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5. Mary Stephens

When we last put the spotlight on 100 creative forces in Phoenix, it was no secret there were more than 100 individuals who were making waves in the local arts community. So in celebration of our Best of Phoenix issue, we're profiling 100 more. Welcome (back) to 100 Creatives.

5. Mary Stephens
Mary Stephens, photo by Chandra Narcia

Mary Stephens is the owner of the Hosteling International - Phoenix Hostel and Cultural Center in Downtown, and the producing director for ASU - Performance in the Borderlands.

Most of her work centers on cultural exchange, whether through the travelers that come through her door, or in the productions she directs and produces that address issues or race, gender, and class. In these various expression of her work she collaborates with local artists and culture leaders to create vibrant spaces of idea exchange. When she is not working, she is either cleaning up empty lots, or traveling abroad.

Mary Stephens at a Performance in the Borderlands event
Mary Stephens at a Performance in the Borderlands event
photo by Nuvia Enriquez

I came back to Phoenix ... after finishing my grad work in International Peace and Conflict Resolution. I had been living in DC and working abroad with international development, and felt the need to come back to Phoenix to finish my PhD. In that time, my mother retired after 21 year of running the only hostel in Phoenix, and I decided to continue the tradition of hosteling and add the cultural center aspect to the hosteling idea. I modeled the hostel after the "casa de la cultura" in Mexico City, which are artistic cultural hubs for everyone.

I am a person of ... ideas and thought, and art reminds me of the possibilities in life. I feel art exposes us to the miraculous, and transforms the everyday into something profound. I create, or produce work, that can stand as an example of a way of being in the world that is collaborative and ethical, and invites critique and provocation. Also, at a very basic level, I am in awe of many artists, so my work as a producing director provides a base for artistic collaboration with those I admire!

Inspiration wall includes ... prints by Oswaldo Guayasamin, my dad's paintings, collected stones from around the world, books by Eduardo Galeano/Khalil Gibran/Jeff Chang, books of theory, and my favorite quote, "By your stumbling the world is perfected" - Sri Aurobindo

I am productive when ... I have to build an idea from scratch. I am on motivation steroids most of the time, so productivity comes easily.

Phoenix Youth Hostel and Cultural Center
Phoenix Youth Hostel and Cultural Center
photo by Eric Leifer

I've learned a lot from ... my parents (who I love and admire immensely) and the difficulty of traversing the generational divide on a tightrope through family. I have learned a lot from those worldly people that come through my door every morning exploring the world. Professionally, Performance in the Borderlands has been a gold mine of lessons!

"Good work" is ... only as good as the dialogue it generates about ethics.

The creative scene in Phx would benefit from ... paying artists, period. If you are an institution (big or small), PAY artists, no excuses. More radically, the Phx scene would benefit from more meaningful collaborations which comprehensively include people of color, Spanish/English visioning processes, listening, and shared resources.

The Creatives, so far ... (And while you're here, check out 100 Tastemakers on Chow Bella.)

100:Lara Plecas 99. Isaac Caruso 98. Brandon Gore 97. Kelsey Dake 96. Hector Ruiz 95. Caroline Battle 94: Jennifer Campbell 93. Jeff Chabot 92. Tiffiney Yazzie 91. Daniel Germani 90. Irma Sanchez 89. Daniel m. Davis 88. Kirstin Van Cleef 87. Emmett Potter 86. Sarah Hurwitz 85. Christine Cassano 84. Fred Tieken 83. Lindsay Kinkade 82. Ruben Galicia 81. Robert Uribe 80. Heidi Abrahamson 79. Josephine Davis 78. Travis Ladue 77. Taz Loomans 76. Mikey Jackson 75. Alex Empty 74. Joe Ray 73. Carol Roque 72. Daniel Funkhouser 71. Carla Chavarria 70. Hugo Medina 69. Cavin Costello 68. Claire Carter 67. Lindsay Tingstrom 66. Catherine Ruane 65. Christopher Crosby 64. Aaron Johnson 63. Brenda Eden 62. Colton Brock 61. Ernesto Moncada 60. Benjamin Phillips 59. Brad Armstrong 58. Angela Hardison 57. Tyler Quinn 56. Andrew James Benson 55. Charles Anthony Darr 54: Tiffe Fermaint 53. Eric Cox 52. Victor Vasquez 51. John Randall Nelson 50. Lauren Lee 49. Kyle Jordre 48. Julie C. Kent 47. Sean Deckert 46. Niba DelCastillo 45. Joseph Benesh 44. Ashley Harder 43. Dan Vermillion 42. Daniel Shepherd 41. James B. Hunt 40. Lori Fenn 39. Seth Gideon Fainkujen 38. Wayne Rainey 37. Christian Filardo 36. Melissa Cody 35. Jason Rudolph Peña 34. Cindy Iverson 33. Ryan Gentry 32. Sebastien Millon 31. Andrea Beesley 30. Chris Pruitt 29. Robert Diehl 28. Rachel Malloy 27. Jonathan Simon 26. Ann Morton 25. Kim Moody 24. Kevin Flanagan 23. Such and Champ Styles 22. Julia Fournier 21. Rebecca Green 20. Jules Demetrius 19. Averian Chee 18. Sara Cochran 17. Daniel Mills 16. Nina Miller 15. Robert Brandan Martinez 14. Rachel Bowditch 13. Ashley Macias 12. Eddie Sparr 11. Bob Roman 10. Melinda Bergman 9. Emily Stergar 8. Tomas Stanton 7. Becky Nahom 6. Jordon Roberts

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