number of kid-friendly art galleries on the art walk where they will stamp “passports” for the children as they pass through and earn a gift bag at the end of the walk.   Some galleries contain adult content; kid-friendly galleries will be marked on the maps that can be picked up at Phoenix Center of the Arts.  [Note: Read the full article at It’s Artlink’s downtown/central Phoenix Art Detour #22, March 6-7.]

Reviving downtown Phoenix through art

[Source: Michael Tulipan, New York Times] — BOARDED-UP buildings and empty lots in the shadow of office towers hardly seemed a promising foundation for an arts district in rapidly growing Phoenix.  But once-neglected and dangerous Roosevelt Row, on the north side of downtown, turned out to be an irresistible lure for artists looking for cheap spaces in which to live and work.  Galleries, restaurants and a farmers’ market soon followed.

Today, Roosevelt Row is the city’s cutting-edge art destination, full of galleries like Perihelion Arts (610 East Roosevelt Street, No. 137; 602-334-6299) and Eye Lounge (419 East Roosevelt Street; 602-430-1490), which showcase contemporary, often challenging art and performances.  The area is also a popular draw during Phoenix’s monthly First Fridays art walk (artlinkphoenix.com).

Just as vital to the area’s resurgence is the Downtown Phoenix Public Market (721 North Central Avenue; foodconnect.org/phoenixmarket), founded five years ago by Community Food Connections, a local nonprofit with an ambitious agenda.  “The goals of the market were to increase access to healthy food and create a vibrant gathering space in the heart of the city,” said Cindy Gentry, the organization’s executive director.  Today, the market (open 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays) has over 65 vendors offering local produce, jewelry, herbal remedies and treats like delicious lemon strawberry basil sorbet ($2) from Crave Artisan Ice Cream, a local purveyor.

Last October, the market expanded to include Urban Grocery and Wine Bar (14 East Pierce Street; 602-254-1799), downtown Phoenix’s first grocery store in nearly three decades.  The grocery sells products from many market vendors and features an outpost of Royal Coffee Bar, as well as a wine bar serving Arizona labels (starting at $7 a glass).

For the fashion-minded, Spoken Boutique (610 East Roosevelt Street, No. 148) stocks trendy denim labels like William Rast and Bishop of Seventh, Wet Cement T-shirts and flirty dresses.  Local artists and residents drop into two-year-old Conspire (901 North Fifth Street; 602-237-5446), a laid-back boutique and coffee shop with offerings as diverse as handmade paper, quirky clothing and vegan doughnuts.

The area’s transformation was perhaps best encapsulated by Michael Carbajal, a former boxing champion and local celebrity who grew up on the hardscrabble streets of Roosevelt Row and is now a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame. On a recent night’s visit to the bar at the year-old Asian tapas hot spot Sens (705 North First Street, No. 120; 602-340-9777; sensake.com) Mr. Carbajal spoke about the changes in the neighborhood. “It was rough,” he said, before dropping a shot of sake into his beer and gesturing to the sleek surroundings. “I like it better now. I can come here.”

Viewpoint: downtown Phoenix businesses finally scoring

[Source: Arizona Republic editorial board] — A bit more than a year ago, downtown Phoenix business owners wondered out loud where all the Arizona State University students were.  There may have been more than 8,000 registered for classes downtown, they said, but they weren’t showing up in their shops and restaurants.  One year later… check that concern.  Parts of downtown, particularly the region north of the downtown ASU campus, are being overrun with Sun Devils.  Or perhaps it is simply young people in general. Whoever these kids are, they are beginning to swarm throughout central Phoenix in impressive numbers at last.

The most notable demonstration of the blossoming of the central city continues to be the First Friday events, of course.  On Nov. 5, the city closed off East Roosevelt from North Central Avenue to Seventh Street to traffic for the first time, allowing the throngs of attendees to overflow the streets without fear of automobiles.

The growing First Friday crowds and the widening ASU footprint have attracted entrepreneurs like Kyle Simone and Jeff Mann to open shops like their Phoenicia Association, a combination men’s clothier and art gallery.  The youth traffic persuaded restaurateur Wade Moises to open the popular PastaBAR at First Street and Pierce Street, in the same building with Sens Asian Tapas and the now popular Irish bar Turf.  [Note: Read the full article at Viewpoint: downtown Phoenix businesses finally scoring.]

Volunteer to plant trees in downtown Phoenix, Nov. 14

[Source: Arizona Republic] — More than 100 volunteers will get their hands dirty during a community tree planting Saturday in connection with Hands On Greater Phoenix Day for Downtown.  The tree planting, sponsored by Mayor Phil Gordon, is an opportunity for residents, families, businesses, students, and visitors to connect with and take part in growth and development downtown.

Approximately 60 trees will be planted, including Arizona ash, evergreen elm, and sissoo.  The trees will provide shade and enhance the urban feel along Roosevelt Street, including the First Friday Art Walk area, and along Portland Street Park.  The planting locations are:

  • Portland Parkway at Portland Street Park, west of First Avenue
  • Roosevelt Street and First Avenue, in front of Trinity Cathedral
  • Latham Street and Third Avenue, in front of the Puppet Theater
  • Garfield Street at Fifth and Sixth streets, part of the First Friday Art Walk area

A block party hosted by Hands On Greater Phoenix will follow the planting, which is open to the public. To volunteer, send an e-mail.  Planting will be done from 8 to 11:30 a.m.  Volunteers are to meet at 8 in the courtyard of Trinity Cathedral, 100 W. Roosevelt, which is serving as planting headquarters.  Parking is in the parking garage north of the church.

Phoenix Interrupted: Downtown’s full of gleaming progress surrounded by vacant lots – now what?

Chateaux on Central

Failing midtown Phoenix project (Photo: Sharon, Phoenix Daily Photo)

[Source: Sarah Fenske, Phoenix New Times] — There’s a development on the edge of downtown Phoenix that captivated me even before I moved into the neighborhood: the Chateaux on Central.  My interest wasn’t a matter of good design — everyone from Will Bruder on down is on the record mocking the place, and rightly so.  (With its fanciful turrets, shiny copper roofs, and that ghastly faux-French “eaux,” the project’s overall effect is Disney Does Brownstones in the Desert.) No, the Chateaux on Central were somehow personally evocative.  They made me homesick. [Note: Read the full article at Phoenix Interrupted: Downtown’s full of gleaming progress surrounded by vacant lots – now what?]

President Obama taking a leisurely drive in downtown Phoenix

Videographer Chad Lawrence Wagner took this video of President Obama’s motorade leaving downtown Phoenix in August 2009.  Wonder what the President thought of all those vacant lots as he drove by?

Attend Phoenix’s First Friday, Oct. 2

greaterphoenix_az_001p

Phoenix First Friday (Photo source: Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau)

[Source: Roosevelt Row] — Join one of the largest free art walks in the U.S. on the first Friday of every month in downtown Phoenix.  And enjoy the luxury of a hassle free ride to First Friday on the Light Rail.  Finally, you can enjoy the evening without the stress of parking.  Just get off at the Central & Roosevelt stop and head to your favorite spots on the Row.  Don’t forget to head west to the great businesses and attractions in the avenues and along Central.   [Click here for Arizona Republic interactive map.]