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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Mayor Stanton, City Leaders Break Ground at Pivotal Phoenix Development
Mayor Greg Stanton and members of the Phoenix City Council joined the Sustainable Communities Collaborative on March 4 to break ground on a pioneering, mixed-use development project located on a vacant lot at the gateway into downtown and the Roosevelt neighborhood.
Metrowest Development is set to break ground on the “Union @ Roosevelt” – a mixed use residential and retail development — strategically placed on the light rail line, in what has become one of the more walkable and bikeable areas of downtown Phoenix. The development attributes a large part of its progress to a redevelopment loan provided by the Sustainable Communities Collaborative’s (SCC) $20 million Fund and the public and community support the Collaborative shepherded throughout every stage of the project over the last several years. The SCC is a Collaborative that consists of 35+ public, private, non-profit, and foundation partners. Its core mission is to work with all partners to implement equitable transit oriented development within the Valley’s 20-mile light rail corridor.
“The culture change in the Valley’s development and real estate industry toward more inclusive community development is making Arizona more globally competitive while supporting a more diverse economic foundation,” says SCC Co-Founder and Director Shannon Scutari. “The Collaborative catalyzes and influences this transformation by closely working with city officials, developers, community organizations and neighborhoods along the entire light rail line, to create interesting, inclusive, mixed- income communities. These communities attract and retain talented workers, meeting their housing, transportation and healthy community needs and responds to corporations looking to locate or expand within world-class cities which can offer unique and interesting experiences.”
Mayor Stanton, Councilman Michael Nowakowski and Councilwoman Kate Gallego spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony along with Metrowest Development partners, Matt Seaman and Doug Gannett. Both partners were on hand to highlight unique aspects of the project and innovative plans.
Renderings for Union @ Roosevelt courtesy of Metrowest Development, LLC.
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Antique Sugar Vintage Relocating to Roosevelt District
Antique Sugar Vintage Clothing, five year staple of the Melrose district, will be relocating to the Roosevelt district at the beginning of April.
A target opening date of April 3rd (first friday) has been set for the new shop located at 801 N. 2nd St, pending completion of construction. At nearly 2000 square feet, the new space will be able house the boutique’s extensive collection of men’s and women’s clothing that spans the 20th century. The vintage clothier will be sharing the building, formerly offices built in the 1950’s, with a Bar/Arcade and an architectural firm.
Co-owner, Sarah Bingham, says “The move will be bittersweet for us. We’re going to miss our partners in crime at Zinnias so much, but we’re super excited for this new chapter and to be a part of all the amazing things that are happening downtown.” Similarly, Annamarie Sanchez, co-owner, states “I’m sad to be leaving Melrose, but I feel like it’s the right decision with the way downtown is growing. I’m looking forward to the exciting new environment.”
Antique Sugar will be open in it’s original location, inside Zinnias at Melrose Antique Mall, through the final weekend in March. The owners plan to maintain a booth of their signature vintage clothing and accessories at Zinnias for the foreseeable future.
Images courtesy of Antique Sugar.
The annual Art d’Core Gala is the official kickoff party for Art Detour 27, and it’s happening this Saturday evening at Crescent Ballroom. It’s a “don’t miss” event with art, music, food and drinks, along with Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton’s annual address on the progress of downtown.
Art d’Core is all about artistry and imagination, so the dress code encourages “creative, formal attire.” If you’re wondering what to wear, just remember there is no better way to celebrate the downtown arts scene than with downtown fashion!
There are plenty of stylish spots around town to find the perfect ensemble, but here are just a few of our favorite places to get glammed up for a night of art, music, dancing and celebrating the downtown community.
This Uptown district shop is known for their exquisite selection of clothing, accessories, gifts and home goods with vintage flair and plenty of nods to local artists and crafters. Guys and gals can find stylish, but classic, pieces perfect for day or night.
What should I wear? We fell in love with everything from flirty A-line dresses and skirts in spring florals to little black dresses with just the right amount of sparkle, but we couldn’t get over this black and white polka dotted trench by Kling. It’s perfect for making a bold entrance!
The home of OUMA, designer Monique Sandoval’s handmade line of dreamy wedding gowns and special occasion dresses, along with other great pieces from local designers. Nestled in the Melrose District, this shop/studio emanates beauty and warmth at every turn.
What Should I Wear? Nearly every beautifully handcrafted piece in the shop had us swooning: flirty frocks made with tulle, sequin miniskirts, hand-dyed ombre dresses and more. But for this event, our pick is this black and white-striped form-fitting dress with a leather waistband. Not only is it gorgeous, but the bit of stretch in the fabric makes it perfect for dancing the night away.
This downtown boutique does “timeless meets modern” like nobody else. Their collection of everything from loungewear to party dresses and anything in between fits the vibe of downtown perfectly and keeps us locals looking good.
What Should I Wear? Bunky has a great collection of elegant, yet cozy pieces like their black maxi and kimono sleeve dresses or a little black peplum dress with leather detailing. We loved their reconstructed vintage dresses, too, but to bring home the creative and formal theme, we chose this handmade silver tube top and skirt set by designer KT Jean. Either one could be paired with a simple top or bottom, or pair them together for maximum flash.
A stellar choice for vintage apparel in Phoenix is Antique Sugar, currently located in Melrose, but soon heading south to Roosevelt. Whether you’re dressing for a decades party or for everyday, their well-curated collection of pristine vintage clothes and accessories has you covered.
What Should I Wear? When it comes to party attire, this shop has an endless selection. We could have spent all day combing through floor-length boho frocks, sequined disco minis and mod shift dresses. Any of these would be great for Art d’Core, but we couldn’t resist the fun, Betty Draper-vibes of this 1950’s champagne brocade party dress.
Featured image from Bunky Boutique.
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Art Detour 27: An Invitation to Connect the Dots in Downtown Phoenix
Art d’Core Gala Hosted by Mayor Greg Stanton, Downtown Phoenix Inc. and Artlink Inc. Kicks Off a Slate of Community Events
Art Detour, the first event to link the downtown Phoenix arts community, returns for its 27th year on March 7 and 8, 2015. The two-day celebration invites Valley residents and visitors to meet the artists, arts entrepreneurs and businesses that contribute to a thriving downtown Phoenix. Artlink, Inc. produces the event in partnership with its “Articipants”—downtown Phoenix arts districts and destinations that participate in and contribute to the arts community.
More than 100 of these Articipants are expected to make this the largest, two-day, all-access, downtown Phoenix arts event in Art Detour’s 27-year history. It will be kicked off by the second annual Art d’Core Gala on February 21, coincide with the March First Friday, and will be highlighted by neighborhood celebrations and activities, resulting in a full schedule of downtown Phoenix discovery.
The City of Phoenix’s Office of the Mayor, Downtown Phoenix, Inc. and Artlink, Inc. will kick off the festive season with the second annual Art d’Core Gala at 6 p.m. on Saturday, February 21 at Crescent Ballroom. Mayor Greg Stanton will give his “Celebrate Downtown Address,” where he will toast business leaders, small business entrepreneurs, neighborhood groups and the flourishing arts community in an expression of shared pride in Phoenix. This free, fun and formal affair features a live performance by Phoenix Theatre, music, dancing and an eye-popping virtual tour of downtown Phoenix. Guests are encouraged to dress colorfully in creative formal attire.
Connect the Dots
With a map in hand, the public is invited take to the streets of downtown Phoenix on March 7 and 8 to explore working artists’ private studios, standing galleries, “pop-ups”, unique art spaces and colorful murals. There will also be special neighborhood-specific celebrations on both Saturday and Sunday to add to the fun. From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days Artlink will provide free tours with Ollie the Trolley. On-board docents will guide visitors to destinations, highlighted as dots on the map, as the trolley makes stops in Roosevelt Row, Grand Avenue and other locations, providing a unique opportunity to enjoy the fun, festival environment. Restaurants and bars will provide special offers to those who wear Art Detour 27 stickers picked up at the arts destinations.
There will be four park-and-ride hubs where visitors can park, pick up a map, ask questions, and hop on a trolley to explore the full spectrum of arts activities and events along the route. These hubs will be located at the Burton Barr Public Library, Oasis on Grand, CityScape and Arizona Center. Art Detour is transit-friendly with many locations within walking distance of METRO Light Rail stations. GRID Bike Share also has locations along the trolley route and throughout the central corridor. The trolley route also conveniently intersects with METRO light rail.
EVENT SCHEDULE HIGHLIGHTS
In addition to the exhibitions and activities hosted by the over 100 Articipants, the following are events and celebrations that culminate in an artful early 2015.
Art d’Core Gala
- 6 to 10 p.m. on February 21, 2015.
- Crescent Ballroom, 308 N. 2nd Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85003
- There is no charge for this event. For additional information and to RSVP please visit artlinkphoenix.com/art-detour/gala/
- Creative formal attire encouraged for this event hosted by the City of Phoenix’s Office of the Mayor, Downtown Phoenix, Inc. and Artlink, Inc.
March First Friday
- 6 to 10 p.m. on March 6, 2015
- Throughout downtown and central Phoenix
- Typically one of the most popular First Fridays of the year. The Artlink First Friday Trolley Tour will take place as normally scheduled.
Art Detour 27
- 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 7 and 8, 2015
- This free weekend event offers programming appropriate for all ages, including the family-friendly “Kids’ Detour” activities at select venues.
PaintPHX – 5th St. Block Party
- 2 to 10 p.m. on March 7, 2015
- 5th Street in Roosevelt Row
- Paint Phx is locally organized, mural painting event and celebration of outdoor mural arts in the city of Phoenix happening in conjunction with Art Detour 27. Local community artists and muralists will be creating multiple new mural projects throughout the city over the Art Detour weekend. The 5th St. Block Party will take place in the epicenter for Phoenix’s mural art scene. The street will be closed to traffic from Roosevelt to Garfield and activities will include new murals being painted, live music, DJs, skateboard demos, a live art battle and live painting on a vintage bus.
Outdoor Screening of Stop Making Sense
- 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. on March 7, 2015 (weather permitting)
- What Should Go Here Pop-Up Park, 1005 N. 2nd Street
- Artlink Inc., No Festival Required Independent Cinema and Palm Pictures Present Stop Making Sense: Talking Heads, hosted by monOrchid and The Lot: What Should Go Here Pop-Up Park. 1980s attire, spontaneous singing and dancing will be encouraged. Please bring blankets or low-back beach chairs for seating.
Detour de Grand
- 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 8, 2015 (Group bike ride begins at 10 a.m.)
- Grand Avenue, 1028 NW Grand Ave. (between 10th and 12th Avenues)
- The Grand Avenue Members Association (“GAMA”) will celebrate one of Phoenix’s most iconic and authentic streets. Activities include a group bike ride at 10 a.m. before Art Detour 27 that will follow the route of the Artlink trolley: from Grand Ave., to the Warehouse District, through the core to Roosevelt Row, through historic downtown neighborhoods, and back to Grand Ave.
- Detour de Grand visitors will be able to visit galleries, shops, local vendors, artist’s tents and food trucks. The main event will be a beer garden and stage with local beers and bands open from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. Bring your own bike or grab a GRID bike on Grand Avenue. Attendees can use Grand Ave as their park and ride hub to enjoy Detour de Grand and to catch a trolley to explore the rest of Art Detour 27.
OTHER KEY EVENTS HOSTED BY ARTLINK ARTICIPANTS
Devoured Culinary Classic
- 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on March 7 and 8
- Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 N. Central Ave.
- This culinary arts event hosted by Phoenix Art Museum, Local First Arizona and Devour Phoenix is the perfect pairing for arts patrons. Devour – then Detour!
57th Annual Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market
- 5:30 to 8 P.M. on March 7 and 8
- Heard Museum, 2301 N. Central Ave.
- The iconic cultural event will celebrate the tradition of basket making and other arts.
LINK UP AND GET INVOLVED
- Sign up to become an Articipant and be included on the Art Detour map: artlinkphoenix.com/articipants/.
- Support Artlink’s year-round programs by sending an email to: email@example.com.
- Volunteers are asked to fill out an online volunteer form at: artlinkphoenix.com/volunteer/.
Images courtesy of Artlink Inc.