may be a bit off the beaten path when it comes to Downtown Phoenix art spaces, you might want to consider visiting the venerated venue during First Friday. Especially since its proprietors will unveil two artsy enterprises located on the property, as well as a brand new exhibition.
Urbane Recycler, a combination "junk/arts salvage shop" and secondhand store, and the Quiet Mind Tea & No Frills Coffee Bar will debut later tonight at the venue. Peter Conley, the director of the non-profit organization that oversees the Icehouse, says that both businesses will hopefully bring more people to visit the venue and help fund future projects and events.
"The objective is to get people to come to the Icehouse and really decompress and chill out while being able to wander around and visit the Cathedral Room or White Column Room while supporting the cause," he says.
Both establishments are housed in rooms along the Icehouse's loading dock area adjacent to artist Barry Schwartz's "Shocklick Lounge
" and each will offer each offer funky and décor and the chance to visit portions of the venue that have previously been unseen.
Conley says Quiet Mind will offer hot and cold beverage bar with an emphasis on tea, although a variety of coffees will also be served.
"While sipping on a cup of healthy tea, we invite you to sit with a book, spend quality time with friends, or take a meditative stroll through the serene grounds of the Icehouse," he says.
Meanwhile, he describes Urbane Recycler as "a kind of like thrift store for artists and creatives" and will stock a mix of secondhand treasures and items to used for art projects.
"It's not totally like your typical thrift store, however, as we're trying to keep it on a more tasteful level," Conley says. "We have a lot of materials like metals and wood that could used by artists looking for stuff to sculpt from our use in their work."
Currently, he adds, the shop is looking for any donations of secondhand goods the public might be interested in parting with, such as "funky furniture, art supplies, and things that creatives are interested in."
"Hopefully, people will realize what we're trying to do and bring us their stuff," Conley says. "Not that we're trying to take away from Goodwill or anything, we just feel we have a cause to support and hopefully people will think Icehouse is worthwhile enough to donate unique unwanted items."
He adds that the shop won't deal that much with clothing, save for some custom-made t-shirts created by artist and vintage Phoenix aficionado Marshall Shore.
After Icehouse patrons grab a cup of green tea at Quiet Mind or peruse the goods for sale at Urbane Recycler tonight, Conley hopes they'll head over to the White Column or Cathedral rooms to check out the works that will be included in the "Garden of Thorns" group exhibition, which will be on display throughout June.
Curated by Icehouse owner Helen Hestenes, it showcases the efforts of 25 different artists. The lineup includes works by metal sculptor Pete Deise, painters Rafael Navarro and J.B. Snyder, illustrator Robert Steinhilber, and designer Christopher Wick.
Conley says the exhibition is considered to be an "extension" of the Icehouse's courtyard "Garden of Thorns" greenery/installation, which was created by Hestenes and memorializes local artists who have passed away.
"The garden is a project that Helen has been working on for years, it's been mostly conceptual and we're really trying to help expand it over the coming months," he says. "It's still very much in the early stages."
Conley explains that the launching of both Quiet Mind and Urbane Recycler, as well as the growing of the Garden or Thorns are examples of its proprietors' efforts at generating interest in the venue. He believes the Icehouse is "becoming more of a living, breathing project that will continue expanding and hosting events."
That includes turning the White Column Room into a makeshift cinema. Local indie film guru Steve Weiss will bring his "No Festival Required" series to the Icehouse and begin showing little-known flicks on the fourth Friday of the month during the summertime. The series starts on June 22 with Peter Chang's black-and-white documentary Tokyo Is Dreaming," followed by a visit by the "Rural Route Film Festival" on July 27, and a screening of the John Waters-narrated Of Dolls and Murder on August 24.
Conley says that Shore will also begin screening "some short informative films that are of a vintage nature" in the White Column Room starting in June.
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"We're launching all these this during an odd time of the year because we feel like a few months are needed to sort of iron things out. So by the fall we should be kicking more things off in a huge way," Conley says. "In the meantime, we want to keep thing going on a consistent level while being open all the time. So you can expect having an event going every weekend at the Icehouse."
Urban Recycler and the Quiet Mind Tea Room open on Friday. "The Garden of Thorns" art exhibition will also hold its opening reception from 7-11 p.m. Admission is free.