It's never fun when the number of good choices we're faced with outpaces the amount of time we have to enjoy them. But that's often the case during First and Third Friday in metro Phoenix, when there's never enough time to explore every exhibit and arts-related event taking place in downtown Phoenix.
Art Detour, an annual showcase of arts and culture now in its 27th year, gives us all an entire weekend to check out local galleries, art studios, and pop-ups -- plus an eclectic assortment of retail spaces, bars, and dining venues.
This year's shindig takes place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 7, and Sunday, March 8. Participants include 32 galleries, 16 art studios, 19 art spaces, 24 bars and dining establishments, four retailers, and four events described as "pop-ups & activities."
Art Detour is presented by Artlink, which compiles a guide featuring a list of all the "articipants" who've paid to be included. You'll find it floating around all sorts of midtown and downtown venues including Modified Arts in Roosevelt Row, Oasis on Grand, and the Phoenix Art Museum.
Four locations dubbed park-and-ride hubs will have information tables with volunteers ready to share Art Detour maps and event-related materials. Free trollies circulate along the official Art Detour route, stopping every 20 minutes or so at each of the designated hubs.
This year's hubs include Burton Barr Central Library, Oasis on Grand, CityScape, and the Arizona Center. It's perfectly fine to start at any hub and let serendipity guide you from place to place. Be sure to look for art while you're there since a couple of the hubs are hosting exhibitions during Art Detour.
But for those with specific interests, we've got targeted suggestions:
If you want to do the mural scene. . .
You can't wait for Art Detour. You need to be on mural watch now, and ramp it up a notch come Thursday's official start of the four-day mural event dubbed Paint PHX, when mural artists are converging on Roosevelt Row, Grand Avenue, 16th Street and other parts of our fair city to assure we've all got plenty of fresh art to carry us through another year.
You can celebrate alongside mural artists and fellow fans of their work during the 5th Street Block Party that runs from 2 to 10 p.m. along 5th Street in Roosevelt Row, which features local music, live mural painting, a lowrider show, a skate demo by Apache Skateboards, and more.
Be sure to pop into the boxy green building at 222 East Roosevelt Street as well. Once home to Cole and Dana Reed's GreenHaus, it's now an empty shell -- but it's also home to hidden treasures. During Art Detour, you can pop in to see murals by Ted DeGrazia formerly covered by faux walls but since removed by new owners Baron Properties, who'll be demolishing the building to make way for housing.
If you want to party. . .
Start the night before at Phoenix Art Museum, where Friday, March 6's mash-up of visual and performing arts called Exploding Plastic Inevitable after Andy Warhol's 1966 multi-media extravaganza in New York City celebrates the opening of an "Andy Warhol: Portraits" exhibition. The event runs from 6 to 10 p.m. and features "live interpretations inspired by Andy Warhol."
Participants include Wooden Indian, Four Chambers Press, Conder/dance, Liliana Gomez, Yai Cecream, DJentrification, Francisco Flores, Jar of Buttons, Tumble Tees, Palabra Collective, and more. Museum admission is free and the cost for touring the Warhol exhibition will be discounted to just $2 for this festive homage and nostalgic nod to Warhol's own EPI.
Come Saturday night, March 7, the pop-up park dubbed The Lot: What Should Go Here and the neighboring art space monOrchid are hosting a film screening we're told could involve "spontaneous singing and dancing." Presenters Artlink, No Festival Required, and Palm Pictures suggest bringing your own blanket or low-back chair along for their 8:30 p.m. screening of Stop Making Sense, the 1984 concert film of Talking Heads concert at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre. Impress your friends by reclining on your grooviest beach towel with a copy of David Byrne's How Music Works.
If you want to visit artist studios. . .
Head to Studio 6 at The Artery, where you'll find a first floor gallery filled with works in various media and an adjacent upstairs space (accessible by stairs only) where several artists including Agustin Vargas, Laura Cohen-Hogan, Walt Wieder, Ann Osgood, and Donna Stegner have studio space dotted with a fun assortment of works in progress.
Also hit Halldor Hjalmarson's studio, which was one of our favorite stops on this year's ASU Ceramics Studio Tour. You'll find plenty of pottery-filled nooks and crannies, a giant outdoor kiln, and an impressive array of pottery pieces in various stages of development.
We had a blast at Hazel and Violet during last year's Art Detour. Lovely folks at the small commercial letterpress printer engaged visitors in making their own coasters and getting a feel for how all those fancy printing contraptions operate.
If you want to shop. . .
Make your way to the Heard Museum for this weekend's Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market, where you'll find traditional and contemporary works by hundreds of artists. It's a cool opportunity to meet several generations of artists, enjoy live music and dance performance, watch art and culinary demonstrations, and more. Hours for the general public are 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 7, and 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 8. General admission for non-members is $20.
For an eclectic assortment of creative works by local artists, wander over to MADE Art Boutique in Roosevelt Row, where you can enjoy a retrospective of Eye Lounge artist and alumni works in the adjacent gallery space. Then head to Practical Art, where you'll also find jewelry, furniture, kitchen wares, clothing and more -- plus the current exhibition of paintings by Lee Berger exploring our relationship to our surroundings.
If you want to cycle around town. . .
Bicyclers and art lovers are converging on 1028 Grand Avenue Sunday morning, March 8, at 10 a.m. for a group bike ride that follows the Artlink Trolley route all those other people will be taking without putting pedal to the metal. It's part of the Sunday's Detour De Grand: Bikes, Beers & Bands event featuring gallery visits, artist tents, food trucks, live entertainment and more. Check out all the murals (including Rebecca Green's at The Lodge) and artist-decorated planters while you're there.
If you want to see alternative art spaces. . .
For folks who've never done First or Third Friday in metro Phoenix, these are especially cool places to discover during your first art walk experience here.
Also explore offerings in the warehouse district, which include the Icehouse, a former ice storage facility that's now a popular site for performance and visual art exhibitions. The district is also home to Step Gallery and Grant Street Studios, where you can see working studios for ASU art school students and the gallery space featuring art student works.
You'll even find art in local hotels from the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel, which exhibits an art project created to highlight 26 city blocks, to the Clarendon Hotel, which is gearing up for its next ARTELPHX multi-day art showcase in May.
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If you love it all and have the full weekend to explore the metro Phoenix arts scene, focus on Roosevelt Row on Saturday, and Grand Avenue on Sunday. Spend Friday hitting exhibitions in other areas, from midtown to the warehouse district. And don't forget to find time for all the venues off the beaten path.
Find more information on the Artlink website.