The metro Phoenix arts scene has changed a lot in 2017, as various venues that exhibit art open, close, or evolve. Here’s a look back at the year’s most significant changes in the local gallery world, including several openings for all-new art spaces.
Artist and curator Nicole Royse opened Royse Contemporary in downtown Scottsdale in September, after several years spent curating exhibitions for several Valley arts venues, including monOrchid in Roosevelt Row and the former Willo North Gallery. Royse Contemporary presents solo and group exhibitions, primarily featuring established Phoenix artists.
Mucho Mas Art Studio
In September, Emily Costello and Kathy Cano-Murillo opened a new studio and exhibition space, where they’re making art, holding classes, and exhibiting their work, along with work by Kathy’s husband and fellow artist Patrick Murillo. Mucho Mas is located behind a boutique called Galeana 39, and part of the McDowell Market building that’s also home to Palabras Bilingual Bookstore.
Jacques and Raquel Barbey of Phoenix opened a new 6,000-square-foot gallery space in downtown Scottsdale in October. It's designed to serve as a hybrid exhibition and pop-up gallery space. The first pop-up exhibition featured photographs by New York artist Bob Carey, who's best known for his self-portraits in pink tutus that help raise awareness for breast cancer.
The Arizona Artist Collective, an organization founded in 2016 by Prescott- and Ahwatukee-based artist Miriam Carlson-Maier, opened the Grotto Gallery in October. It’s located inside the FABRIC building, which was previously a performance space used by Childsplay and Stray Cat Theatre. The building also houses several fashion-based enterprises. Grotto Galley mainly will show works by members of its own artist collective.
Located inside the Onyx Arts and Events space just off Grand Avenue, the gallery formally opened in October with an exhibition of portraits painted by Hugo Medina, a Phoenix-based muralist whose work graces several downtown buildings including Modified Arts and the Renaissance Hotel.
The newest gallery to join the arts scene along Grand Avenue, Sisao is located inside the Oasis on Grand building that houses live/work spaces for creatives. The gallery officially opened in November, with a solo exhibition of work by Jeff Slim, who addresses the contemporary landscape through the lens of Navajo perspectives and pop culture. The gallery is managed by artist Robert Gentile, who co-founded the adjacent Grand ArtHaus venue.
A new art space called Adapt Gallery opened in September at Bentley Projects in Phoenix. It’s operated by Craig Randich, one of several artists with space inside The Studios at Bentley Projects. The Studios are located in a detached building on that site, just a few steps west of the Warehouse215 courtyard, and near Bentley Gallery as well. The gallery officially opened with a group show on First Friday, September 1. The exhibition featured Bentley Studio artists Chris Raypole, Jesse Paulk, Idakatherine Graver, Katharine Leigh Simpson, and Randich.
JB Snyder's exhibition space, shared with several area artists, was forced to close in February when the owner for the Roosevelt Row bungalow that housed it decided to use the space for another purpose. Artists who had shown work in the space included Lalo Cota,Tato Caraveo, and Mikey Jackson.
Public relations professional and community activist Stacey Champion closed the Treeo gallery she operated on Sixth Street in Roosevelt Row in January. Treeo opened in October 2014 and was located inside a small bungalow in a part of downtown Phoenix undergoing rampant development. Champion moved her offices to The Funk Lab on Grand Avenue, and is no longer operating a formal exhibition space. (She's since relocated to midtown Phoenix.) Artists who previously exhibited at Treeo include Colton Brock, JB Snyder, and Fred Tieken.
After losing its space inside the former Flowers building on Roosevelt Street, where a new development called The Blocks of Roosevelt Row will open in 2018, the Five15 Arts collective moved temporarily to a gallery space inside Phoenix Center for the Arts. They presented periodic exhibitions at the center's gallery from January to December, but will be moving to Chartreuse gallery in Grand Avenue in March 2018.
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The Gallery at Burton Barr Central Library
When Burton Barr Central Library closed temporarily due to flooding damage sustained in July, downtown Phoenix temporarily lost an exhibition space that typically presented monthly art shows featuring local artists. The gallery, located on the first floor near the library’s entrance, will reopen when the library reopens. It's expected to be back in operation during the summer of 2018.
Editor's note: This post has been updated from its original version.