When Jenny Poon and I originally outlined the strategic vision of the CO+HOOTS Foundation, we decided one of the the impact areas would be called “CO+CHANGE THE WORLD.” I knew in my heart that we would do it, I just wasn’t aware it would happen this quickly.
We started our conversations last December and not a year later, we were on a plane to Catania, Italy and sitting face-to-face with Elisa Toscano, our Italian counterpart— a strong visionary young woman who won’t take no for an answer.
Our presentation day was by far one of the proudest moments of my life as a Phoenician. I grew up in Phoenix, my backyard facing a mountain where we used to hike as kids while being wary of the snakes. Never in a million years did I ever think that one day I would be representing my city in international relationship building. There we sat with Phoenix Councilman Daniel Valenzuela, who had worked side by side with us and communicated on our behalf for weeks to acquire the necessary funding for us to go on the trip. (We received the necessary funding only a few weeks before the trip, so the planning went quickly and even required a trip to Tucson to get passports for some of our members.)
On the morning of the presentation, we were greeted by several dignitaries, including the President of the equivalent to their chamber of commerce, the President of Confstartup (their entrepreneur incubator), and of course our new BFF, Elisa. It was very formal. There was a ton of press and it was a much bigger deal than we had anticipated. We later learned that we were featured in the paper and on their television news programs.
At the presentation, we were each given the opportunity to talk about our businesses and I got to introduce and present with Jenny Poon. I have told many people this over the past 10 months of working with her, but I have never met a more strategic thinker than Jenny. She is one of the smartest business women I know. CO+HOOTS members Beth Cochran, founder of Wired PR Group, and Daniel Valencia of Levers also presented their companies. I was struck by the fact that while I work with them in the coworking space and collaborate with them on projects, it wasn’t until seeing them through other people’s eyes that I really understood how incredible that they are. I could tell that as we each presented, Councilman Valenzuela became increasingly proud that this was the representation that our city had to offer. That felt both validating and challenging at the same time. Via our conversations with the Italian entrepreneurs, we learned that the support we have from our local city government is unprecedented. They were in shock that we communicated with our Councilman via text message.
The President of the Commercico had some wonderful closing comments about how they want to follow what we are doing in Phoenix with pro bono service, B corps and a focus in coworking with a community. This is when I nearly burst into tears of joy. It was in that second that I recalled sitting at my kitchen table brainstorming with Jenny and throwing out the idea of creating global connections and expecting her to reel me back to reality, but instead she sketched out a little globe that said CO+CHANGE THE WORLD and we pinky-promised to make it happen. It’s surreal sitting in another country and having a very prominent businessman in the country say that they want to lead their city in the direction of a vision you put on paper. CO+CHANGE THE WORLD now didn’t seem like that lofty of a goal. In fact, with these kinds of innovators now in direct communication with each other, maybe it was too small?
That afternoon we took a tour of the new coworking space that they are launching. It is right on the Mediterranean sea. They seemed very eager to get our input on it. The enthusiasm and feeling of what “could be” was overpowering. We left with plans to connect, bring the Italians to Phoenix, and get them involved virtually with our community via our “SuccessLab” meetups and possible peer mentoring partnerships. We have plans to start that in early November with a possible CO+EXCHANGE to Phoenix in Spring 2015.
Catania is only one of the international cities planned for our CO+EXCHANGES program. In addition, we have plans for exchanges with Calgary, Canada and Hermosillo, Mexico within the year, as well as several US locations.
This week we bring our first visiting CO+EXCHANGER to Phoenix. Matthew Manos, a graphic designer and author from Los Angeles will cowork with us during Phoenix Pro Bono Week (Oct. 20-25).
Our goal is to conduct 12-15 CO+EXCHANGES in 2014-15, creating a global network of innovators all connected to our home city of Phoenix.
Dear Downtown Phoenix,
What a difference a decade can make! It has been incredibly gratifying to see the work of so many people that has resulted in today’s vibrant downtown. I have worked at Phoenix Art Museum at the northeast corner of Central Avenue and McDowell Road for the past forty years, and my wife Linda and I are residents of the Willo historic neighborhood so we’ve had an additional ringside seat to watch it all happen. We at the museum will continue to invest in helping further the success of our arts community and neighborhoods. When I look back on the growth that Phoenix Art Museum has experienced since I started here in my twenties – in physically expanding from the original 72,000 square feet to the 285,000 square feet it is today, as well as expanding our collection, our budget, and our reputation both nationally and internationally – it is tremendously satisfying.
There have been many milestones during my years at the museum. For me the most critical may have been with the City of Phoenix Bond Election in 1988. That was the launching point for the museum’s growth, and transformative to the entire arts community of Phoenix. I’m proud to have played a key role in that election and to have served as Treasurer for two City of Phoenix Bond Programs. Funds from the bond allowed Phoenix Art Museum to create and expand the Steele Gallery, Cummings Great Hall, JP Morgan Chase Lobby, Harnett Gallery and Whiteman Hall and to prepare for our first “blockbuster” exhibition, Splendors of Ancient Egypt in 1998, that attracted sellout crowds. We followed with other hit exhibitions including Monet at Giverny in 1999 and Secret World of The Forbidden City: Splendors from China’s Imperial Palace in 2001.
Five years later, after a $41.2 million campaign that included another cultural bond program, the museum completed our 18-year facilities master plan by opening the Greenbaum Lobby, Dorrance Sculpture Garden and the Marshall, Hendler, Anderman, Marcus, Marley, Brown, Norton and Men’s Art Council galleries in the Katz Wing for Modern Art. Shortly thereafter we opened Rembrandt and the Golden Age of Dutch Art: Treasures from the Rijksmusen, Amsterdam. At that time our acclaimed model program with The University of Arizona’s Center for Creative Photography was unveiled.
As you may have heard, in April 2014 I announced my intention to retire from my position as The Sybil Harrington Director after forty years of working at Phoenix Art Museum. Combined with the fact that I turned 65 this year and Linda and I have our eighth grandchild on the way, I decided it was the right time. As a result, the museum’s board of trustees has initiated a search process to find my replacement that I hope will take the reins of Phoenix Art Museum for the next generation. I plan to remain in my current role as long as necessary to ensure a deliberate, seamless succession process and a smooth transition.
Our staff and trustee leadership has always firmly believed in the museum’s mission: bringing great art from all over the world to the people of Arizona to enrich their lives and communities. Our board believes that Phoenix Art Museum should be a leader in the community and that philosophy has allowed me latitude, for which I am most grateful. I have had the privilege of working with many dedicated volunteers, great trustees and incredible staff members who have always worked together for the good of the museum. Many of those people have taught me a lot. With Linda’s support and that of our family we have enjoyed knowing and working with so many people.
I am most proud of how Phoenix Art Museum has served the community beyond our walls including the arts community and neighborhoods of downtown Phoenix. I am particularly grateful for the support I have received from museum members, the community, and many colleagues, and I look forward to watching as the museum continues adding to the cultural quality, enjoyment, and way of life in Arizona.
Phoenix Art Museum is moving forward with a great exhibition schedule planned through 2016, a quality staff, enthusiastic support organizations, and a strong Board of Trustees. It is crucial the museum keep its momentum strong to remain one of the top amenities of downtown Phoenix and specifically the arts community of our wonderful city.
With sincere thanks,
James K. Ballinger,
The Sybil Harrington Director
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ZOMBIE WALK 6 TAKES AIM AT UNDEAD RECORD
Since the Downtown Phoenix Ambassadors started Zombie Walk in 2009 the event has grown from a 200-zombie get-together into a widespread epidemic with an estimated attendance of over 10,000.
Presented by Downtown Phoenix, Inc. and 98 KUPD, Zombie Walk 6 returns to Heritage & Science Park in Downtown Phoenix on Saturday, Oct. 25 and this year the horde craves more than braaaains: It wants to make history.
Zombie Walk 6 is a free, family friendly (and bloody) community festival featuring live music on the Psyko Steve Main Stage (including Zombie Walk mainstays Recipe for Disaster a tribute to Guns ‘N’ Roses), Lil Zombie Zone kid’s area, Four Peaks beer gardens, some of the best homegrown special effects makeup you’ll ever see, and of course the 1.3-mile limp through our urban core that will attempt to break Asbury Park, N.J.’s 2013 record walk of 9,592 zombies.
Zombie Walk 6 opens at 2 p.m. with a carnival-like atmosphere as zombies slowly make their way into Downtown Phoenix to enjoy the music, vendors, kid’s activities and refreshments all while preparing to march toward zombie immortality.
Need help with your zombie transformation? The first 400 attendees who bring a non-perishable food donation benefiting St. Mary’s Food Bank will receive a voucher good for one entry level zombification makeover, including face deadening, eye darkening and a generous splattering of blood.
The main event will commence at dusk (lineup beginning at 5:30) when Grand Marshal John Holmberg from KUPD’s Morning Sickness leads the record-breaking horde of zombies on a leisurely 1.3-mile shuffle and moan through the heart of Downtown Phoenix. There will be surprises along the route, including appearances by the Department of Zombie Defense, Arizona Ghostbusters and much more.
After terrorizing Downtown, Zombie Walk 6 will return to the park for a costume contest and more music and fun.
Photos courtesy of Joseph M Abbruscato of Mr Anathema Photography.
David Krietor has served as 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. Read the other chats here.
Admit it. You sometimes spell Phoenix wrong. Pheonix. Phoneix. Even the City of Phoenix does too. But it’s going to be pretty hard – and heavy – to make edits on several misspelled cast iron manhole covers spotted by eagle-eyed downtowners. From here on out, as you read this update on downtown Phoenix goings-on, be assured that spell-check is on.
While there continues to be concern about the regional and state economy, downtown projects continue to move forward. Here’s the latest news on several notable downtown and midtown projects in the works: Central Station (Central & Van Buren), Lennar Multifamily Communities (Central & McDowell), and several Phoenix Convention Center-managed spaces, including the former Matador restaurant (1st St. & Adams).
A noted local attorney has contributed $10 million to help build Arizona State University’s new Arizona Center for Law and Society, including the future home of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, in downtown Phoenix. The contribution from Leo and Annette Beus is the largest single donation ever to the law school.
Last spring, Professor Lauren Allsopp and 16 graduate students from ASU’s School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning set out to create a reactivation plan for downtown’s historic, yet endangered, Warehouse District. The students’ work is summarized here.
Grand Canyon University is housing nearly 200 upperclass students at Roosevelt Point Apartments (3rd St. & Roosevelt) due to a shortage of onsite housing at the university’s 35th Ave. & Camelback campus. Last year, Roosevelt Point housed some GCU students, but on a much smaller scale.
On September 27 (before the rains came), a group of young downtown advocates organized and staged “Better Block PHX” on the block between Pierce and Garfield to demonstrate how existing “dead zones” (e.g., empty lots, vacant storefronts, asphalt parking lots) can be transformed into lively streetscapes, marketplaces, and community hubs.
On September 18, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration changed the west outbound flight path for planes departing from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. The change directs planes to turn at a lower altitude between early afternoon and 2 a.m. over Lower Grand Avenue, rather than a more westerly and higher turn. The public in general and residents of the affected residential neighborhoods specifically were not made aware of the change, resulting in more than 240 noise questions or complaints in two weeks. In comparison, airport officials received 221 such complaints in all of 2013. The FAA and city officials will hold a community meeting on October 16 to discuss the noise complaints and rationale for the change.
City and economic development leaders are touting Phoenix to host one of three NCAA Basketball Final Fours in 2017, 2019, or 2020. Downtown Phoenix is key to the Final Four bid package because of the number of hotel rooms and the Phoenix Convention Center, which would be the site of the National Association of Basketball Coaches convention and the “Bracket Town” fanfest event. This is another great example of the working partnership that has emerged between the Phoenix CVB, Phoenix Convention Center and DPI.
My colleague Dan Klocke with the Downtown Phoenix Community Development Corp. noted in a Downtown Devil article that this summer’s retail outlook in downtown was on par with, if not better than, previous years. “We’ve seen a few more restaurants open up and a couple more coming, and we see hotel occupancy levels climbing in the first six months of the year compared to last year, so that’s good.”
Some of the businesses that recently announced their intent to open downtown include GrabbaGreen (CityScape) and Sutra Yoga (2nd St. & Portland). Unfortunately we did lose one, The Local restaurant (3rd St. & Roosevelt) after a six month run.
Last month, the City of Phoenix won a $1.6 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery federal grant to extend light rail from downtown Phoenix to Baseline Road. Thousands of residents of south Phoenix will reap the benefits of a stronger public transportation system that increases their mobility to other parts of the Valley. This is a big deal and one more important contribution by retiring Representative Ed Pastor.
Seed Spot, the non-profit social entrepreneurial incubator, hosted Maria Contreras-Sweet, administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. Upon touring the Seed Spot office at Central and Thomas, Contreras-Sweet commended founder Courtney Klein on the group’s achievements, noting “I love the feel. It feels so organic.”
Co+Hoots, a coworking space in downtown Phoenix, has been ranked #8 on a list of the top 75 coworking spaces in the U.S. Symmetry50, a national bookkeeping service for small businesses, compiles the list. Founder Jenny Poon and Co+Hoots Foundation leader Kristin Romaine serve on the DPI Community Advisory Panel.
On the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, Barry Broome and Ioanna Morfessis, respectively the current and past CEOs of GPEC, wrote this Arizona Republic op-ed and noted that downtown is all about what metro Phoenix could be: diversity, creativity, education, and entrepreneurship.
News for a Health, Fitness & Safety Checkup
DPI, Downtown Phoenix Journal, PCA and the Phoenix Suns invite you to attend our third Radiate PHX business and community networking event on Tuesday, October 21 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Verve Lounge at US Airways Center. Topics include updates on sports and fitness initiatives such as “FitPHX” and “Meet Me Downtown,” plus a preview of the Suns basketball season. Guest speakers include Councilman Daniel Valenzuela, chair of the Downtown, Aviation, and Redevelopment Committee; Suns President Jason Rowley; and Ralph Marchetta, vice president of ticket operations and general manager of sports and entertainment services for US Airways Center.
The urban bicycle advocacy group, Phoenix Spokes People, has organized a series of events and activities in “Biketober” to promote the cause of cycling in metro Phoenix.
Thanks to the Arizona Cardinals, Super Bowl Host Committee, and NFL Foundation, the high school football field at the Arizona State University Preparatory Academy received much needed new sod, paint, and scoreboard. ASU Prep, a K-12 school at 7th St. & Fillmore, sits on the site of Montgomery Stadium. The then, 22,000-seat stadium was the largest in Arizona and one of the largest high school arenas in the country.
Students from Phoenix Union Bioscience High School gathered with members of the downtown Phoenix community on September 27 to build a community learning garden as part of the third annual Green Apple Service Day.
On October 4, an estimated 1,500 Garfield neighborhood residents – young, old, and in-between – participated in one of the city’s largest “Getting Arizonans Involved In Neighborhoods” (GAIN) events. Garfield’s unique social mixer and health fair, GAIN-FIESTA, was sponsored by numerous corporate, nonprofit, and educational groups, and organized by dozens of volunteers.
Fall-ing for the Arts
Goodbye summer heat, hello fall not-as-hot weather. What fall also brings is a jam-packed schedule of arts and culture events and activities throughout downtown Phoenix. October’s First Friday was as popular as ever, as evidenced by the 1,000-plus riders on the Artlink Trolley. Large crowds enjoyed Chaos Theory 15 and new this month was the AZ365 pop-up gallery on Roosevelt Row, sponsored by the Arizona Republic and Artlink.
Congratulations to the ASU International Artist Residency Program, located at Combine Studios in downtown Phoenix, for being awarded a $144,000 grant from The Institute of Museum and Library Services to commission three new artists from across the globe to develop art projects that engage the public, such as exhibits, lectures, performances, and publications. Greg Esser, director of the program, is a superstar.
Congratulations also to the Ground Cover Public Art Project, sponsored by the City of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture and situated on a vacant lot in downtown Phoenix, for receiving a first place award in Arizona Forward’s 34th Annual Environmental Excellence Awards.
Phoenix was one of more than 300 cities chosen to participate in a 10-day global film festival late last month and early this month. The Manhattan Short Film Festival is an annual showing of international, independently produced short films. Ten finalists were selected by an international panel of experts.
Let’s note the life and passing of Patrick Anthony Lawlor, age 94, the last of the core group to build a place for Arizona’s Irish families to gather, the Irish Cultural Center at Margaret T. Hance Park. According to Mary Moriarty, the Center’s operations manager, Patrick was the patriarch of the local Irish community, having been involved in its formation for 60 years. “Plus he was the gentlest and nicest little man you would ever want to meet.”
DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
The Yard Gets its Groove on to Host Second Annual YardStock Music Festival
Mid-year music fest hosted in partnership with McDowell Mountain Music Festival
You don’t have to wait until March to take in McDowell Mountain Music Festival’s “Party for the People” because The Yard in Phoenix is offering music lovers an exclusive preview at its second annual YardStock Music Festival from 3:30 – 11 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 18.
The free festival, which is being hosted by The Yard’s Culinary Dropout and Little Cleo’s Seafood Legend in partnership with McDowell Mountain Music Festival and Deschutes Brewery, will feature one and a half-hour sets from some of the Valley’s best local artists.
The lineup is as follow:
- 3:30 – 5 p.m. Black Bottom Lighters
- 5 – 6:30 p.m. The Hourglass Cats
- 6:30 – 8 p.m. Bryan Hawkesworth & Sydney Collins
- 8 – 9:30 p.m. Gus Campbell
- 9:30 – 11 p.m. Carvin Jones
A portion of proceeds from each Deschutes beer sold during the event will be donated to McDowell Mountain Music Festival, the only 100 percent non-profit music festival in Arizona, and ultimately its designated charities including Phoenix Children’s Hospital Foundation and UMOM New Day Center.
Guests can enjoy the music while dining at Culinary Dropout or Little Cleo’s, and take part in backyard-style games including cornhole, ping-pong, and shuffleboard. The Yard encourages locals to pedal their way into YardStock and utilize one of the provided bike racks.
The Yard is located at 5632 N. Seventh St. in Phoenix. Visit www.foxrc.com or call 602-680-4040 for more details.
Images courtesy of Fox Restaurant Concepts.