Downtown Phoenix is a great place to celebrate any occasion, and Riette Pretorius Bartlett, owner and senior events coordinator for Downtown Phoenix Venues, knows this perhaps better than anyone.
Since 2010, she and her team have helped their clients host memorable events, including weddings and corporate parties in some of downtown’s most memorable spaces. From restored warehouses to art galleries, these venues features unique historical and architectural elements that automatically infuse a sense of culture and style into any event.
As Pretorius Bartlett points out, “none of these spaces were built to be wedding or event venues, making them different and unique. They all have a separate purpose. One was a laundry, a literal ice house, a mart, they just happen to have the right amount of open space for private events . . . these building are all around 100 years old. It is such a treat for visitors and Phoenicians to see true history, and to host an event within a space like that.”
In managing these spaces, the team at Downtown Phoenix Venues aim to go above and beyond to make their clients’ dreams a reality – from helping them stay organized, to vendor recommendations, to helping to keep their timeline on course. “We really want our clients to walk away thrilled,” says Pretorius Bartlett.
Within the Downtown Phoenix core, you’ll find a wide variety of locations that will make any event a special one. As Pretorius Bartlett notes, “these spaces are a destination on their own, well worth the trip to see a bit of Arizona history.”
Below is the list of spaces that Downtown Phoenix Venues has to offer, along with a sampling of other unique special event locations within the downtown Phoenix area.
AVAILABLE THROUGH DOWNTOWN PHOENIX VENUES
Venue: The Icehouse
Location: 5th Avenue & Jackson
Vibe: “One word: raw. This historic space is absolutely unique and the years have left it close to its original look. The roofless cathedral room is like no other space in the valley, truly extraordinary.”
Venue: Bentley Projects
Location: 3rd St. & Grant
Vibe: “Raw, but polished, with the white walls, exposed red bricks, wooden bow truss ceilings and world class art on the walls. This space is the perfect balance between raw and polished to please both the young and old.”
Venue: Phoenix Merchandise Mart
Location: 1st St. & Jackson
Vibe: Former location of Phoenix Merchandise Mart in 1946: “Like being in a downtown Brooklyn building.”
Venue: Red Bricks on 7th Street
Location: 1st St. & Jackson
Vibe: “This intimate brick building has more of a woman’s touch with it hosting an in-house florist. They have beautiful exposed bricks with repurposed pallets, giving it a more delicate touch.”
Venue: Legend City
Location: 7th Ave. & Van Buren
Vibe: “Owned by 4 creative men (3 photographers and 1 painting artist,) this space has the clean white walls of Bentley and also the exposed brick. This intimate space is perfect for smaller events.”
ADDITIONAL VENUES IN DOWNTOWN PHOENIX
Venue: The Duce
Location: Warehouse district – 525 S Central Ave. Corner of Lincoln & Central
Vibe: Restored 1928 warehouse featuring vintage soda fountain, bar, and airstream trailer. The feel: “authentic, vintage, retro, comfy and cool.”
Contact: Steve Rosenstein, Co-Owner. 480 650 9160 or email@example.com
Venue: Children’s Museum of Phoenix
Location: Downtown Phoenix – 7th Street & Van Buren.
Capacity: Up to 1,250 guests
Vibe: “A special events venue with historic elegance and contemporary cool. It’s not just for the children; it’s for the child in all of us.”
Contact: Alex Wurth, Special Events Manager. 602.648.2747 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Venue: Arizona Science Center
Location: 600 E Washington St. – 7th Street & Washington
Vibe: “Arizona Science Center is the perfect, modern science-y backdrop to your special day. Immerse and interact with loved ones in a futuristic setting unique to you!”
Contact: Emily Gagnon, Sales & Events Manager. 602-716-2021 or email@example.com
Venue: Phoenix Art Museum
Location: 1625 N. Central Ave. – Central & McDowell
Capacity: For receptions: up to 250 with dancing; For ceremonies: up to 150
Vibe: “The space is architecturally special. Cummings Great Hall has 27ft ceilings with large-scale contemporary art and a dramatic lobby for arrivals. The Dorrance Sculpture Garden is an enclosed urban oasis for ceremonies. Photo-ops abound. Year-round climate control of 72 degrees.”
Contact: Events Department. (602)307-2019 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Location: Roosevelt Row – between 2nd & 3rd street
Capacity: 250+, depending on season. 150 for seated reception.
Vibe: “The monOrchid is well-known in the Downtown Phoenix Arts District as a modern industrial chic gallery which offers its visitors a one of a kind urban experience. With masonry walls and soaring natural wood bow trusses, the historic remodeled warehouse is a truly unique place which can accommodate any event ranging from large receptions with musical performances, to intimate sit-down dinners, weddings, receptions, business meetings, photo & film shoots, fashion shows, and fundraisers.”
Contact: Ashton Brown. 602.253.0339 or ashton@monOrchid.com
The enduring tradition of Oktoberfest just goes to show that the Germans knew how to throw a great party. The Arizona Center for Germanic Cultures will continue their party-throwing tradition this Saturday in Hance Park. What began as a massive wedding celebration for the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig I and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen carries on 200 years later as an annual celebration of all things deliciously Deutschland. Of course, Oktoberfest isn’t just an excuse to pull your favorite lederhosen out of mothballs. It a great opportunity to learn a bit about a key part of the event and something the Germans do exceedingly well: make beer!
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, beers acquire their flavor from different varieties of hops, barley and wheat. Hops are a type of vine with flowers that are used in the process of brewing.
Soil chemistry and nutrients are critical to the taste of hops, as well as the taste of grapes used for winemaking. Loose soils are ideal since they provide the necessary level of water drainage.
Filtration is also a key part of the process. Mother Nature knows this and thus provides a natural filter in the form of a mineral called Diatomite. Diatomaceous earth, as it’s also know, is often used in farming for grain storage as a natural insecticide and an anti-caking agent.
Now that you’re in on a few of the brewers’ secrets, you can enjoy the fruits and grains of their labor and raise a stein to Ludwig and Therese at the Old World Phoenix Oktoberfest on Saturday October 4th at Margaret T. Hance Park. The celebration starts at noon with a ceremonial keg-tapping and carries on til 9pm. Look for rides, music, dancing, authentic German food and beer – lots of beer.
If you go:
What: Phoenix Oktoberfest Festival
When: Saturday, October 4, 12:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Where: Margaret T. Hance Park, 1202 N. 3rd Street (entrance to festival is off of East Moreland Street)
Admission: $10 per adult, under 21 is free. To pre-purchase your tickets.
It may look a little imposing from the outside, but the Irish Cultural Center and the adjoining McClelland Library offer an astonishing gamut of Irish events and educational opportunities for anyone who wants to know a little more about the rich history and culture of the Emerald Isle. At first glance, you may ask yourself “An Irish cultural center, in Arizona?,” but a surprising number of Irish immigrants and transplants have made their way to Arizona in the last 150 years, and this unique complex is an important cultural resource for anyone who wants to better understand their real or imagined Irish roots. Fashioned after authentic Irish buildings and built with some traditional materials, like the blue limestone that was brought to the site from County Galway, the Center transports visitors to another time and place.
Situated on the southeast corner of Hance Park and Central Ave, the Irish Cultural Center was created out of a unique public/private partnership among the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department; ADOT; a Sister City relationship with Ennis, Ireland; and the nonprofit Irish Cultural and Learning Foundation. The foundation raised the initial $100,000 to plan for the center, and the project received bond money to construct the initial elements of the site: An Gorta Mór Hunger Memorial (dedicated in 1999); An Halla Mór, aka The Great Hall (dedicated on St. Patrick’s Day in 2002); and the Irish 1850′s Cottage (dedicated in 2004).
The most recent addition to the complex, the McClelland Library, is a three story building resembling a traditional 12th century Norman castle, which was fully-funded by Norman McClelland of the Arizona-based, family-owned Shamrock Farms. “While the Center as whole embraces many aspects of Irish life and culture,” said Chas Moore, the head librarian for the McClelland (pictured right), “the library gives us an opportunity to showcase Ireland’s rich art and literary traditions, as well as provide genealogy resources for people interested in tracing their own Irish backgrounds.”
Now is a perfect time to visit both the Center and the McClelland library, as they launch a month and a half of special programming to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the publication of James Joyce’s The Dubliners.
Joyce wrote the groundbreaking collection of short stories in 1905 and spent nearly ten years struggling to get it published because of controversial elements in the stories. After Irish publishers repeatedly refused the collection, it was finally published in London in 1914. The celebration features events from September 24 through November 8.
Celebrate the 100-Year Anniversary of the Publication of The Dubliners
Wednesday, September 24, 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.: Lecture on “James Joyce’s The Dubliners: Still Engaging Readers and Writers 100 Years After Publication” presented by Irish-born poet Adrienne Leavy. $5 donation for nonmembers, free for members.
Saturday, October 11, 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.: Book discussion of the first fourteen stories in The Dubliners. Free to everyone.
Wednesday, October 22, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.: Screening of the independent film Dubliners in Arizona featuring local actors and settings. $5.00 for members, $7.50 for nonmembers.
Saturday, November 8, 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.: Discussion of the final story in the collection, “The Dead” and a screening of the film directed by John Huston and starring his daughter, Angelica Huston.
If you haven’t yet crossed the threshold of the Irish Cultural Center and the McClelland Library, don’t hesitate. In addition to the wonderful buildings, the rich resources, and the regular events and celebrations held there, this hidden gem hosts an array of ongoing Irish language, dancing and music classes available to everyone.
If You Go:
What: Irish Cultural Center and McClelland Library
Where: 1106 N. Central Avenue
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.; Wednesday evening open till 8:00 p.m.
Featured image courtesy of Irish Cultural Center
DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
When Roosevelt Historic District homeowner Tony Tardino approached downtown artists Chele Hill and Andy Brown about painting custom murals on adjoining cinderblock walls, the independent artists didn’t hesitate for a moment. Not only did the rustic urban medium present an artistic challenge in both scope and perspective, but it brought with it an opportunity for the pair of painters to bond as they “slung paint” just feet from one another.
“Any opportunity to paint is a good time, but this was different,” says Hill, an emerging newcomer to the Phoenix arts community who has celebrated what she calls ‘corporate sobriety’ by fully immersing herself in the scene as an Articipant of ArtLink and Tri-Chair for the upcoming Grand Ave Festival.
“It was a really fun neighborhood project,” adds Brown, an established Phoenix artist who lives and works downtown and for years has been putting his signature mark on walls in the valley and around the nation. “My career has expanded beyond what I ever thought possible as far as doing mural work and it makes me proud that it all started here in Phoenix.”
While Hill and Brown began the projects as independent artists with no formal connection aside from their mutual love for artistic expression, the two quickly learned their lives and their art were perfectly complementary. Both native Phoenicians (who, coincidentally, had no trouble reaching the top of their respective cinderblock canvases since both stand well over six feet tall), the two are freehand artists focused on reviving the downtown arts community one piece at a time.
“This mural project was even more special to me because I have photos of myself playing on this same street when I was little and my grandmother lived just around the corner,” says Hill. “I love having a hand in bringing this area to life!”
The finished products – Hill’s ethereal female visage and Brown’s ocean-like topography – are located at 7th Ave. and Roosevelt/Portland, and will be on the route for Phoenix’s September First Friday. Brown’s mural was created exclusively using aerosol paint; Hill’s design incorporates brushed and pumped acrylic.
“I am so very happy with both murals,” says Tardino, an active member of the Roosevelt Action Association who, as a renovator, cherishes making something ugly into something beautiful. “The murals turn a huge corner into a glorious and wonderful piece of art that enhances the whole neighborhood. I know it brings smiles to thousands of drivers each day.”
“It feels great to be a part of what’s happening downtown, and to see the ecosystem for artists improve and be a part of that,” says Brown. “The goal for me on this project was to provide something enjoyable for the community.”
To see more of Hill and Brown’s work, visit facebook.com/CHillOriginalArt or Soldierleisure.com (Instagram @sleisure), or stop by CHill Space Studio on Grand Ave. or Andy’s studio in the Historic Westminster Building at 2nd Ave. and Roosevelt.
DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
Intersections by Nuna Dow – One Night Only, First Friday, Sept 5th, 6-9pm
Please join us First Friday, September 5th for the very last show at 720 Gallery.
We are delighted to have Nuna Dow as our featured artist for our final evening.
Nuna’s work is vibrant: she creates mixed media canvasses through an intuitive layering of vivid colors and contrasting textures. Born in Baghdad of an Iraqi mother and Czech father and educated in England, Nuna spent many years in Europe and South America. Her works are reflective of a life lived among so many unique cultures.
Also that evening, 720 Gallery and Nuna Dow will host “Artists helping Artists,” a benefit for Bassim Al-Shaker, a fellow Arizona artist who lost several paintings when they were stolen from his studio in a recent robbery.
Nuna will donate 10% of her First Friday sales and Gallery 720 owner Nancy Hill will contribute all gallery profits made that evening to Artists Helping Artists.
Please stop by, meet Nuna Dow, see her amazing work and join us for our gallery closing event to help raise money for artist, Bassim Al-Shaker.
When: First Friday, September 5th
6-9pm at 720 Gallery
Where: 720 N. 4th Street
Parking available in lot behind building
Photographs of artwork by Nuna Dow courtesy of 720 Gallery.