Thanks to a handful of creatives, street art is on the rise in Phoenix. In the past few years, we've seen hearts pasted, mural projects started, huge dripping landscapes painted, and stencils galore mark the sidewalks and corners of the city. There's beauty in artwork on the streets — it's a clear message of no hesitation, no regret, and a passion for creating for public view.
Though some treasured pieces have faded and others have been destroyed, there still are plenty of examples of local artists creating work on the streets. Some of our favorites include the extensive work of the Calle 16 crew (from Thomas Road to Roosevelt Street along 16th Street), including Gennaro Garcia, Lalo Cota, El Moises, Thomas Marcus, Nomas, Casebeer, and Jenny Ignaszewski, who continue to take over walls along 16th Street.
Along Grand Avenue, from Roosevelt to Van Buren streets, Luster Kaboom has created oozy landscapes that carefully frame work by El Mac, as well as giant monsters and fly traps on the walls of studios and galleries. And if you're on a street art hunt, you can't miss Roosevelt Row, which is full of pastes by Antigirl and HMPH, murals by Angela Cazel Jahn, Cota, Marcus, Joe Pagac, and, of course, those who prefer to remain nameless. — Claire Lawton
ART ON ROOSEVELT ROW
The galleries along Roosevelt Row have popped up, in, and out of their spaces for as long as we can remember, but a few paved the way for artists to showcase their work — and work together — for a local audience.
eye lounge was one of the first to turn its lights on (and keep them on) along the much-less populated street in 2001. The space, like its Roosevelt neighbor, Five15, is an artist-run collective that showcases new work every month by members who work in a variety of media.
Down the street, Modified Arts, the concert/art venue turned contemporary art house, continues to be a regular stop on anyone's First and Third Friday tour, and is a block away from local artist Wayne Rainey's monOrchid Gallery, whose enormous wall spaces have housed work by local and international artists. — Claire Lawton
eye lounge: 419 E. Roosevelt St., 602-430-1490, eyelounge.com
515 Arts: 515 E. Roosevelt St., 515arts.com
Modified: 407 E. Roosevelt St., 602-462-5516, modifiedarts.org
monOrchid: 214 E. Roosevelt St., 602-253-0339, monorchid.com
ART ON GRAND AVENUE
Grand Ave long has been downtown's diagonal avenue of creativity — just ask any of the resident local artists, including Beatrice Moore, who owns art supply store Kooky Krafts and Bragg's Pie Factory, a venue for art shows that feature sculpture, photography, painting, performance, and piñatas.
During a First or Third Friday, be sure to stop into Indie Arthouse and The Lodge, run by Abbie Messmer, Fausto Fernandez, and Joe Brklacich.
These artists are likely to send you to sculptor Pete Deise's studio, Tilt Gallery, or Deus Ex Machina, with work by Michele and Richard Bledsoe, Jeff Falk, Steve Gompf, and Annie Lopez. As of last month, you can pop next door to see El Sagrado, owned by Jay Olivas, Samuel Gomez, and El Moises. — Claire Lawton
Bragg's: 1301 Grand Ave., 602-391-4016
Indie Arthouse: 1504 Grand Ave.
The Lodge: 1231 Grand Ave.
Pete Deise: 1024 Grand Ave.
Tilt Gallery: 919 W. Fillmore St., 602-716-5667, tiltgallery.com
Deus Ex Machina: 1023 Grand Ave., 602-487-0669, sites.google.com/site/improbableart
The Sagrado: 1023 Grand Ave., thesagrado.com.
ART OFF THE BEATEN PATHS
Galleries off the two main downtown drags (Roosevelt and Grand) are welcome breaks from the sometimes crowded masses that come out for the monthly artwalks. Local artists Lalo Cota, Pablo Luna, and Thomas Marcus just opened Por Vida on 16th Street with promises of kickass shows by local creatives. Down the street, The Hive serves as an artist studio and gallery/venue that's hosted film shows, wheat paste installations, and indoor murals.
If you take a drive down Central Avenue, you'll want to stop into A.E. England, the Artlink-run and -curated space, as well as First Studio (be sure to check out the second floor and art along the staircases).
And you'll definitely want to catch the occassional show at the historic Ice House, which has hosted some of the most memorable installations, tributes, and group shows of local artists. And if you're lucky, the curators might even let you into one of the secret rooms . . . — Claire Lawton
Por Vida: 2800 N. 16th St., 602-885-7238
Artlink A.E. England Gallery: 424 N. Central Ave., blog.aeenglandgallery.com
First Studio: 631 N. 1st Ave., 602-957-7760, firststudio.net
Ice House: 429 W. Jackson St., 602-257-8929, theicehouseaz.com
There's nothing quite like a night (or day) at the museum, and — lucky us — downtown has quite a few.
For classical, modern, and contemporary paintings, photographs, and fashion designs, head to the Phoenix Art Museum. If the kids are in tow, make a trip to the Children's Museum of Phoenix, with rotating interactive exhibitions, block building centers, and noodle forests.
Known worldwide for its collection of historical and contemporary native artwork, the Heard Museum houses thousands of cultural artifacts and artwork created by international and local native artists.
Or if planets, physics, and patterns of nature get you going, you'll want to check out the Arizona Science Center that's full of interactive displays, rotating exhibitions, and audio guides that (thankfully) explain just what kind of bug, ooze, or piece of machinery's behind the glass. — Claire Lawton
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Phoenix Art Museum: 1625 N. Central Ave., 602-257-1222, phxart.org/
Children's Museum of Phoenix: 215 N. 7th St., 602-253-0501, childrensmuseumofphoenix.org
Heard Museum: 2301 N. Central Ave., 602-252-8840, heard.org
Arizona Science Center: 600 E. Washington St., 602-716-2099, azscience.org.