Circa 1900 in downtown Phoenix's Heritage Square.
[Source: Rebecca Clark, Special to the Arizona Republic] — On the nights of the First Fridays art walk, the normally quiet streets of downtown Phoenix are packed with nouveau hippies offering free hugs, Scientology protesters next to Scientology promoters, and street vendors selling everything from aprons to jewelry. Men and women of all ages, all walks of life and from all over the Valley are drawn in by fire breathers, live bands and, of course, art. But sometimes, amid the blocks of mayhem near the Roosevelt Row arts and shopping district, the night can seem less about art and more about an “art scene.”
That’s why Artlink, a non-profit downtown Phoenix arts organization, has partnered with the Rosson House Foundation and Phoenix artist Sean Deckert to bring a calmer, quieter, completely art-focused element to First Fridays in Heritage & Science Park, south of the Roosevelt Row area. “People who come to downtown only for First Fridays get the wrong idea,” said Deckert, who is program coordinator and co-curator of the First Friday expansion to Heritage Square. “On First Fridays, it is like the state fair has come to town. There are people selling ice cream cones and T-shirts, and amidst all of that, there is an artist showing and trying to sell his own work.”
That’s why vendors and certain kinds of street performers will not be allowed in the intimate historic space near the Arizona Science Center and Pizzeria Bianco. Instead there will be an outdoor gallery showing six to 10 artists each month, and Deckert said that number will increase as the area develops a reputation for art. [Note: Read the full article at First Fridays art walk expands to downtown Phoenix’s Heritage Square.]