Phoenix Convention Center
Earlier this week, the Phoenix Convention Center hosted Imaging USA 2014, the largest annual convention and expo organized by and for professional photographers. More than 8,000 photographers attended, snapping shots of downtown Phoenix as they honed their newly developed skills acquired from the over 100 speeches, presentations and hands-on demonstrations at the fair.
Of the successful event and setting, John Owens, of the Professional Photographers of America, says, “Phoenix has been a tremendous host for Imaging USA 2014. The warm sun, friendly locals and the downtown area in particular has helped enhance the experience for attendees by being so welcoming. And of course, the valley provided a beautiful backdrop for thousands of photographers to immediately practice what they learn.”
DPJ followed those attending IUSA14 and posting pictures on Twitter and Instagram, culling the most representative shots of the downtown scene, and asking our readers to vote for their favorite photos. Below are those that received the most “likes” on Instagram. See more on DPJ’s Facebook page.
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The Phoenix Convention Center & Venues (PCC&V) invite you to its 40th Anniversary Celebration on Friday, Sept. 28. For four decades, the Phoenix Convention Center and Symphony Hall have brought people together in downtown Phoenix, making a positive impact on the local economy. Since 2000, PCC&V have hosted more than 650 convention events and welcomed nearly two million delegates, providing an economic impact in excess of $2.5 billion dollars to the state and local economy.
WHAT: 40th Anniversary Block Party
WHEN: Friday, Sept. 28, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
WHERE: 100 N. Third Street (Outdoor block party between Washington & Monroe streets)
On Sept. 28, 1972, the Phoenix Convention Center opened as Phoenix Civic Plaza on six city blocks with a group capacity of 10,000 attendees. Symphony Hall opened the next day and welcomed the Phoenix Symphony as its first resident company. Throughout the years both venues welcomed local and out-of-town visitors to concerts, intimate gatherings and high profile events. Since its recent expansion, PCC&V can accommodate 80% of the convention meetings market. For more information about notable highlights, visit phoenixconventioncenter.com.
The anniversary celebration is free and takes place on Third Street between Washington and Monroe. Don’t miss the live music provided by KSLX radio station 100.7FM, games & activities sponsored by the Downtown Phoenix Partnership, cupcakes compliments of Aventura Catering, giveaways and so much more.
Featured image courtesy of Phoenix Convention Center.
When representatives went to pitch the Valley of the Sun as the 2015 Super Bowl host site this past fall, the playing field was vastly different from when the city hosted the last one in 2008. The site selection process had changed significantly, with the final choice narrowed down to only two cities: Tampa and Phoenix.
But the real game changer for the 49th Super Bowl, according to everyone involved, was that Downtown Phoenix had evolved from a sprawling construction zone to a world-class, truly Super Bowl-worthy destination. Among the changes:
- In the past four years, the size of the Phoenix Convention Center has tripled to more than 900,000 square feet.
- Light rail was completed and quickly became the transportation mode of choice, particularly for those attending downtown sporting events.
- More than 1,500 additional hotel rooms have come on line, with the total now well exceeding the requisite 19,000.
- CityScape was completed and has made its mark with top-notch dining, shopping and entertainment venues.
- And ASU now has a significant downtown presence, with thousands of students, including residents.
“The transformation of Downtown Phoenix was a significant part of our pitch.”
– Mike Kennedy, Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee
“Best Super Bowl Venue in the Country”
“We think we now have the best Super Bowl venue in the country, “ according to Mike Kennedy, who has been chairman of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee for the past seven years. “The transformation of Downtown Phoenix was a significant part of our pitch.”
“All the team owners that were voting hadn’t seen downtown since 2008 so we did our best to describe it to them,” he said.
They were assisted by sophisticated marketing materials and a killer video, thanks to the efforts of the local marketing and advertising agency E.B. Lane.
“We really made a point of noting all the development – retail, entertainment, restaurants, housing and transportation – that has been finished since 2008,” said Beau Lane, chief executive officer of E.B. Lane, which represents the Super Bowl Host Committee, the Arizona Cardinals and the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau.
“One of the concerns last time, even though it was very successful, was that the events were spread out all over the Greater Phoenix area,” he said.
“This time we see that heartbeat of all Super Bowl activity taking place Downtown. We have the capacity and the facility infrastructure to support it.”
– Beau Lane, E.B. Lane
“This time we see that heartbeat of all Super Bowl activity taking place Downtown. We have the capacity and the facility infrastructure to support it.”
Michael Bidwill Scores as MVP
However, according to Kennedy, the final host decision came down to which owner could gather the most National Football League votes.
Arizona Cardinals President Michael Bidwill touted the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale to the 32 NFL team owners that were gathered in Houston. He also talked about the hotel, resort and tourism infrastructure. And, according to those in attendance, he was particularly persuasive when speaking about what Downtown Phoenix has to offer.
According to those in attendance, [Michael Bidwill] was particularly persuasive when speaking about what Downtown Phoenix has to offer.
Neither Arizona nor Tampa received the requisite 24 of 32 votes the first time around. With the second vote, only a majority was needed.
“It all came down to which owner could gather 17 votes – and that was Michael Bidwill,” Kennedy said.
A Stamp of Approval
Being a Super Bowl host site means a lot of things, not the least of these being an estimated $500 million economic impact to the state. There is also the opportunity to turbo charge the state’s tourism and visibility, bringing thousands of visitors from around the globe.
But for Downtown Phoenix, Super Bowl 2015 will play a unique role, a glamorous debut on the world’s stage.
“When a downtown is at a Super Bowl level, it says something to meeting planners, as well as everyone else,” said Mayor Greg Stanton. “We have a world class facility with our convention center and the capacity for all the media outlets to make Downtown their home.
“Downtown Phoenix is already a great destination,” he added. “This is an extra stamp of approval.”
Agreed Jeff Moloznik, CityScape’s General Manager, “This is affirmation that Downtown has finally arrived, when you can tell a major international event that they will be hosted in Downtown Phoenix and that it is the epicenter of the Super Bowl.
Building on Infrastructure
Moloznik sees CityScape as being the “hub of the wheel” for all NFL festivities. In addition to all the activities that will be slated to take place at CityScape, it will be a central meeting place and clearinghouse for all Super Bowl-related information.
“When a downtown is at a Super Bowl level, it says something to meeting planners, as well as everyone else”
– City of Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton
He noted he will be part of a group flying out to Indianapolis to see how it creates an NFL fan zone and experience. He pointed out that “a lot of infrastructure will be coming on line” in the next few years at CityScape, from temporary and permanent stage structures to large format, 40’ x 20’ screens, scheduled to be installed this year.
Then there is the matter of the estimated $18-$20 million that must be raised over the next few years, which covers the cost of taking care of the clubs, hosting the parties, securing facilities and other expenses. The funds that were raised for Super Bowl 2008 were solicited before the recession hit.
Mayor Stanton, who emphasized that Phoenix will be working in close partnership with its neighboring cities for all aspects of the Super Bowl, noted that Phoenix will have significant direct and indirect expenses, including the costs of security and police officers.
“This is affirmation that Downtown has finally arrived…”
– Jeff Moloznik, RED Development
“I’m sure we will be asked to pick up the phone and make a pitch to some of our large corporate donors,” Stanton said. “We also expect the NFL to be a partner during these difficult economic times.”
Lane said sponsorship packages are already being developed and there is usually a number of events that take place the year before the Super Bowl as well. “Our strategy is to provide significant value so they receive a return for their investment,” he said.
And while Kennedy referred to raising the needed funds as a “daunting task,” it is one which he also believes will reap major returns.
“Short of the Olympics, there is no other sporting event that has the visibility and impact of the Super Bowl,” he said.
Homepage: design by E.B. Lane for Super Bowl bid presentation. All images courtesy of E.B. Lane.
Downtown Phoenix will come alive in celebration and there will be something for everyone who wants to join the birthday party. Here are some of the signature events honoring our great state.
Arizona Best Fest
Saturday, February 11, 12:00 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday, February 12, 12:00 p.m. to 6 p.m.
A FREE street extravaganza takes over the Arizona State Capitol, including mainstage headliners (Gin Blossoms, Michelle Branch, Jerry Riopelle and George Bensen); educational traveling museums cultural villages; a Western town; an historical motorcycle tour; Arizona storytellers theater; Arizona wines and craft beers; Arizona 100 art show; family fun zone and much more.
Centenarian Brunch SOLD OUT
Tuesday, February 14, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Celebrating Arizona people, companies and nonprofit organizations that have turned 100. Hosted by Pat McMahon, and featuring Governor Jan Brewer and other Arizona leaders at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel. This event is (literally) a living history of our state.
Fandango! Arizona – the “Gala of a Century”
Tuesday, February 14, 5:30 p.m.
This grand affair in the North Ballroom of the Phoenix Convention Center is the capstone Centennial Signature event. It begins with cocktails and a silent auction, and the proceeds of which will help underwrite Arizona Centennial activity dedicated to education. The evening also will include vast panoramas of Arizona landscapes, videos, and a musical highlight with the Phoenix Symphony playing, for the first time, portions of Ferde Grof’s Grand Canyon Suite. On hand will be a bevy of Arizona leaders and luminaries. Tickets are available at www.AZ100Years.org.
While the vibrant Latino arts and culture scene is no secret to insiders toiling away for years, there’s a new movement afoot to not only educate Arizona residents, but the world at large.
The inaugural CALA (Celebración Artística de las Américas) Festival is a two-month festival showcasing Latino art, music, theater and other culture offerings, which the CALA Alliance kicked off in September. Now in full swing, it is being promoted as a bi-annual event.
“Whether fairly or unfairly, outside of the state many people view Arizona as limited in embracing other cultures,” said Ruben Alvarez, CALA President. “There seems to be a lot of cultural misunderstanding in light of some of the politics that have taken place. What we’re hoping to do is to use the arts to educate people about the richness of the state’s Latino cultural heritage.”
The festival, whose major sponsor is Target, is engaging groups that range from our biggest, most established cultural institutions, such as the Phoenix Art Museum and Heard Museum, to more grassroots Latino groups, such as Teatro Bravo and the Arizona Latino Arts and Cultural Center (ALAC).
One exciting aspect is the spawning of new collaborations. Several months ago, there was a meeting of marketing directors of some 30 organizations involved with the festival.
“A Latino playwright turned to me and said he had never sat next to someone from Ballet Arizona,” said Myra Millinger, CALA Alliance board member. “It’s beautiful to see what’s represented.”
Millinger, former president and CEO of the now-defunct Metro Phoenix Partnership for Arts & Culture (MPAC), said origins of the festival date back to a 2003 meeting to discuss better positioning arts and culture to distinguish Phoenix from other areas.
“José Cárdenas asked, ‘Are we not going to discuss one of the most obvious ways—the vibrancy of Latino arts and culture?’” recalled Millinger, who said that was one of MPAC’s initial charges. When MPAC ended, the effort was taken up by the CALA Alliance. Cárdenas, ASU Senior VP and General Counsel, is a CALA Alliance board member and one of the Latino art community’s most ardent supporters.
Millinger said having one umbrella organization has facilitated more partnerships. That trend was corroborated by the Arizona Humanities Council, which worked with CALA to include many Latino cultural offerings in its Oct. 22 Arizona Humanities Festival in downtown’s Civic Space Park.
“While we have always made an effort to make our boys multi-culturally aware, I have seen more partnering with Latino organizations recently,” said Cate Hinkle, director of marketing for the Phoenix Boys Choir. They received a grant from the CALA Alliance to host the Schola Cantorum de Mexico Concert on Oct. 5 at the Children’s Museum of Phoenix. “It is such a huge part of Phoenix culture—to not celebrate that heritage would be a travesty.”
Donna Valdés, executive director Xico, Inc., a nonprofit that promotes indigenous art and culture, believes the CALA Festival is creating greater awareness of what Latino organizations are out there. “Hopefully, it’s creating a new train of thought that ‘maybe we should be partnering with them,’” she said.
Impact On Downtown Phoenix
While institutions comprising the Festival stretch from the Musical Instrument Museum to the Mesa Arts Center, Downtown Phoenix is the epicenter.
For Linda Tórres, founding president of ALAC, located on Adams Street, that’s key. The native Phoenician recalls hearing stories how, in the 1940′s, there were celebrations with Latinos dancing in the streets.
“Bringing back the culture enhances tourism,” said Tórres, who noted ALAC, which is supported by the City of Phoenix, is across the street from the Phoenix Convention Center. “It doesn’t matter if you’re visiting from Ireland or Iowa—it’s good business for everyone.”
She said there has been a plethora of Latino, Chicano and indigenous artists that have come forward since ALAC was established in 2009. The visibility of the downtown location and having a centralized cultural organization has already spawned new partnerships between ALAC and other organizations, such as Artlink Phoenix and Downtown Voices Coalition.
“Downtown is a great base because a lot of business, political and community leaders work in the area,” said CALA’s Alvarez. “If they are exposed to CALA’s marketing efforts, they may see the significance in helping these organizations.”
Added Millinger, “Downtown Phoenix is not just organizations with buildings, but an incubator that has brought artists together. It has been a place where risks have been taken to bring in culture.”
Attracting Latino Audiences
There’s also a very real economic quandary that many of the more established cultural organizations are trying to address: As their core audiences age, where will the next generation of supporters come from?
With Phoenix’s Hispanics/Latinos representing 40.8 percent of the population, according to 2010 U.S. Census figures, it is a group that cannot be ignored. According to Trino Sandoval, executive director of Teatro Bravo, a 10-year-old Latino theater group, the CALA Festival provides an entry to that audience.
“It addresses one of my pet peeves,” he said. “The big theaters will put on one Latino-themed show every two years, and it’s typically a one-person show. The Latino community is very young and hip and cares about social justice. If Latinos do not see themselves reflected in the productions or hear messages that speak to them, they won’t want to see it.”
“I think the more established institutions are sensing what most people in the back of their minds understand,” added Alvarez. “We have a growing, young Latino population. To continue to be successful, we need to reach out to future audiences with events and artists they might embrace.”
Photo credit: Jack London