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.
I love stumbling on secret delights in cities – the odd alleyway, a hidden bench behind a bushy shrub, or a work of art where you least suspect it. My early years in Phoenix were marked by dismay that I couldn’t get out and wander about as a pedestrian. I got a dog and walked my residential neighborhood, but I specifically craved city streets and their eccentricities.
There was, however, one thing about Phoenix that gave me hope for the great city it would become – its world class public art. Even 21 years ago when I first arrived, Phoenix was way ahead of the game in making art an integral part of its bones, especially given the irony that, at that time, the city was exploding with gruesome suburban sprawl.
But the public art was a revelation and, over the years, innovative public art throughout Phoenix has continued to shape the way our beautiful city feels. One of my favorite tucked-away examples in the heart of downtown is The Hohokam Camshaft Gates.
This wonderful, but easy-to-miss piece is a perfect combination of art and infrastructure. In 1994, Phoenix artists Bob Adams and Michael Maglich were commissioned to collaborate on the design and fabrication of gates for the loading area of the Phoenix Convention Center. They hit the nail on the head with a concept and execution that always makes me smile.
The spindles for the gates represent diesel truck camshafts, a nice nod to the importance of the trucking industry in the operation of the Convention Center. The masks that top the gates pay homage to the Hohokam people, the first Phoenix urban dwellers. The masks were sculpted by C. Matt Thomas and are enlarged reproductions from prehistoric Hohokam figurines. Kudos to everyone on this project!
The end result is a functional, but beautiful gate on the backside of the convention center, where visitors aren’t as likely to be wandering. It comes as a happy surprise for those who do stumble upon it. And when you stop and take it in, it tells an authentic story about this particular spot and the role it plays in our city. I love it because it isn’t grand, but it is integral. Stroll by and check it out. (A side note: when the Convention Center was renovated and expanded in the mid-2000s, half of the gate was moved to the Shemer Center.)
If You Go
What: The Hohokam Camshaft Gates
Where: Loading Dock Area – backside (east) of Phoenix Convention Center, on 5th Street between Jefferson and Washington Streets
Artists: Bob Adams, Michael Maglich
Want to share your love? Send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us what YOU like.
DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
DOWNTOWN PHOENIX INC SEEKS LOCAL ARTIST TO DESIGN DOWNTOWN DIRECTORY COVER
Artists are asked to submit a proposal for the brochure-sized cover capturing the spirit of Downtown Phoenix’s diversity and vibrancy while paying tribute to the urban landscape. The deadline for submissions is April 30.
The call continues the recent trend of artist-designed covers for Downtown publications, including artists Christina Mesiti on the 2012-2013 Downtown Dining Guide, Meghan Mitchell on the 2012 Annual Report, Jesa Townsend on the 2013-2014 Dining Guide, Jon Arvizu on the 2014 January-June Downtown Business Directory and Barry Goldstein on the 2013 Annual Report.
The Directory will be distributed to businesses, restaurants and major event locations inside and outside of Downtown and through the Downtown Ambassador team.
For more information on how to submit, please visit http://www.downtownphoenix.com/blog/2014/04/design-our-directory-and-dining-guide-cover/
Image courtesy of Downtown Phoenix, Inc., featuring cover art by Jon Arvizu.
As an independent chronicler of all things downtown, DPJ takes a comprehensive approach to covering the urban living movement in Phoenix and, with this Conversation series, spotlighting the people who make it move.
“The important lesson is that we have to hold our principles dear.”
Tim Eigo is a longtime community advocate who moved to Phoenix and settled in the F.Q. Story neighborhood 17 years ago. Both of his daughters, ages 12 and 17, attend Arizona School for the Arts and over the years he has been deeply engaged at a community level in helping to create a stronger, more livable city. He currently serves as Chair of the Downtown Voices Coalition (DVC) and as a board member of Downtown Phoenix Inc. (DPI).
DVC grew out of a day-long facilitated discussion about the future of downtown that took place in May 2004 with a wide variety of stakeholders at the Icehouse. For ten years they have continued to meet and promote a vision of a downtown that embraces the arts, affordable housing, historic preservation and locally owned businesses. He refers to himself and his community advocate colleagues as “neighbors,” which characterizes his deep commitment to the DVC vision.
When asked to name the key changes have invigorated downtown, Eigo points directly to leadership, but he remains a little wary about whether we’ve actually made enough progress. “The thing that invigorates cities are leaders who get it, who understand what a city is, what urban dynamism is, and who are willing to work to make it happen,” he said. “And I don’t want to say that we’ve got it yet. I’m still not sure we’ve got it.”
“The thing that invigorates cities are leaders who get it, who understand what a city is, what urban dynamism is, and who are willing to work to make it happen.”
Yet, he admits there has been progress. “On my best days, when I see spaces and minds that get it, it makes a difference. When I am having a bad Phoenix day and I walk into the Burton Barr Library, or stand under Her Secret is Patience (the public art sculpture in Downtown Civic Space Park) I think that every now and then we do get it.”
What are the important lessons that have been learned over the years? “The important lesson is that we have to hold our principles dear,” he said. He points out that the impact of the recession has been fortunate, in a way, because it caused business and government leaders to be a lot more aligned with DVC values. “It’s easy to believe in small grain, local development and not just major projects when no developers have any money,” he says.
As the recession eases and developers have more money, however, he’s cautious about what will come. “I’m watching to see how much that commitment sticks. So far, I am not so confident,” he said. He pointed to the recent city-backed proposal to build the Pin at Heritage Square as an example of why he’s a bit skeptical of the progress in downtown. “It boggles the mind that the hardest question put to the group that brought it (the Pin) forward to the City Council was ‘can you have it built by the Super Bowl?’ As a neighbor, that’s an eye opener, that our elected leaders are at this low level of engagement on important items.”
On the other hand, he’s quick to recognize that another lesson we’ve learned is that engagement actually works. When citizens are engaged, good things can happen. As an example, he mentioned the development of light rail, which he and many others were involved in planning. “Light rail has transformed the valley.”
What are the most important steps we can take to continue developing a vibrant downtown from Eigo’s perspective? “For me, as a neighbor,” he said, “it comes down to transparency. Don’t lie to people. If there are opportunities to make positive change in the city, don’t tell us it’s a blank slate and all ideas are okay if they’re not. We’ve all participated in public charrettes that went on for six months and it turned out there was a plan in someone’s desk all along that they were going to adopt. We need to stop that sort of thing.”
The other step we need to take is bigger than just Phoenix, in Eigo’s view. “Nationwide there’s kind of a war on cities, on downtowns. Even in our own city council, we have a lot of suburban council people who don’t get downtown and don’t feel that they have to get it. They don’t even recognize downtown as an economic engine, which it is. And it’s not just Phoenix. This is happening across the country,” he continued. “And neighbors and urbanists need to band together and keep touting downtown.”
“I don’t think Arizona will be a significant stakeholder in any kind of national conversation if we don’t tout Phoenix and advance Phoenix. It is an enormous economic powerhouse.”
Why is a vibrant downtown so important? Two reasons, according to him. “I don’t think Arizona will be a significant stakeholder in any kind of national conversation if we don’t tout Phoenix and advance Phoenix. It is an enormous economic powerhouse.” The second reason a vibrant downtown is important is, as he puts it, “generational.” Looking to his own family, Eigo mentions that neither one of his daughters wants to stay in Phoenix after they are grown up. “They may change their mind,” he notes, “but when I try to marshal arguments for staying, I sometimes have a hard time. If we really want people to remain and contribute and not have a brain drain…we have to have reasons for them to stay.”
What challenges does Eigo see on the horizon? “The economy is getting better and we’re going to have to look inside to see that we have urbanist principles that we trust and are going to live by, from city hall right through community groups,” he said. “And we need to have a commitment to our historic structures.”
Eigo is excited to be a part of Downtown Phoenix, Inc. “DPI is a cool ‘laboratory of democracy’ kind of experiment. Getting these usually separate people (powerful corporate leaders and community-based leaders) in a room together….over time we begin to realize that we do overlap in some places. We discover that we have similar ideas about what makes a great city.” He knows that it doesn’t mean they will always agree on the strategy to achieve a great city, but recognizing the overlap is “very cool.” Still, Eigo appears to be cautiously optimistic.
“The potential (of DPI) is huge,” said Eigo. “If we could have similar principles that we share…to speak with a single voice about what makes a livable, sustainable city, that would be great.” Speaking of his own role on the board, he said, “I think what I, or any community member brings is honesty. They (corporate members) live in a complex world and they represent huge organizations – I don’t. We need to provide an honest wake up call: what flies, what doesn’t fly; what’s transparent and what’s opaque; what is truly sustainable and what is big box. If we’re not willing to look at things like CityScape and learn from them, then what’s the point? There’s plenty of cheerleading in this city already, that’s not our role.”
DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
HERE COMES THE PRO BOWL!
(MOST-WATCHED ALL-STAR GAME IN SPORTS)
“This is a unique opportunity and it gives us added focus as we work with the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee, the City of Phoenix and downtown stakeholders in the development of Super Bowl Central. There is an exciting potential for synergy with downtown Super Bowl activities, and we look forward to working on it.” – David Krietor, CEO of Downtown Phoenix Inc.
The National Football League announced today locations and dates for the next two Pro Bowls.
The Pro Bowl following the 2014 season will be played on Sunday, January 25, 2015 and televised live on ESPN at 8 PM ET from University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona, the site of Super Bowl XLIX a week later on Sunday, February 1. The Arizona Cardinals and Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee will host the Pro Bowl and surrounding activities.
The Pro Bowl following the 2015 season will be played on Sunday, January 31, 2016 and televised live on ESPN from Aloha Stadium in Hawaii, which first hosted the NFL’s All-Star game in 1980. San Francisco will host Super Bowl L the following Sunday.
The NFL has an agreement with the State of Hawaii to play the Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium following the 2016 season but final confirmation of the game will be made at a later date.
Watched by 11.4 million viewers in 2014, the Pro Bowl, presented by McDonald’s, has been the most-watched all-star game in all of sports the past four years.
The 2015 Pro Bowl will be the third one played in the same city as the Super Bowl. The Los Angeles Coliseum hosted the first Super Bowl on January 15, 1967 and the Pro Bowl the following week. South Florida hosted the Pro Bowl in 2010 a week before Super Bowl XLIV.
The 2015 Pro Bowl will be the sixth consecutive game played prior to the Super Bowl.
The 2014 Pro Bowl featured a significantly revised format that will continue. For the first time, the Pro Bowl was “unconferenced,” and several key playing rules were changed. Rather than the familiar AFC vs. NFC match-up that had existed since 1971, players were selected without regard to conference in voting by fans, coaches and players.
Tickets will be available first to Arizona Cardinals season ticket members and annual Pro Bowl season ticket holders. Pro Bowl annual ticket subscribers in Hawaii will maintain their account status for any future games at Aloha Stadium.
A unique opportunity to perform at all Mercury home games during the 2014 season
The Phoenix Mercury are looking for highly-energetic performers to audition for the 2014 Mercury Hip Hop Squad on Wednesday, April 9 on the Annexus Practice Court at US Airways Center. Registration begins at 6 p.m. with auditions starting at 6:30 p.m.
Those interested in auditioning must be at least 18 years of age by April 9. Members of the Hip Hop Squad are expected to perform at all Mercury home games, interact with fans and appear at community events throughout the 2014 season.
On the day of auditions, performers can park for free in the US Airways Center parking garage, located on the west side of the arena (on 1st Street just south of Jefferson). There is no fee to audition.
Finalists from round one of auditions will be asked to return for the final audition on Saturday, April 12 at Tempe Marketplace. The final audition will begin at 10 a.m. on the main stage near Dave and Busters, and is open to the public for viewing.
The Phoenix Mercury, presented by Casino Arizona and Talking Stick Resort, will open the 2014 WNBA season onSaturday, May 17, when they host the Seattle Storm at US Airways Center. And, don’t forget, this summer the Mercury and US Airways Center host Boost Mobile WNBA All-Star 2014 onJuly 19. Season tickets, ticket packs, All-Star ticket packs, and single-game tickets are available now on PhoenixMercury.com.
Image Courtesy of Barry Gossage/Phoenix Mercury.