Arts & Culture
DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
Local Bakers Needed for Fourth Annual Home Sweet Home Gingerbread House Show and Auction
Home takes on very special meaning during the holidays—a time when stability, comfort and family gatherings are so important. That’s why each year Neighborhood Housing Services of Phoenix (NHS Phoenix) hosts Home Sweet Home—a holiday-themed event that raises money for programs and services that support first-time homebuyers or for those struggling to stay in their homes.
In order for Home Sweet Home to be a success, organizers need people who love to bake and are excited about creating their own original gingerbread house. Those interested in donating a gingerbread house don’t need to be experienced bakers—NHS Phoenix just needs creative spirits who are eager to give back to their communities.
Last year the event featured more than three dozen painstakingly crafted homes created by local artists, architects, business owners, chefs, scout troops, celebrities, school groups and community members. Each year the gingerbread houses are showcased for one week in December and then auctioned to the highest bidder. Money raised is used to fund a variety of services and programs.
“We teach, we build and we lend,” said NHS Phoenix President and CEO, Patricia Garcia Duarte. “The money we raise goes toward supporting homebuyer counseling, education and financial literacy classes, foreclosure intervention counseling, down payment and closing cost assistance and the renovating of affordable single-family homes.”
In 2012, NHS Phoenix counseled 3,477 homeowners, educated 562, created a record 379 new homeowners and helped 1,303 avoid foreclosure. It acquired and rehabilitated 46 homes and helped facilitate 312 mortgages, resulting in a huge impact for valley neighborhoods.
“Our counseling and education programs are so essential for first-time buyers. And for those whom we’ve assisted in avoiding foreclosure, our services have been literal ‘life savers.’ But these services and programs take significant funding, which is why events like Home Sweet Home are so important. We hope to see a large turnout of gingerbread homes and auction attendees this year,” Garcia Duarte said.
Now in its fourth year, the auction event will also feature drinks, treats and a raffle, in addition to the houses. The event is by ticket only, and will be held Saturday, Dec. 7 from 5 to 8 p.m. at RED CityScape in downtown Phoenix. The public is welcome to preview the gingerbread houses Monday through Friday the week before at CityScape office tower.
This year’s honorary Chairperson, Dr. Lattie F. Coor, Arizona State University president emeritus and current Chair and CEO of the Center for the Future of Arizona, will be on hand to help support NHS Phoenix in its quest to help individual families realize their dream of financially stable homeownership.
What: Fourth annual Home Sweet Home Event—a Gingerbread House Show and Auction
When: Free public showing Monday, Dec. 2 through Friday, Dec. 6 from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Auction on Saturday, Dec. 7 from 5 to 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 online, $25 at the door and children under 12 are free.
Where: RED CityScape at 1 E. Washington St. (viewing and auction)
For more information and for baker registration and helpful hints, please visit www.nhsphoenix.org/HomeSweetHome.html or contact Carole Kauffman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 602-258-1659.
ABOUT NHS Phoenix
Neighborhood Housing Services of Phoenix, Inc. (NHS Phoenix) is dedicated to the revitalization of Phoenix neighborhoods by providing a full range of programs and services that encourage, create, and support homeownership. Recognizing that increased homeownership rates result in an improved quality of life in the community, NHS Phoenix focuses on creating new homeowners, along with helping struggling homeowners stay in their homes. Flexible mortgage loans, down payment and closing cost assistance, homebuyer education, financial literacy, and affordable single-family homes are all offered through the NHS Phoenix NeighborWorks® HomeOwnership Center, one of only 96 NeighborWorks® Home Ownership Centers in the United States.
David Krietor has served as President/CEO of the newly-formed Downtown Phoenix, Inc. (“DPI”) since April 8, 2013. In that time, he has begun work with community stakeholders to develop the downtown we want. “Your Downtown” shares his thoughts and DPI’s progress with the downtown community and beyond.
DPI was created to engage in activities to support the economic and cultural viability of the total downtown community, to provide advocacy and leadership for our downtown with expanded flexibility and clarity, and to maximize the strong points of existing downtown oriented nonprofits and assist in the creation of others as deemed necessary to further DPI’s mission.
DPI has finalized our contract with the City of Phoenix. This key document formally brings to the DPI Board of Directors the Mayor, City Manager, and four community designated seats.
The full board is comprised of:
- Donald Brandt (APS/Pinnacle West)
- David Cavazos (City of Phoenix)
- Cindy Dach (Roosevelt Row)
- Mike Ebert (RED Development)
- Tim Eigo (Downtown Voices Coalition)
- Derrick Hall (Arizona Diamondbacks)
- Jeri Jones (UnitedHealthcare of Arizona)
- Kimber Lanning (Local First Arizona)
- Jason Rowley (Phoenix Suns)
- Mayor Greg Stanton (City of Phoenix)
- Mo Stein (HKS Architects)
- ErLinda Tórres (Arizona Latino Arts and Cultural Center)
- Ed Zito (Alliance Bank of Arizona)
How can downtown businesses and residents get involved?
The great thing about DPI? We don’t have to recreate the wheel to make it possible for the community to get involved. For more than 30 years, PCA (Phoenix Community Alliance) has provided private sector leadership supporting downtown. During some of this time, as the city’s energy was devoted to more suburban style development, PCA was the lone voice encouraging elected officials to make downtown a priority.
PCA was the driving force behind big projects that shaped downtown but they also fostered the creation of Artlink Inc., Local Initiatives Service Corp., Capitol Mall Association, Discovery Triangle, Downtown Phoenix Partnership, and the Human Services Campus.
An easy way to get involved? Attend or support an Event!
Here are just a few as event season kicks into high gear:
Downtown, Evans Churchill
Downtown, Grand Avenue, Roosevelt Row
Roosevelt Row, Grand Avenue
Now, downtown has been “adopted” by a growing number of energized and creative entrepreneurs. PCA is taking this as opportunity to reshape their mission, membership model and programming to meet the expectations of this broader community. Residents and other individuals will also have a chance to join as downtown advocates.
One of DPI’s charges is to identify ways to make it easier to conceptualize, promote, and implement downtown events. This seems simple but Phoenix is a big, complicated city with unique logistical challenges in and around downtown. The good news is that downtown is becoming so energized that, more and more, it is perceived as “the place to be.” Our event base historically has been the 7 million people who annually attend the sports, theatrical, and convention activities in the core.
Now, based mostly on volunteers and “sweat equity,” the Roosevelt Row/Evans Churchill community has emerged as a major generator of “feet on the street.” USA Today recently called it one of the nation’s ten best neighborhoods that tourists haven’t found yet. Just last week, the New York Times featured the story of an Iraqi artist who now lives in Evans Churchill as an ASU Artist-in-Residence. We can thank, among others, Artlink’s longstanding commitment to Art Detour and First Friday in starting this art wave.
In the short term, the Downtown Phoenix Partnership (DPP) has started to provide additional logistical and Ambassador support for a broader array of events, including the McDowell Mountain Music Festival (returning to Margaret T. Hance Park, March 2014), the third annual Chile Pepper Festival on Roosevelt Row (Sept. 28), and the Celebración Artística de las Américas (CALA) PHX Fest! in downtown (Nov. 12). And, of course, don’t forget the Oct. 26 Zombie Walk. In the mid and longterm, we need to work collaboratively on a model that makes it easier and more cost effective to bring additional events into all parts of our downtown, year-round.
On the real estate side of things, it was great to see the crane go up for the start of construction of the Arizona Cancer Center, the doors open for the first residents of the Roosevelt Point apartment complex at Fourth Street and Roosevelt, and the unveiling of a new residential/commercial project, the Union on Roosevelt, at the key intersection of First Avenue and Roosevelt.
How can we advocate for a more welcoming downtown?
The movement to remake our downtown streets more walkable and more conducive to becoming a revitalization asset is gaining momentum thanks to greater numbers of active and involved residents and community groups, and a willingness on the part of the City’s Street Transportation Department to keep an open mind. Key community players have been Downtown Voices Coalition, Evans Churchill Community Association, Garfield Organization, Grand Avenue Merchants Association, Hance Park Conservancy, Phoenix Spokes People, Roosevelt Action Association, and Roosevelt Row CDC.
Four important new initiatives are underway: (1) new sidewalks and shade trees on Fifth Street between Fillmore and Garfield, (2) a pilot “street diet” project on Lower Grand Avenue, (3) the Adams Street Activation Study, and (4) a pilot “street diet” project on First Street between Washington and Moreland:
- The Fifth Street improvements are being done in conjunction with the construction of the new Arizona Cancer Center resulting from collaboration between the Evans Churchill Community Association, City of Phoenix, and University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix.
- The Lower Grand Avenue project resulted from a “Greening America’s Capitals” grant in partnership with the Grand Avenue Merchants Association, City of Phoenix, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Valuable community involvement was instrumental in ensuring the best possible outcome.
- The Adams Street Activation Study, with significant community input, hopes to improve the pedestrian experience and enhance economic opportunities and connectivity on Adams between Central Ave. and Second St.
- The First Street initiative was conceptualized by the City’s Street Transportation Department (view PDF site plan here).
Last but not least, the process of developing a new downtown streets master plan will start in the fall to provide an opportunity for broad community input on “the downtown we want.”
Although the new venue’s gala grand opening isn’t until October 26, Phoenix Theatre opens the doors of its 250-seat black box theater for the off-Broadway hit Ruthless! The Musical this weekend, turning the spotlight on a split-personality child star.
“Outrageous, but in a funny way” is how Phoenix Theatre Producing Artistic Director Michael Barnard describes the campy show. “It’s done with such a heightened style…it sort of parodies those great old films,” he says. “Part of it’s like the movie The Women, or like Gypsy, or…All About Eve…or Mommie Dearest…so they were smashing all of these different shows together.”
“So if you know those movies,” he continues, “…it’s really fun on that level. It’s not offensive in any way…but it’s quirky and it’s bizarre, and it’s more of a black comedy humor than straight-across humor, because…I mean, the little girl is a little demon child …she’s like The Bad Seed.”
The comically disturbing role of Tina Denmark is shared by 11-year-old Riley Glick and 12-year-old Alex Kirby, both sixth-graders at Arizona School for the Arts and past veterans of Valley Youth Theatre. Glick also landed a role in the national tour of the Broadway show Dr. Seuss’ [sic] How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical, which she’ll repeat this holiday season.
Invited to join the cast of Ruthless by Barnard, who knew her work from Phoenix Theatre’s production of Gypsy, Glick plays a character described as “adorably diabolical.” Is it fun to portray a monster? “Yeah, I like it a lot,” she says with a laugh. “I mean, she really has a sweet vs. evil side, and she can flip any second, so it’s…fun because you get to show a lot of different emotion while you’re playing the role.” Glick continues, “It’s kind of Gypsy, but opposite…so it’s the little girl that’s pushing it rather than the mom.”
With a concert producer and an art director for parents, Glick was accustomed to behind-the-scenes creativity when she began her career in the role of a baby spider in Charlotte’s Web at Desert Stages Theatre. “She went to a play when she was three,” explains her mother, Ronna Glick. “Yeah, and I was like, ‘I want to do that,’” says Riley. “But then my parents made me wait ‘til I was four.”
More than 30 shows later, Glick enthusiastically describes a few special effects from her role in Ruthless. “So I baton-twirl in the show, and I do a couple of tricks…that’s a lot of fun, and that’s more on the sweeter side of Tina,” she says. “But when she gets to the more evil side, I throw a knife.” In a somewhat regretful aside, she reassures me, “Not really, though.”
“This is definitely an adult show,” Glick continues. “I mean, there are bad words in it.” Says Barnard, “The worst word that’s used is ‘bullsh*t’…and somebody gets called a b*tch once, and somebody gets called ‘assh*le’ once.” He pauses for a moment to consider. “I would totally say that an 11-, 12-, 13-year-old could find it funny…it’s just quirky fun…and the characters are very colorful.”
The cast of Ruthless includes longtime Valley favorites like Johanna Carlisle, Debby Rosenthal as stage mother Judy Denmark, and Rusty Ferracane in the drag role of flamboyant manager Sylvia St. Croix. A four-piece cabaret band plays just offstage — still clearly visible in the cozy confines of the black box.
Glick declares, “I promise you, when you walk out of that theater, you will not regret coming to see the show.” Barnard agrees. “If you’re looking for some laughs and…not just the same old fare…just when you think you’ve figured it out, it…keeps changing gears on you.” He concludes, “So it’s really not quite ‘til the bitter end that you know exactly what all’s happened and what transpired.”
“And I think you’ll really dig the black box,” Barnard adds. “We want to do…sort of like an off-Broadway type of material [in the new venue]…the gamut from quirky little musicals to aggressive niche musicals, comedies, or dramas; performance art, little musical revues, cabaret-style stuff…sometimes very heart-wrenching pieces that are…not for the masses…really interesting, provocative.” He cites productions like Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and Spring Awakening as recent examples.
“There’s a whole different kind of energy that happens…off-Broadway…. There’s usually a whole different kind of audience there, too…whether they’re a thrill-seeker, whether they’re a risk-taker, whether they’re politically-minded, whether they’re romantically inclined…” he says. These are audiences willing to venture beyond traditional shows.
“I think also half the fun or enjoyment of seeing an off-Broadway piece…is the conversation that’s stimulated by it.” Barnard continues purposefully, “And Lord knows…that’s one thing that theater can do…to provide reasons for communication and socialization in conversation, because we’re becoming so much more…isolated as we go into our telephones, into our computers…” He smiles and tips his head slightly. “It’s nice when you can put that phone down and just talk face to face…’Well, why’d you think that?’ or ‘I didn’t understand this part’…it asks you to have a reaction to it, so that you can converse about it.”
Managing Director Vincent VanVleet explains that the company’s carefully planned ongoing capital building campaign funded the new black box and the airy atrium connecting the two performance spaces.
He reminds me that, after 93 years, Phoenix Theatre is “one of only three professional theaters left in Phoenix presenting local productions.” Growth is vital, and audiences expand in more comfortable surroundings.
Other improvements and plans accompany the new black box: a private donor lounge, a small area set aside for group ticket patrons, an inviting 45-foot bar, and the atrium’s huge glass wall, which can be fully opened to the courtyard.
Staggered curtain & intermission times will optimize use of the expanded bathrooms. “It’s not lost on us that women are the primary purchasers of beverages and gift cart items, so if they’re standing in line they’re also not buying,” says VanVleet. “They’re the primary buyers of tickets, too.”
Theatergoers will take advantage of additional opportunities to attend performances, he says, especially expertly-staged off-Broadway-style productions. “People who buy the arts buy more arts, so we’re not in competition with any of the other companies in town,” VanVleet continues. “The data suggests that the more you go, the more you go.”
If you go:
- Phoenix Theatre’s Ruthless! The Musical continues through September 29 — tickets at phoenixtheatre.com or 602-254-2151
- Bonus: The Broadway Brat Karaoke Party on Wed., Sep. 18, at 6:30PM — free, but tickets required (also at phoenixtheatre.com or 602-254-2151)
- Phoenix Theatre’s season in the Black Box Theatre:
Last November, Artlink, Inc. launched a “Collectors Tour,” its first new initiative since its support of Third Friday gallery night.
The goal of the Collectors Tour program is to bring established and emerging collectors into downtown Phoenix galleries and nurture opportunities for artists and galleries to connect with new buyers. The tours promote the range and quality of work being created and shown in downtown, and help define Phoenix as a vibrant arts market.
The next Collectors Tour is on Saturday, September 21 from 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm. This is the first of two special editions, as the featured galleries were selected from more than a dozen entries by Dr. Sara Cochran, curator of modern and contemporary art for the Phoenix Art Museum and Gabriela Muñoz, her curatorial assistant.
Tour participants will gain intimate access to the galleries and have a chance to talk with the artists and curators one-on-one.
Dr. Cochran said, “I’m always happy to see the energy and diversity of the downtown scene. It’s always good to see new work by artists I know and to see new work by artists I have not yet met.”
On Saturday, September 21, the Artlink Collectors Tour will feature Gabriela Muñoz as the host and guide and will include visits to:
- monOrchid Gallery – 78 Years in the Fast Lane, a retrospective of work by painter Fred Tiekken and Fata Morgana, photographs by Sean Deckert focused on the intersection of urban landscape and human development.
- Five15 Arts – Generation CSA, a “fabricated plants” installation by Mary Shindell exploring the contemporary affinity people have with gardening and the unforgiving forces of nature.
- Frontal Lobe Gallery – Sex: A Woman’s Perspective, a group show of established local artists
In commenting on her participation in the selection process for the September tour, Muñoz said, “The most enjoyable part of the selection process…was getting to see the wonderful diversity of events and exhibitions planned by the different art spaces downtown in the coming months. I had known of the commitment of our artistic community in exhibiting in downtown Phoenix, but I was reminded of the quality and serious engagement of our local artists. This process was also a moment to reflect on all the hard work that so many professionals undertake every month, in the running of art galleries and creative spaces around town.”
As encouragement to everyone to participate, Munoz concluded, “The arts community is only as strong as we choose to make it with our engagement—so please come on in, the water is warm.”
What: Artlink Collectors Tour – September
When: Saturday, September 21, 1:00-4:00 pm
Where: Tour departs from the Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 N. Central Avenue
Cost: $35 per ticket; or two for $60, includes transportation to the galleries, refreshments, and an expert guide.
About Artlink Artlink, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to linking artists, business and the public to better understand, appreciate and support a thriving arts community in downtown Phoenix. Artlink supports a variety of community-based art events happening throughout the year and also operates the A.E. England Gallery, which is committed to showcasing the talents of new and emerging local artists. Ongoing community projects include, support of the First Fridays Art Walk, the country’s largest self-guided gallery tour; Artlink Collectors Tours, specially selected guided gallery tours; an annual Juried Exhibition; and the annual Art Detour self-guided tour, featuring open studios, pop-up galleries, family-friendly art experiences and more. Artlink’s year-round activities are supported by Phoenix Art Museum, Dunn Transportation, Snell & Wilmer, Arizona Commission on the Arts, Phoenix Community Alliance, The Torosian Foundation, Downtown Voices Coalition, Grand Avenue Merchants Association, Roosevelt Row CDC, Phoenix Center for the Arts, 6th Avenue Gallery, Urban Affair (owner of DPJ) and Invexi Web Development. For more information, visit artlinkphoenix.com.
Photos courtesy of Phoenix Art Museum
Here at DPJ, we’re all about sharing what we love. Beyond the stories that make us love downtown, we often come across things that catch our eye, tingle our senses or have us dancing in delight. “We Like…” turns a brief spotlight on the little treasures that make our day, with helpful links so you can share in the fun.
Okay, I know I’m eccentric, but as I move oh so gently into my, ahem, late adulthood…I still retain my deep fondness for a well made stuffed animal. Not just any stuffed animal will do, however. Quality materials and construction, whimsical facial expressions, robust stuffing, and a palpable aura of personality separates the especially worthy “lovey” from the stuffed animal dreck that line the shelves of big box toy stores.
Made Art Boutique carries two of my current favorite heirloom-quality, handmade stuffed toys. The newest addition to the store is Elizabeth Pomeroy’s line, The Painted Sparrow, which features owls (pictured above), hedgehogs and whales colorfully crafted from recycled fabrics and felts.
They are a great complement to a long time Made favorite, Jennifer Syfu’s Sighfoo Stuffies made from recycled sweaters (left).
If you are looking for a child’s gift, or simply have a not-so-secret fondness for whimsical stuffed creatures, head over to 5th Street and Roosevelt at your earliest opportunity to check them out.
Made Art Boutique, 922 N. 5th St., 602-256-MADE
Want to share your love? Send a note to email@example.com and tell us what YOU like.