Beatrice Moore on the State of the Arts in Metro Phoenix

Beatrice Moore weighs in on the state of the arts in Phoenix.
Beatrice Moore weighs in on the state of the arts in Phoenix.
Kathleen D. Cone / Courtesy of Beatrice Moore

When Jackalope Ranch issued a 10-question survey asking Phoenicians (and anyone with an opinion of Phoenix) to sound of on the state of the arts in the Valley of the Sun, dozens provided insights on what's happening in the city's creative realm. We'll present a selection of survey responses here over the next three weeks. Up today is Beatrice Moore of Bragg's Pie Factory and Kooky Krafts.

1. What are three words that describe the arts in Arizona? Diverse, widespread, fragile.

See also: Melissa Dunmore on the State of the Arts in Metro Phoenix 2. Describe your role in the Arizona arts scene (including "observer" -- a very important role!) and how it came to be. Spearheaded Art Detour in 1988 through a desire to create an event for artists to exhibit work independently of galleries, to connect with the arts community, and provide a forum for educating the public. Became an unintentional community activist at that time - informed by a public battle with the City of Phoenix during the relocation of artists in the warehouse district for construction of the Sun's Arena in 1990-1992. Started the Stop n' Look window gallery on Grand in 1994, through a desire to create a neighborhood visual resource accessible to all viewers, not just gallery-goers. After seeing dozens of vintage buildings bulldozed in the warehouse district, became engaged in an effort to preserve at-risk vintage buildings along lower Grand Avenue from 1992 - present. Along the way became schooled on the consequences of underlying zoning and the need to maintain true diversity in artist friendly areas for self preservation purposes: ethnic and economic diversity; affordable housing options for everyone (including SRO's); inclusion of the mentally challenged, impoverished, disabled, seniors, and even homeless.

3. Who is making the biggest impact on metro Phoenix's art scene and how are they doing that? Individual artists who work in a variety of mediums and who populate the landscape all over the city; particularly those working in the public realm independently with projects free to the public (murals,installations, public art, music, performances, etc.).

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4. Where has metro Phoenix made the biggest strides in the arts in the last 10 years or so? The interwoven nature of art throughout all aspects of our lives from on-the-street offerings to more traditional institutional offerings (galleries, museums, theaters, etc.) and regular accessibility through free events like First and Third Fridays, Art Detour and a multitude of independent efforts by self-appointed curators, eclectic venues, performers, installations, street musicians, etc.

5. What are Arizona's most underused arts resources? Our exterior landscape is underutilized in providing a forum for non-juried community expression - including empty lots; nooks and crannies; sidewalks; crosswalks; pavement; planters; fences; landscaping areas (i.e. greenery); pocket parks, signage.

6. How can artists and institutions better connect with audiences? Artists and institutions can better connect with audiences by taking artwork out of the gallery and museum setting into non-traditional, and public, forums, venues, unexpected locations.

7. What are the biggest roadblocks in metro Phoenix's art scene and how can we get past them? Trend toward tidy, clean, upscale, and primarily tax generating projects that are mostly entertainment, alcohol and food oriented. Upscale lofts are probably the number one threat to an infrastructure that provides affordable studios, grass roots artspaces, small business incubator space, and diverse housing options. A disconnect (or willful ignorance) from within the arts community about conditions that they happily contribute to that ultimately push artists, and diverse residents, out of neighborhoods.

8. Metro Phoenix's art scene needs __________. Less desperation toward the hip, cool and urge to follow national trends; more openness to personal discovery, independence and fearlessness in developing ones own creativity and authentic self.

9. What can metro Phoenix's art scene learn from other parts of the state -- and country? Metro Phoenix can take lessons from elsewhere (what to do, and perhaps more importantly what NOT to do). However, we have to be careful not to base ourselves, our planning and our expectations on "elsewhere", as conditions, regulations, zoning, politics, and other factors are substantially different.

10. In three years, what three words do you hope describe the state of the arts in Arizona? Artists meaningfully engaged

See also: James B. Hunt on the State of the Arts in Metro Phoenix

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