Remember the year that gave us Prozac, Die Hard, and Rush Limbaugh? It was 1988, the same year Artlink launched Art Detour – an event designed to spotlight downtown Phoenix's arts and culture.
This year, Artlink presents its 29th annual Art Detour, a two-day affair on Saturday and Sunday, March 18 and 19. The nonprofit is also presenting the Art d’Core Gala on Thursday, March 16. And most Art Detour exhibitions will also be open for Third Friday on March 17.
Art Detour is a chance for artsy types and others to enjoy exhibitions, open artist studios, performances, and hands-on activities with an arts-and-culture twist.
But the annual tradition is also a useful way of marking time.
Much has changed in downtown Phoenix since last year’s Art Detour – especially in the Roosevelt Row arts district.
Lotus Contemporary and Five15 Arts were forced to relocate after their building was sold to developers working on a mixed-use project called The Blocks of Roosevelt Row. Developers also bought several Roosevelt Row bungalows, prompting J.B. Snyder’s The Allery and Roosevelt Growhouse to seek other spaces.
For those who don’t frequent the downtown arts scene, Art Detour is a chance to get out and see both art and the changing urban landscape. For Third Friday regulars, it’s an opportunity to spend an entire weekend with art instead of trying to cram it all into just a few hours.
Here’s everything you need to know about Art Detour 2017 – including basic logistics, plus our must-see recommendations.
When: Art Detour 29 weekend is Saturday and Sunday, March 18 and 19. But Art Detour launches with a Thursday night gala, and includes the March Third Friday art walk. This is the general schedule:
Thursday, March 16
Art Detour kicks off with the Art d’Core Gala at Warehouse 215 at Bentley Projects from 6 to 9 p.m. Mayor Greg Stanton toasts local arts and culture at 7 p.m. Then there’s plenty of time for art, music, and dancing. Creative cocktail attire is encouraged. Tickets are $15 per person or $20 per couple at the door. (You can save $5 if you order online before 6 p.m. on Monday, March 13.)
Friday, March 17
March's Third Friday falls during Art Detour this year. But not every gallery showing art that night is signed up as an Art Detour participant. So, don’t overlook the art venues that don’t happen to be on your Art Detour map. If you spot art in other places, go for it. And be sure to check social media accounts for your favorite spots, since some arts venues aren’t official Art Detour sites but still have weekend offerings worth seeing.
Saturday and Sunday, March 18 and 19
Most Art Detour happenings take place between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. during Art Detour weekend. But some venues have after-hours events, and it never hurts to stick around after dark to explore local music, cuisine, and other nightlife.
Where: Various locations in and around downtown Phoenix. Use the Art Detour map (available online and at several venues) to find your way around.
Price: Most events are free, but nothing says you can’t bring money just in case you feel the urge to splurge on some art.
Getting around: Find free Art Detour trolleys at five locations, including Phoenix Art Museum, Oasis on Grand, Unexpected Art Gallery, Arizona Center, and CityScape. Expect each trolley cycle to run about 30 minutes. If you’d rather bike your way around, look for green Grid bikes you can rent as needed. If you’re starting with Roosevelt Row galleries, ride the light rail and disembark at the Central Avenue and Roosevelt Street station.
Parking: Bring money for parking meters or parking lots, in case you’re not lucky enough to snag a free spot. Find information on parking options, including lot locations and parking fees, on the Downtown Phoenix website.
Weather: The forecast predicts temperatures in the lower 90s over the weekend, so you’ll get the chance to sport spring attire. Or raid the closet of a friend who grew up during the 1980s, since colors and accessories from that era are making a brief comeback this season.
Food and drink: Art Detour is a great excuse to check out local food, coffee, and cocktail options, but also keep an eye out for food trucks. If you need help picking dining or drink options, see the latest at New Times' food blog.
Wear: Comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen, and casual attire. Hats and sunglasses also come in handy.
Bring: A water bottle, phone charger, and tip money (for baristas, street musicians, trolley drivers, and such). You’ll need cash for some events, as well.
So, what should make your must-see list this year?
Three options rise above the rest – including March Third Friday, The Walk, and Open Studios at Grant Street Studios. Here’s what you need to know:
You can see more than two dozen exhibitions on Third Friday, and only some will continue through the weekend. So, your best bet is getting out to see your favorites on Friday night.
Our top picks are noted below, and you’ll find more fresh shows in our guide to March 2017’s Third Friday in downtown Phoenix, which is coming soon.
The City of Phoenix presents an interactive digital art installation created by Casey Farina. It’s a mix of video, sound, and movement being presented at the A.E. England Building at Civic Center Park. Third Friday hours are 6 to 10 p.m., and it runs the same hours Saturday night.
See new works by Phoenix mixed-media artist Denise Yaghmourian, who explores the human compulsion to label others, at Bentley Gallery. Third Friday hours are 6 to 10 p.m. It's also open Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Eye Lounge presents works by all 10 members of the Eye Lounge artist collective, who created pieces in various media related to the theme of change. Third Friday hours are 6 to 10 p.m. Weekend hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
“Szabo Wike Yuko”
See works by Marilyn Szabo, Thaddeus Mace Wike, and Yuko Yabuki exhibited at Yuko Studio located in the La Melgosa building. Third Friday hours are 6 to 10 p.m. On Friday night, all three artists will be there, but the show is also open Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“You Have the Magic: Weird, Wild, and Wonderful Works of Art”
See works by 10 artists in this exhibition at The Hive, curated by Amy Young of Perihelion Arts (who's also a New Times contributor). Participating artists include Doug Bale, Luster Kaboom, and the Molten Brothers, to name a few. Third Friday hours are 6 to 9:30 p.m. Weekend hours are Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Angela Ellsworth, a Phoenix artist represented by Lisa Sette Gallery, is leading a contemplative walk through the Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area on Saturday, March 18. Ellsworth's art practice often incorporates walking, and she co-founded the Museum of Walking with fellow artist Steve Yazzie. Housed at ASU, it’s the country’s only museum dedicated solely to art and walking.
For some, walking and art might seem like a strange mix. But walking frees the mind to explore ideas and make careful observations, two skills essential to both creating and appreciating art. TheWALK is a chance to join artists, art lovers, and other community members in exploring a habitat at the heart of Phoenix history. The whole event runs from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., with walkers leaving in staggered waves for the 90-minute, three-mile walk along a paved path.
Tickets for theWalk are $25 for the general public or $15 for students, and you can get them on the Museum of Walking website through midnight on Friday, March 17. Funds raised will go toward Museum of Walking exhibits, artist residencies, and other programs – as well as community causes including the Phoenix Indian School Legacy Project.
It’s not often you get the chance to go behind the scenes, watching artists create and talking with them about their work. You’ll have several opportunities during Art Detour weekend, including two for your must-see list.
Chief among them is the free Open Studios event, which happens from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, March 18 and 19, at Grant Street Studios. It’s a chance to meet ASU MFA art students and tour their studios, as well as see three exhibitions of works by ASU students, alumni, and faculty. The Open Studios lineup also includes demonstrations, a red-tag sale, and an artist talk by Rachel Goodwin, whose “Baggage” exhibit at Step Gallery explores consumer culture.
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Six artists with studios at Bentley Projects are also opening their studios for Art Detour. Stop by to meet the artists – including John Dowd, Idakatherine Graver, Jesse Paulk, Craig Randich, Chris Raypole, and Katie Simpson – between noon and 5 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, March 18 and 19. The studios will also be open from 5 to 10 p.m. on Third Friday.
Art Detour and related events happen from Thursday, March 16, to Sunday, March 19. Find more details on the Art Detour 29 website.
Editor's note: This post has been updated from its original version.