I’m an idea man. Ask any of my friends and they’ll tell you that every week I have a new business idea or way to change the world. I like to dream. Always have.
Born and raised in “the Valley of the Sun,” I moved around quite a bit as an adult, and lived in New York City for about six years before moving back home to Phoenix to take care of my father as he battled cancer. After he passed, I decided to stay in town and definitely experienced some culture shock after being away for almost 10 years. Eventually, I adjusted and began to enjoy the beauty that the Sonoran Desert has to offer.
Of course there were things that I missed about New York. My best friend and I spent a lot of time in Central Park developing our own special relationship with the verdant oasis amidst the high-rises. I was missing that experience in Phoenix, so I decided to collect some friends to play in Hance Park. We’d bring a Frisbee, a picnic, and music, have handstand contests and play board games under the sun. The park appeared to be extremely underused. “Why is no one here? It’s such a beautiful day outside,” I would say to my friends. That’s when I decided to launch “A Day in the Park.”
“A Day in the Park” is a once-a-month Hance Park play date, dedicated to building culture and community through the use of public space. It is a place for dreamers to connect; a time to get out and enjoy nature, the weather, your friends and family, play a game of Frisbee, and fly a kite; and a fun way to support and strengthen a feeling of community. “A Day in the Park” is a day to appreciate the important things in life. “A Day in the Park” at its heart, is an ideal.
Ultimately, I would love to see “A Day in the Park” transform organically into something huge; a daylong event, attracting a diverse crowd, offering live local music, art vendors, small local businesses, food trucks galore, and activities that would bring folks together. It’d be great to see non-profit organizations attend, getting their message out, and collaborating with one another. Use the park to develop and sustain healthy communities.
What can I say? I’m a dreamer. Invite your friends and join the fun.
If You Go:
What: A Day in the Park (DITP)
When: April 13th on Second Saturdays
Where: Margaret T. Hance Park, West side of Park – 67 W. Culver St. (between Central & 3rd Ave.)
Additional Info: Bring food, Frisbees, board games, guitars, kites…whatever you want to make your day, the best “Day in the Park.” Invite/bring your family and friends, the more the merrier! Please no glass bottles. For more visit www.facebook.com/groups/DayInTheParkPhx.
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Mayor Greg Stanton will present the first-ever “Mayor’s Arts Awards” at the Phoenix Festival of the Arts this weekend.
Stanton launched the awards to highlight the cultural richness of Phoenix and recognize excellence from the visual and performing arts in the community. A panel of distinguished members from the arts and culture areas selected awardees in five categories based upon excellence and community impact.
Stanton will present the awards Saturday, Dec. 8 at 1 p.m. on the main stage at the Phoenix Festival of the Arts at Margaret T. Hance Park, 1202 N. 3rd St. in Phoenix.
“Arts and culture are vital to the social and economic well being of our city,” Stanton said. “They improve our quality of life, uplift our spirits and help attract and keep talented employees and innovative businesses in Phoenix. The Phoenix Festival of the Arts is an important opportunity for all of us to celebrate the breadth and depth of the arts and culture community in Phoenix.”
The winners of each category include:
Dance Organization Award
Scorpius Dance Theatre
Formed in 1999 by choreographer, Lisa Starry, Scorpius Dance Theatre is observing its 11th season in operation. The contemporary dance company has been a constant presence in the metropolitan Phoenix arts community since its inception, combining the motifs of humor, drama and both organic and technical movement to form a very distinct brand of dance theater.
Music Organization Award
Downtown Chamber Series
The Downtown Chamber Series brings chamber music to distinctive art spaces in downtown Phoenix, showcasing professional musicians and the works of local artists.
Public Art Award
Born in La Paz, Bolivia, Medina immigrated to New York as a child, where his interest in art was fostered by his architect father. While completing his undergraduate work in New York, Medina volunteered to teach classes at a summer program at the Kumayya Indian reservation in San Diego, Calif. His experience at the reservation is what led him to become an art teacher. Hugo’s desire to give back to the community and his love of children led him to a teaching career. Medina’s great appreciation and admiration of the southwest brought him to Phoenix, where he has been the mastermind behind some of the city’s best murals.
Rising Youth Theatre
Rising Youth Theatre is Phoenix theater company founded by ASU grads Xanthia Walker and Sarah Sullivan to create youth driven theatre that is riveting and relevant, challenging audiences to hear new stories, start conversations and participate in their communities. Recently, the diverse company of students has created plays based on immigrant youth.
Visual Artist Award
Grigsby, 94, came to Phoenix following World War II to teach art at Carver High School. He joined the faculty at Arizona State University in 1966 and served as a Trustee of Phoenix Art Museum. His public collections are on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Printmaking Workshop in New York City, the Library of Congress, the Cape Coast Museum in West Africa and Philadelphia’s Brandywine Workshop, as well as art centers and galleries in leading universities and public venues across the nation.
This weekend’s Phoenix Festival of the Arts runs from Dec. 7 to 9 at Hance Park and is the city’s first signature arts festival. The free event features three days of live entertainment, arts vendors, a hands-on community mural, food trucks, Kidz Korner and more. Celebrate artists and arts organizations from across Phoenix’s cultural landscape. Hosted by Phoenix Center for the Arts and sponsored by Lou and Evelyn Grubb, this free festival will become an annual tradition.
Image of Eugene Grigsby by Dee Dee Woods
Hance Park, the large green belt developed as a result of the I-10 Freeway construction, is getting the attention it deserves.
Cathleen Russo, with the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department, is sending out a steady stream of communications to those interested in the evolution of the park, encouraging participation in the Hance Park Master Plan Steering Committee meetings.
The next meeting is this afternoon at Burton Barr Library at 3:00 p.m. There will be an Open House Concept event, in which ASU design students will display some preliminary designs for the park (example right). The design concepts will be on display from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. Thirteen 6-year landscape architect students are participating and will be available to answer questions.
The invitation from Russo:
Greetings Committee Members, neighbors and Friends of Hance Park,
This is a special reminder to you all. Prior to our Friday Hance Park Master Plan Steering Committee meeting held at Burton Barr Library, there will be an Open House Concept Event. ASU design students will display some preliminary design ideas for the public to view. This will allow you the opportunity to look at some of the concepts and have a dialog with the students and give feedback on the design ideas. I encourage you to share this invitation with your organizations and friends, as we welcome everyone’s involvement. The Open House Concept begins at 1:30, TODAY, October 7, 2011 at the Burton Barr Library auditorium located at 1221 North Central Ave. The regular meeting will follow at 3:00 p.m. which you are welcome to attend.
If you go
What: Margaret T. Hance Park Master Plan Steering Committee meeting
When: Friday, October 7 at 3:00 p.m., with the Open House Concept Event at 1:30 p.m.
Who: ASU design students, and instructor Gabriel Diaz-Montemayor, an Architect, Landscape Architect, and Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture in the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, College of Design, Arizona State University.
The Arizona Republic published a telling story on Encanto Park this past weekend, detailing the decay and neglect the 75-year-old park has gone through in recent years due to budget cuts, prolonged drought patterns and misuse. The reality is sad, but hardly shocking: sewage issues, increasing repairs, facility decline and some hefty storms in recent years have left the park a shadow of its former self. The article nearly decries Forbes‘ recent claim that Encanto is one of America’s top dozen or so “urban parks,” and a visit will all but confirm it. Unfortunately, upkeep has dwindled and problems have piled up. The city’s decreased budget simply doesn’t have room to fix most of the problems. None of this, by the way, has affected the crowds — it is still one of the city’s busiest weekend spots.
I’m not hating on Encanto. In fact, I prefer it to any other Central Phoenix park. I play basketball there weekly. I regularly bike through its (admittedly dwindling) shady pathways. I love the neighborhood. But, there is no denying the park and others near our Downtown are in tough times.
What parks do you frequent? Hance, Steele Indian, University, Verde, Civic Space, Central, Grant, Coronado, Monterey? All of these parks need help in some way or another. If you’d like, pitch in your suggestions for fixes, or simply let us know which park is your favorite. We all need a place to enjoy the outdoors. Let’s make sure to cherish our parks, and keep their fragile states in mind the next time we visit.
From the Arizona Room is a weekly column examining the historic, reuse and infill structures in Downtown Phoenix. The inspiration for this column stems from the ever-expanding resources in Burton Barr Central Library’s Arizona Room (located on the fourth floor). For further information on this and other historic structures in the area, visit the Arizona Room during normal library hours.
1210 N. 5th Ave. in Roosevelt
It’s impossible to miss from several thoroughfares — 3rd, 5th and 7th avenues and I-10, in particular — the massive Neoclassical building teetering on the edge of the former Kenilworth Historic District (now part of the larger Roosevelt Historic District). It is the Kenilworth School, and it has been enriching Downtown elementary students since 1920.
The columned Neoclassical Revival façade of the building is demanding, towering in scope and just plain impressive to see. The front portico features six 35-foot Roman Ionic columns, an entablature with a pediment top proudly proclaiming, KENILWORTH.
Construction of the school began in 1919 using architect Verne Wallingford’s design, heavily influenced by Revival-style lines that were popular in the 1910s and ’20s.
Remarkably, the building is in fantastic condition and still operating as it was in 1920, despite 90 years of children running through its halls. A major renovation occurred in 1981, but perhaps the most remarkable feat is its current location: mere feet away from the walls of I-10. The school was spared from the freeway expansion, which cut through neighboring buildings to the south and through parts of the F.Q. Story neighborhood to the west. The school now has convenient 5th/7th Avenue entrances off the interstate.
One of few A++ schools in the area, Kenilworth has a proud tradition in Roosevelt. Famous alumni include Margaret Hance (namesake to the neighboring park across 5th Avenue) and Barry Goldwater.
Sources: Staging a Comeback — The Arizona Commission on the Arts by Gerald A. Doyle & Associates, P.C.; National Register of Historic Places
Is there a historic property in Downtown Phoenix you’d like to see in From the Arizona Room? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the address and a brief description.