Arts & Culture
An ephemeral Art Detour pop-up space reveals long-covered DeGrazia murals and showcases plans for a new Lauren Lee mural.
Iconic Arizona artist Ted DeGrazia is most widely remembered for his commercially popular paintings of large-eyed children, faceless angels, and Southwestern-themed imagery. But two murals he left behind in downtown Phoenix—hidden under protective sheetrock for years—reveal a glimpse of DeGrazia’s other subjects, and his unique mark on the community.
“A lot of times, DeGrazia would go into a place and someone would say to him, ‘Oh, here’s a sandwich and a pitcher of beer,’ you know, ‘Would you paint me a picture?’ and he’d do it for lunch,” says DeGrazia Foundation Executive Director Lance Laber. “Now, this is a pretty extensive mural, so I know he didn’t do it for lunch,” he continues with a laugh. “This mural is 12 feet tall and it’s 40 feet long.”
Laber is describing a mural covering a large expanse of interior wall at 222 E. Roosevelt in the former greenHAUS Gallery. “The establishment was a bar,” he says, and explains that the murals were most likely painted around 60 years ago. “….They go along with the way DeGrazia’s style was in the ‘50s.”
On the Roosevelt walls, a smaller mural shows a dancer twirling in a glass, while the huge 40-foot work depicts scenes of alcohol production, from loincloth-clad figures gathered around a cauldron to a hillbilly moonshine still. “Everybody’s making some kind of booze,” says Laber. “That seems to be the theme of the mural.” Both pieces feature opaque greenish-turquoise backgrounds, and while the dancer is painted on drywall attached to wood studs, the alcohol scenes were applied directly to a very thin layer of plaster adhering to a double- brick wall.
For years, the artwork was covered and protected by sheetrock and Laber learned about the murals when building owner Baron Properties contacted the DeGrazia Foundation back in September 2014. “I had never seen anything by DeGrazia that looked like that—truly amazing,” says Laber. “The murals are kind of old…they’re a little faded from time, but they’re very interesting.”
“We learned of the two pieces as we were conducting our due diligence to buy the property,” says Baron partner Scott Fisher. “We called Lance [Laber] to understand what the murals were and what they stood for and their importance.” He continues, “We wanted to do the right thing and…donate the paintings, so that’s why we called the DeGrazia Foundation.” Baron has owned property in the Valley since 2004 and intends to build a new building on the Roosevelt site, but the company has worked out a rare opportunity with Artlink in which the DeGrazia murals will be open to the public during March First Friday and Art Detour 27 from March 6-8. “We don’t just share a desire to preserve the DeGrazia artwork,” says Fisher. “We want to do what we can to actually enhance and expand a great arts neighborhood with additional efforts too.”
Laber has been working with Baron and an art conservator to determine how the murals can be preserved, and believes the smaller mural can be saved. “That’s on a piece of sheetrock that we believe can be removed from the wall,” he says. The larger mural is a different story. No one has yet devised a method to protect such an expansive piece against the torque exerted on a thin layer of aging stucco. “If you start trying to peel it off or get behind it and get it off, you’re probably just going to break it into a thousand pieces,” says Laber.
“In either case, we plan on having a professional photographer take very high-definition photographs and donate those to the Foundation and whoever else is interested,” says Fisher. “We understand that the Roosevelt Arts District is very important, and so our new projects on Roosevelt…we plan on displaying and highlighting local art from local artists. Our plan is to have more artwork, not less.”
And the beautiful Lauren Lee mural “Three Birds” on the building’s outside east-facing wall? Lee recognized that it was going to be difficult to save the piece, so she approached Baron Properties about the possibility of producing a new piece for the new building.
Fisher said, “When Lauren Lee approached us with her idea, the answer was a resounding yes. That’s because our goal is to create a combination of the preserved art along with the newer works and contribute to a great success story in the heart of Phoenix.”
Lee said, “I’ll be painting three massive birds in flight on the five-story-high new building that will be called ‘iLuminate.’ Given their name, the developer suggested that we illuminate the birds from below so that they can be seen from far away, which I think will be spectacular.”
Lee added, “The new concept design will be displayed at Art Detour this weekend in a pop-up art gallery hosted by Artlink in the greenHAUS building. I’ll be there answering questions with the new painting and design rendering of the ‘Three Birds in Flight,’ as well as offering prints of the ‘Three Birds’ mural for sale. It’s difficult to convey my happiness about this, but I am truly happy that the ‘Three Birds’ get to live on in a new way, in a new stage of their evolution.”
Take advantage of this final opportunity to see the DeGrazia murals and Lauren Lee’s “Three Birds” at Art Detour this weekend.
If You Go:
What: Artlink Pop Up Gallery – Art Detour 27
Where: 222. E. Roosevelt St.
When: Saturday and Sunday, March 7 & 8, 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Update: Recently released, DeGrazia: The Man and the Myths is a new biography of DeGrazia by James W. Johnson and Marilyn D. Johnson from The University of Arizona Press. Both authors join DeGrazia Foundation Executive Director Lance Laber at the Tucson Festival of Books on Sunday, March 15 in the Student Union’s Kachina room on the U of A campus for a panel discussion from 1 p.m.-2 p.m., followed by a book-signing.
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DeTour de Grand to Highlight Art Detour 27 Activities along Historic Grand Avenue, March 8
Inaugural Daylong Event Features Bike Tour, Art Walk, and Block Party
The inaugural DeTour de Grand will take place on Sunday, March 8, 2015 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Historic Grand Avenue in downtown Phoenix. Organized by the Grand Avenue Members Association (GAMA) in conjunction with Artlink’s Art Detour 27, the daylong bike tour, art walk, and block party will feature the best in local bikes, beer, and bands.
“The aim of DeTour de Grand is to highlight ‘local Phoenix’ along one of our city’s most iconic and authentic streets, Grand Avenue,” said Kirby Hoyt, event co-organizer and principal of Edge Industries, a landscape urbanism firm headquartered on Grand.
DeTour de Grand activities include:
- Bike Tour. The event begins at 10 a.m. with a one-hour bike tour that starts and ends at the intersection of Grand Avenue and 9th Ave. and follows Artlink’s Art Detour 27 trolley route. Prizes for the most creative – and grand! – rider outfits will be presented at the end of the ride. Valley Metro will provide complimentary bike valet parking.
- Art Walk. From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., participants can wander though dozens of galleries, studios, shops, and restaurants along Grand Avenue between Van Buren and Roosevelt.
- Block Party. Also from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., partygoers can enjoy local bands, street performers, vendors, food trucks, and a beer garden. The Main Stage and Beer Garden will be located at 915 NW Grand Ave. A percentage of the event proceeds will benefit local charities.
According to Laurie Carmody, GAMA member and event co-organizer, “For years Grand Avenue has been a gathering place for musicians and music lovers. In 2011 the Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery moved to Grand Avenue due in part to its music tradition and eclectic character. Inspirations in creating DeTour de Grand are the amazing students, who come from all over the globe to learn how to make and repair guitars at this world-renowned school.”
DeTour de Grand sponsors to date include: Phoenix Brewing Company, Arizona Multibank Corp., Arizona Preservation Foundation, Artlink Inc., Butler Housing Corp., Carnagan LLC, Dunlap-McGee Management Co., Edge Industries, Grand Avenue Pizza Company, Habitat Metro, KS State Bank, Local First Arizona, Oasis on Grand Apartments, State Representative Debbie McCune Davis, and The Carmody Company. The poster and design materials for DeTour de Grand were designed by Design RePublic, a studio off Grand Avenue, and local artist Jake Early. Signed screen-printed posters will be available for sale at the event.
Participants are encouraged to post their photographs of the event on social media using the hashtag #detourdegrand #grandavephx #dtphx
As you probably know by now, this weekend is the 27th annual Art Detour event. It’s a free, two-day arts celebration in downtown. Started back in the late 80′s by a group of artists who invited people into their working art studios, it has grown and evolved over the years and now includes individual artist studios, pop up art spaces, galleries, and arts-friendly shops, restaurants and bars. Everyone throws out the welcome map. Many spaces are easily accessible along a route that is serviced by Artlink’s free circulating trolleys, however, there are wonderful spaces that take just a tad extra effort to find and we’re here to help you navigate your own “Detour” off the beaten path and into the Warehouse District.
CityScape, 1 E. Washington St.
CityScape is our jumping off point for this adventure. This pedestrian complex covers two blocks bounded by 1st Ave. and 1st St. between Washington and Jefferson. A central hub for downtown Phoenix, you’ll find restaurants, shops, open air seating, as well as an Artlink Information Hub stop staffed by friendly, knowledgeable Downtown Ambassadors, where you can pick up a Detour map and get any questions answered. The Warehouse District is just a few blocks south of CityScape, so you can either walk, or grab a GRID bike from one of the several GRID stations in and around CityScape. If you are a GRID member, you can reserve a bike online.
It is in the Warehouse District that Art Detour first got started, and there are well established artists who still call it home. Additionally, ASU recently moved their ASU School of Art in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts to the Warehouse District, bringing even more creative energy to this part of town.
First stop on your Warehouse Detour:
Once you’ve chosen whether to grab a bike or apply shoe leather for this adventure, head south on 1st Avenue or Central to Jackson Street (two blocks south of CityScape). Once you reach Jackson, head west to the IceHouse.
The IceHouse at 429 W. Jackson.
If you’ve never been to the IceHouse, you must go. Once active as a ice storage facility in the days before refrigeration, it houses various artist studios, along with exhibition and performance spaces. With its thick slabbed walls and concrete rooms, it is unlike any building you’ve ever been in and well worth the trip. Its large rooms, tall ceilings, and unique feel have made it a popular wedding destination.
After you’ve explored the nooks and crannies in the IceHouse, head back east to the Jackson Street Studios.
Jackson Street Studios, 15 E. Jackson, #206 – Linda Ingraham Mixed Media Photography
The Jackson Street Studios building has been home to many renowned Arizona artists, including Linda Ingraham, who has been in her second floor studio for more than twenty years. A critically acclaimed artist, her work includes evocative images of botanicals, figures and surreal landscapes, as well as art-inspired jewelry that Linda describes as “Bohemian Elegance.” Linda is warm and welcoming and her studio is full of beautiful finished work, as well as works in progress.
After you’ve explored Jackson Street Studios, hop on your bike for the next leg of your Warehouse Detour. If you’ve been walking up to this point, you may want to grab a bike from one of the nearby stations for this part of the adventure. Head south on 3rd Avenue to Grant Street and east to the Step Gallery/Grant St. Studios at the aforementioned ASU School of Art and Design.
Step Gallery/Grant St. Studios, 605 E. Grant
The Step Gallery serves as both an MFA thesis exhibition space and a proposal-driven, student run gallery. In the renovated warehouse building known to locals as the Levine Machine, this unique art space is worth exploring both inside and out.
Head back over to 3rd Street and cycle north back to CityScape, where you can hop a trolley to discover the rest of the Art Detour spaces. For the more intrepid urban explorer, use your Detour map to continue your bike adventure to Roosevelt Row to the north or over to the Grand Avenue arts district to the west.
Please note that both Roosevelt Row and Grand Avenue will be hosting their own neighborhood festivities during Detour this year: Roosevelt Row will be hosting the PAINT PHX block party, with music and a beer garden, on 5th Street on Saturday, and the No Festival Required outdoor screening of Stop Making Sense, on the west wall of Monorchid. On Sunday, Grand Avenue will present Detour de Grand, again featuring “bikes, beer and bands” along with open artist studios and galleries.
Whether you choose to connect the dots for a great Detour adventure on Saturday, Sunday or both days, there will be plenty of outdoor art adventures to discover at this weekend’s Art Detour 27.
For 27 years, Artlink has worked with artists and galleries to present the annual two-day free celebration in downtown Phoenix known as Art Detour. Visitors from throughout Phoenix and the entire Valley will be welcomed into studios and spaces throughout downtown this weekend to see working artists in their natural habitat, buy their work, and enjoy the creative energy of our thriving arts community.
While much of the activity during Detour is concentrated in downtown and on Grand Ave., increasingly the borders of Detour are expanding, and interesting artists and spaces can be found beyond where the trolley route can currently cover. Never fear, however. Using a combination of Metro Light Rail (get a day pass!), bikes and shoe leather, these destinations are within easy reach, and we can help you “connect the dots” to get there. So, with pith helmets firmly snapped in place and our trusty map in hand, we offer a multi-modal guide for intrepid explorers to get the full Detour experience.
Using light rail stations and GRID bike hubs as our guideposts, here are some “beyond the trolley route” spaces you’ll want to incorporate into your weekend Art Detour adventure.
Located on the southwest corner of Camelback Road and Central Avenue, the light rail station is a great place to consider starting your “beyond the trolley” adventure. There is ample parking both at the station and in the Uptown Plaza parking lot on the northeast corner of the intersection.
First Stop – Practical Art, 5070 N. Central
Less than a block north of the light rail station on the west side of Camelback you’ll find Practical Art, a hybrid store/art gallery featuring functional artwork by more than 100 Arizona artists, along with monthly exhibitions of fine art. For Art Detour they will be featuring an exhibition of paintings by Lee Berger called “Indispensable Dispensables – Lessons to Still Be Learned.” In addition, on Saturday they will host some of the instructors from the Bergamot Institute, who run their summer kids classes.
Take the Light Rail to the Indian School and Central station (1 mile south of Camelback).
This is a good location to grab a GRID Bike, as there are a handful of great artist studios and galleries within blocks of this station. The GRID Bike lot can be found at the entrance to Steele Indian School Park. If you have a GRID bike membership you can reserve your bike for pick up, but if you don’t, there is still a chance that there will be bikes available at this stop. This weekend, however, is chock o’block with activities and at Steele Indian School Park, the Arizona Hemophilia Association will be hosting their 31st Annual My Nana’s Best Tasting Salsa Challenge on March 7 and 8 from 10:00 a.m. You might want to stop by for a salsa snack before starting your Art Detour adventure.
So, chow down on some salsa, then grab your bike and head east on the south side of Indian School Rd. to:
Collective Gallery @ The Artery, 623 E. Indian School
The Artery features work by many different artists, including pastels, paintings, photography, woodcuts, jewelry and more.
Studio 6 @ The Artery, 625 E. Indian School
Upstairs in The Artery are six studio spaces where artists welcome visitors to see works-in-progress.
After your visit to both spaces at The Artery, it’s time to head west on Indian School and south on Third Ave. to The Clarendon Hotel & Spa, 402 W. Clarendon.
The Clarendon Hotel & Spa lines its public spaces with the work of local artists and presents an annual art “happening” in May called ARTELPHX, featuring local visual and performing artists. For Detour, the Clarendon will be featuring large scale paintings by local artist Bill Dambrova in the lobby. And just off the lobby, you’ll find The Bolles Gallery, A Historical Reflection Space which commemorates Don Bolles, an Arizona Republic journalist who was murdered in the parking lot of the hotel back in 1976. So, stop by and catch up on a little of the dark side of Phoenix history. And, if you’ve worked up a thirst or an appetite, before you leave for the next location, you can get a drink and nibbles at Cafe Tranquilo.
After you’ve scoped out everything the Clarendon has to offer, hop back on your bikes and head south and west to Willo North Gallery.
MAP CORRECTION – There is a slight error on the Art Detour map that we need to address here. While it’s shown as an orange dot with a 32 on it, it is actually the dot for Willo North Gallery (#30) on Gallery list. It’s in the correct place, but the number is incorrect.
Willo North Gallery, 2811 N. 7th Avenue
This popular gallery is off the beaten track, but well worth the effort. It’s only a short bike ride from the Clarendon. For Art Detour the gallery will be featuring a solo exhibition of paintings by Fred Tieken called “For the Birds.”
The Hive, 2222 N. 16th Street
The Hive is an eclectic art space that is part shop, part studios, and part gallery and it is well worth the ride. The midcentury modern Hive is in the historic Coronado neighborhood and hosts unique shows throughout the year. During Art Detour they will be featuring work by local artists Thomas Breeze Marcus and Dwayne Insano.
For the TRULY adventurous – there is one more out of the way stop we have to mention: Gary Beal’s artist studio at 2030 N. 17th Avenue, North of McDowell and West of 15th Avenue. It’s a little off the beaten path and he didn’t make it onto the Detour map, but he will be open and if you are a fan of glass/sculpture, you won’t want to miss Gary’s work.
On the final leg of this part of your Art Detour adventure, you can ride back towards Central Avenue and head south to leave your GRID bike at one of the GRID lots along Central, near the Heard Museum or the Phoenix Art Museum. During Detour weekend, the Heard Museum will be hosting the 56th Annual Indian Fair & Market, a ticketed event and the Phoenix Art Museum will be hosting Devoured, a popular, sold-out local food event.
Burton Barr Public Library, 1221 N. Central Ave – Art Detour Park and Ride Trolley Hub
Just one block south of the Phoenix Art Museum, at the Burton Barr Public Library, you’ll find an Artlink Trolley hub, where you can jump on a free trolley and hit all of the great venues along the route. Trolleys will circulate throughout the downtown all day on both days. Waits at each stop are about 15 minutes between trolleys. There will be volunteers and maps to help guide you the rest of the way.
Enjoy Art Detour this weekend, both on the trolley and beyond. Discover how the arts can help “connect the dots” to your unique downtown adventure.
On Saturday, February 21st, Artlink Inc., in partnership with Downtown Phoenix Inc., hosted the Art d’Core Gala at Crescent Ballroom. This celebration of downtown Phoenix’s artists and creatives featured Mayor Greg Stanton giving his second annual “Celebrate Downtown” address. It served as a festive kick-off to Artlink’s Art Detour 27, March 7-8, 2015.
Below is a transcript and video of the Mayor’s address.
Celebrate Downtown Address, February 21, 2015
The excitement in this room – the energy tonight – is remarkable. I don’t think I’ve ever felt Crescent Ballroom so alive.
What I love about this event is that it’s such a reflection of our downtown community: a collaboration of people and organizations working together to create something amazing.
Catrina Kahler and Artlink … Dave Kreitor and Downtown Phoenix, Inc. … Charlie Levy and Crescent Ballroom … and Phoenix Theatre! How great was that performance?! … It takes a lot of great minds to bring this event to life, and I’m glad those minds are always working to make our community a better place.
This has become one of my favorite events of the year – and I’m so happy that we are together again to celebrate Downtown!
Last year we talked about downtown’s story: our humble beginnings, our biggest challenges, where we started and where we’ve been. Also about where we are headed: toward a shared vision for a vibrant, walkable, livable downtown where education, the arts and commerce thrive.
Setting a New Economic Course
We’re getting there by putting our economy on a new course so that we can compete with other regions across the country and around the world. I’ve made it my priority to build an innovation-based, export economy that lifts everyone up – and that starts right here in downtown.
Downtown is more than our urban core – it is the heart of our great city. The components necessary to build the economy we need are coming together right here.
We’re bringing more people to a central place with a robust transit system. We’re teaching students at ASU, U of A and NAU, and training the next generation of physicians and biomedical engineers. We’re carving out new space for entrepreneurs, tech startups and makers to create and innovate.
These things aren’t just attractive to millenials and urbanistas. They’re necessary for us to lead in today’s global economy.
A Vibrant Downtown
But a great public transportation system, more education options and flourishing small businesses? Those also happen to be the ingredients that are transforming downtown into the lively, urban community we all want.
Another ingredient? A City Council that understands smart policies and investments in infrastructure such as light rail pay long-term dividends. I want to thank my great partners on the council who understand that a stronger downtown means a stronger city.
I know the whole world saw how great things were for the successful Super Bowl, but all of us here know that hardly scratches the surface of the amazing things going on downtown.
Last year, we broke ground on more than 1 million square-feet of commercial space including two hotels and two higher education buildings;
With our Complete Streets policy, we’re changing the city’s reputation of planning predominately for cars;
We renovated space for aspiring artists at the new ASU Herberger Institute studios in the Warehouse District;
We launched Grid Bike Share throughout Central Phoenix – broadening options for getting around without a car;
We welcomed newcomers to our downtown dining directory – Bitter and Twisted, Mother Bunch Brewery, Grabba Green, Short Leash’s Rollover Donuts, and much more…
Because we created Downtown Phoenix, Inc two years ago, we were able to make new friends on the Urban Ale Trail, at Radiate Phoenix and Kalliope’s mobile dance party;
We set a new standard for music festivals with Viva Phoenix – and we’re counting down the days until 80 bands take over 20 downtown venues this March.
This is what happens when we have a community as motivated and energized as all of you in this room.
Downtown’s Tipping Point
But here’s what I’m excited about: this is just the beginning. We laid out our vision; we put in the work; and now, downtown has reached its tipping point. We’re about to see what momentum really looks like.
This year we’ll complete street improvements that will make Roosevelt Row more engaging and welcoming to pedestrians – and more shaded! – than ever before.
We’re activating sidewalks and street corners in new, fresh ways. Carly’s, Bitter and Twisted and La Piazza PHX are all extending to new sidewalk-patio seating. DeSoto Central Market in the historic DeSoto Building will transform Central and Roosevelt into a new destination for food, shops and social experiences.
We’re welcoming new forward-thinking tenants. The restoration of the Luhrs City Center attracted fast-growing startup Giftcard Zen to open offices in the historic tower. And soon they’ll be joined by as many as eight new startups through a partnership with Tallwave’s business incubator.
The city’s investments in the biomedical campus are paying off: The U of A and St. Joe’s Cancer Center will open this fall and begin delivering world-class health care. Some of the most advanced medical research is already happening right now in our own backyard – it’s amazing.
Our momentum is bringing new restaurants and commerce downtown, and it’s igniting an entire sector of innovation and discovery.
A Toast to Downtown
In honor of all our progress and all we have to look forward to – I’d like to propose a toast. Catrina and Dave, you should get back up here on stage.
Here’s to Downtown Phoenix. Where our First Fridays, our music festivals, our Meet Me Downtown events, and our pop-up parks get bigger and better every month.
To the artists … the students … the entrepreneurs … the bicyclists … the foodies … the business owners … the transit riders … the residents … the visionaries … who have shaped a culture and created a community unlike any other.
This isn’t the downtown Phoenix we’ve been waiting for – it’s the downtown we’ve been working for.