Central Park. Hyde Park. Griffith Park. Millennium Park. All famous spots that have become integral to the cities they exist within. So what’s the defining park of Phoenix?
If you’re still searching for an answer, you’re not alone. But thanks to the efforts of what started as a small group of downtown citizens and has bloomed into the Hance Park Conservancy, the answer to that question may very soon be Margaret T. Hance Park.
The City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department, in collaboration with the Hance Park Conservancy, put out a call to professional design teams to submit their best ideas for a completely remodeled downtown park.
On Thursday, March 27, the master plans were revealed to an excited crowd at the park, just south of Burton Barr Central Library. Playing on a city that is large, sprawling, and interspersed into the natural geography, the proposed master plan for Hance Park will answer the vastness of Phoenix with its own buttes, ridges, and sprawling valleys.
Not to mention a beer garden, dog park, zip line, dedicated performance pavilion, a skate park, and a built-in irrigation system to support vegetation, among other new amenities. The proposed plan should reach completion in 10 years, at a budget of $118 million.
The selected team is comprised of locals and outsiders, with Lead Designer and Master Planner Jerry Van Eyck from !Melk, Prime Consultant Phil Weddle of Weddle Gilmore, and Landscape Architect Kris Floor of Floor Associates.
In order to keep the excitement and momentum set forth by the unveiling of the park’s plans, Weddle stressed the need to focus on the first set of changes coming to the space.
“We really need to focus on that catalytic first phase,” he said. “We believe that the most significant thing we can do is focus the early money on creating a signature gateway into the park at Central Avenue. That’s creating a vibrant urban plaza and the cloud that becomes the signature marker for this park.”
The cloud referred to is a collection of structures to be installed over Central Avenue marking the entrance to the park, and most resemble a small fleet of miniature alien space crafts, slowly descending upon the city.
Somewhat surprisingly, that $118 million price tag is reasonable when compared with parks of similar prominence throughout the United States. The cost breaks down to $3.7 million per acre, comparable to the Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York, which came in at $3.2 million per acre. Even Phoenix’s Civic Space Park, although smaller, came in slightly higher at $5.2 million per acre.
As Weddle described, the master plan is a long-term vision that will be funded through mixed initiatives.
“We are proposing to fund it through a public-private partnership. It’s really the model that shows the community is invested in the park as much as the public entity is. It’s a smart investment; it creates economic benefits for our community.”
Kimber Lanning, founder and executive director of Local First Arizona, reminded attendees of the unveiling event that the price tag is not as intimidating as it seems.
“We have invested between $4 and $5 billion dollars in this downtown, and we need to have this park finished,” she said.
“You know, Chicago didn’t just wake up one day as a great city; it was built by the people just like you who lived in Chicago. I’m not saying this is going to be easy. There’s going to be people who tell us we can’t afford this. I argue we can’t afford not to do this.”
According to Weddle, the next areas of focus will be working with the city and Hance Park Conservancy to expand programming within the park as it is today, because, as he says, “I think it’s really important to try and build the vibrancy as quickly as possible and not necessarily wait for construction.”
Building the vibrancy would include both larger events, such as concerts and festivals, and smaller, day to day activities, such as yoga in the park.
The team is also working to map out funding strategies going forward, as there is no dedicated funding for construction at the moment, according to Weddle.
“For the public funding to be allocated it’s going to need to continue to be a priority for the community, and continue to be a priority for the city council leadership,” he said, adding that the team also has plans to begin exploration for a private capital campaign to match the public funds.
In addition to the first phase renovations to the plaza and clouds over Central Ave, the team is planning on making improvements to the performance pavilion a top priority, as it allows for new programming and partnerships with art and cultural organizations downtown.
Rendering images from the Hance Park Master Plan Report, courtesy of City of Phoenix.
Don’t miss the once-a-year opportunity to peer into the studios of working artists and wander through galleries during Artlink’s Art Detour 26 this weekend. Along with the top art venues of downtown Phoenix and countless pop-up exhibits, dozens of painters, sculptors, photographers, glassblowers, and other creative minds open the doors of their private space to curious visitors.
With the event map in hand, art lovers can explore more than 100 stops on a two-day self-guided tour, many within convenient walking distance of the free Art Detour shuttle route. Docents ride along on two London-style double-decker buses circulating continuously at 20-minute intervals between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, while four information hubs at Phoenix Art Museum, Oasis on Grand, CityScape, and the Arizona Center provide volunteers ready to answer questions.
The adventure begins this evening with a greater-than-usual array of First Friday opportunities, including an open rehearsal by the Phoenix Chorale at Trinity Cathedral. While you’re there, check out Olney Gallery’s Color Color Color! exhibition, featuring work by Kaori Takamura, Sarah Kriehn, and Christopher Jagmin.
Elsewhere, the weekend is filled with live music — along with a multitude of casual performances like Bones of Folk’s Danyul Kostin at Oasis on Grand and the Moonlight Howlers at The Lost Leaf, tonight’s ambitious Viva Phx festival brings 70 groups — including Sir Mix-A-Lot, The Neighbourhood, Black Carl, Tobie Milford, and Pinback — to 14 venues ranging from Crescent Ballroom to the Hotel San Carlos to the Arizona Latino Arts and Cultural Center. The next day, Phoenix Blues Society’s Blues Blast ’14 fills Saturday with tunes from Hans Olson, Leon J’s JukeJoint, the Mike Eldred Trio, and other Rhythm Room stars at Margaret T. Hance Park — show an Art Detour map for a ticket discount.
Once your ears are satiated, fill your eyes with images from Artlink board member Hugo Medina, curator of the Phoenix Phabulous History Mural showing at Walter Studios. “I think it’s important that artists keep creating, pulling forward, which I try to do with my own work as well,” he says. “Phoenix is a phenomenal destination…. We’ve just got to start getting the collectors to start coming out, and that’s the challenge.”
For the month of March, R. Pela Contemporary Art will display Banned at the Herberger, including part of a controversial canceled show originally scheduled last fall at the Herberger Theater Center Art Gallery. The exhibit includes work by Mike Ford, Ronnie Ray Mendez, and Lisa Albinger. “Mike Ford’s photographs, about his relationship with his mother who has Alzheimer’s disease, have such depth,” says curator Robrt Pela. “There’s sadness, and camp, and real emotion. I had to share them.”
He continues, “I think that the art that I’m showing…I want there to be craftsmanship and beauty, but there has to be another element too…some commentary, some politics, some pain. It can’t just be something that’s lovely to look at because that isn’t quite enough.”
Other popular, highly-regarded mainstays anchoring First Friday and Art Detour include Practical Art and monOrchid. Great Arizona Puppet Theater offers edgy, quirky, adults-only Puppet Slams both Friday and Saturday nights.
All weekend, kids can find plenty of fun with finger-paint murals, demonstrations, workshops, and other family-friendly activities at Kids’ Detour, various galleries and studios, and the Blues Blast. Retailers and restaurateurs also add to the experience with extended weekend hours and specials.
If you go:
- Artlink First Friday on March 7
- Viva Phx music festival on March 7
- Phoenix Blues Society’s Blues Blast ’14 on March 8
- Artlink’s Art Detour 26 on March 8-9
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Roosevelt Row CDC Celebrates Downtown Vision at The Nash
WHAT: Come celebrate the debut of Roosevelt Row’s visioning publication: “Roosevelt Row Artists’ District: Creative Placemaking in Downtown Phoenix,” showcasing community feedback for downtown development and participation.
WHERE: The Nash, 110 East Roosevelt Street #110, Phoenix AZ 85004
● $10 online, or at the door
● $35 online, includes a paperback book copy of the publication
● $50 online, includes a hardcover book copy of the publication
WHO: The internationally celebrated jazz venue, The Nash, will host this celebration, with award-winning local restaurants Mamma Toledo’s, Pizza People Pub, Short Leash Hot Dogs, Welcome Diner, Lumberyard Brewing Co. and live performance by Arizona School for the Arts. Presentation led by Roosevelt Row CDC co-founder Cindy Dach, Leslie Lindo of Project Rising, and Roosevelt Row CDC Board President Vermon Pierre.
WHY: This document is the first publication of its kind in Roosevelt Row, highlighting the accomplishments of community collaboration in the past decade and goals for downtown progress for the next decade.
Event information: www.rooseveltrow.org/create
Ticket information: https://visioninglaunchparty.splashthat.com/
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Art Detour 26 is an All Access Pass to More than 100 Downtown Art Venues ‘Living in Color’
Mayor Greg Stanton, Downtown Phoenix Inc. and Artlink Inc. Host ‘Art d’Core Gala’ Celebrating a ‘Downtown for Everyone’
The 26th Annual Art Detour, March 8-9, 2014, will be an exceptional celebration of artists and their important contribution to the vibrancy of downtown Phoenix.
More than 100 spaces, including working artist studios, unique art spaces, galleries, cultural venues, restaurants and retailers will open their doors to make this the best two-day, all-access pass to the downtown arts scene in Detour’s 26-year history. [See the full list of participants: http://artlinkphoenix.com/articipants/participating-venues/]
“Detour-ists” are invited to visit artists’ private working studios not typically open for viewing, explore Pop-Up Gallery exhibits exclusively planned for Art Detour, and to discover the colorful mural scene on walls, buildings and fences throughout downtown.
A free double-decker London bus will circulate, making stops at neighborhood “park-and-ride hubs” in Roosevelt Row, Grand Avenue, CityScape, Arizona Center, and more, providing the public with a unique opportunity to explore Phoenix’s art scene in a fun, festival environment. The event coincides with First Friday, March 7, 2014, resulting in a weekend chock-full of arts-related experiences, exhibitions and activities.
Join the Office of the Mayor, Downtown Phoenix, Inc., Artlink and other community partners on Saturday, March 1, 2014, at the Art d’Core Gala, a celebration of the significant role the arts have played in invigorating and adding color to our downtown.
Mayor Greg Stanton will be the featured speaker of the festive event at Crescent Ballroom, toasting business leaders, small business entrepreneurs, neighborhood groups, and the flourishing arts community in an expression of shared pride in Phoenix.
“It took everyone, including the City, business, neighborhood groups, entrepreneurs and artists to bring our city this far,” said Mayor Greg Stanton. “We will continue working together to add the textures, flavors, and colors that strengthen our vibrant downtown and showcase this city we love. We are building a downtown that belongs to everyone.”
This free, “fun formal” affair will feature live music and dancing; fabulous food and drink; art installations featuring premiere local artists; and an eye-popping virtual tour of downtown art spaces. Guests are encouraged to dress colorfully with creative formal attire.
“Downtown artists and arts entrepreneurs are key players in the ongoing development of our vibrant downtown core,” said David Krietor, CEO of Downtown Phoenix Inc. “The Art d’Core Gala is a party where everyone can come together to celebrate the positive impact the arts have had in our remarkable city.”
WHEN: Saturday, March 1, 2014, 6:00 p.m.
WHERE: Crescent Ballroom, 308 N. 2nd Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85003
TICKETS: There is no charge for this event, however, please RSVP to Art d’Core Gala
ATTIRE: Dress colorfully! Creative formal attire encouraged.
HOSTED BY: The Office of the Mayor, Downtown Phoenix Inc. and Artlink Inc.
Art Detour 26 Schedule of Events:
3/1 – Art d’Core Gala at Crescent Ballroom – A festive, free, art-full celebration of our downtown hosted by Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, Downtown Phoenix, Inc. and benefiting Artlink Inc.
3/7 – Pre-Detour First Friday. March First Friday is one of the most popular of the year.
3/8-9 – Art Detour 26. A free, two-day immersive arts experience, featuring over 100 designated venues and free, circulating trolleys to help visitors enjoy self-guided studio, art space and gallery tours.
This free weekend event also offers programming for all ages, including family-friendly “Kids’ Detour” activities at participating venues.
“Artlink is excited to have partners like CityScape, Downtown Phoenix Inc., Downtown Phoenix Partnership and Phoenix Community Alliance who are helping connect Artlink to the broader downtown community,” said Catrina Kahler, President of Artlink’s Board of Directors.
Gather a collection of oranges, tangerines, and lemons to bring to GROWop Boutique’s first “The BIG Squeeze” sale, where customers who bring a bag of citrus fruit will benefit the local food bank and also receive 5% off in addition to the already-marked down items.
The clearance event featuring inventory marked down as low as 75% kicks off on Saturday, February 1 and will take place from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the 6th Street location.
Owner Kenny Barrett says the lawn sale will have a flea market vibe, where a variety of vintage clothes, housewares, handmade jewelry and other unique finds will be for sale.
If the winter sale results in a good “cleansing” that day, the event will continue on Sunday, said Barrett.
Shop and sip on fresh-squeezed O.J. or a mimosa while helping the store clear out the fall and winter inventory in order to squeeze in room for spring arrivals.
To prepare for a day of sweet deals, make sure to RSVP for the event on GROWop’s Facebook page and follow them on Instagram @growopboutique.
For more information about the store, visit their website or call them at 602-714-5256.