10 Changes Coming to the Grand Avenue Arts District in 2016

Mural art located in the Grand Avenue Arts District.EXPAND
Mural art located in the Grand Avenue Arts District.
Lynn Trimble

The Grand Avenue Arts District saw plenty of change in 2015. Chartreuse gallery opened inside the historic Bragg’s Pie Factory building, Palabras began creating a Spanish/English bookstore, and artists working with Colibri Center for Human Rights in Tucson painted an immigration-themed mural on the La Melgosa building. But more changes are coming, including several with an arts and culture twist. Here are 10 things to watch for in 2016.

Storefront Gallery
For 12 years, artist and historic preservation advocate Beatrice Moore presented storefront exhibitions at 1025 Grand Avenue, a practice she gave up when other projects filled her time. But Moore is reviving the art space she calls Stop n’ Look: A Visual Community Resource this year, and she hopes to present her first new site-specific installation in the storefront gallery around the middle of 2016. She’ll also put out calls for art, so other artists have the opportunity to create site-specific installations for the space. It’s a form of community outreach, says Moore, who wants to provide ways for people to experience art without walking into traditional gallery spaces.

Tato Caraveo work in progress inside the Barrio Cafe Grand Avenue location.EXPAND
Tato Caraveo work in progress inside the Barrio Cafe Grand Avenue location.
Lynn Trimble

Barrio Cafe Art
Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza plans to open her newest Barrio Cafe location inside the historic Bragg’s Pie Factory building early this year, in the space where Bragg’s Factory Diner spent two years before closing last October. Esparza says she’s hoping to secure a liquor license and then hire people for the new location in time to open around early February. Esparza says local artists Tato Caraveo, Angel Diaz, Pablo Luna, Thomas “Breeze” Marcus, and Lalo Cota have already painted murals inside the space.

Section of the Back Alley at Unexpected in the Grand Avenue Arts District.EXPAND
Section of the Back Alley at Unexpected in the Grand Avenue Arts District.
Lynn Trimble

Back Alley at Unexpected
Unexpected Art gallery just opened in November of last year, but principal Ben Smith says they’ve already got several new things planned for 2016. They just hired a new gallery director, and Smith says art-related changes coming this year include having regular gallery hours and First Friday exhibitions. Smith says they’ll also present more events, including a concert series in the large outdoor space they’ve dubbed the Back Alley at Unexpected.

One of many artist-decorated planters that help give Grand Avenue its unique character.EXPAND
One of many artist-decorated planters that help give Grand Avenue its unique character.
Lynn Trimble

Grand Avenue Arts & Preservation
Moore and Hill are planning to pursue 501(c)3 status this year for Grand Avenue Arts & Preservation, an organization they founded primarily to produce the annual Grand Avenue Festival. Moore says having that particular designation will make the organization eligible to apply for more grant funding, and increase the tax benefits for donors. Increased funding could help fuel exciting projects and collaborations for the 2016 festival.


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