Scene Stir

A "$99 Only" art sale sparks debate at Art Detour

Getting there — without also earning a reputation for howling coyotes and overpriced mediocrity, like Scottsdale (notable exceptions: Lisa Sette, Bentley Gallery, and a few others) — is the challenge.

Gregory Sale, director of visual art for the Arizona Commission on the Arts and an artist himself, says part of the problem is artists aren't trained to market themselves the way a gallery would.

"There's a lot of learning and strategies that as a group we are just not savvy [about] yet," he says. "Here in Phoenix, which is not really recognized as one of the major cultural hubs, you've got more of a challenge when it comes to the market and how you respond to the market."

Wayne Michael Reich is one of the few downtown artists, he says, who does make a living — though a modest one — solely through selling his art. Like a lot of artists, he didn't have a specific problem with the five15 show, except that it might make it tougher for him to do his job.

"If you're trying to sell something for $450, now they're [customers are] going to go buy four pieces during Art Detour," he says. "The problem is Phoenix doesn't know how to stick in its heels and demand to be paid what you're worth. It doesn't really inspire you to continue with your craft."

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