Best New Lease on Life Phoenix 2012 - The Icehouse
There's a big reason why a "for sale" sign isn't planted in front of The Icehouse right now — and that reason is Peter Conley. The 50-year-old tirelessly has attempted over the past year to swat away the dark clouds that formed over the iconic downtown Phoenix arts venue, which was in danger of closing because of unpaid property taxes owed to Maricopa County. Conley, the director of the nonprofit organization overseeing the Icehouse, began teaming with such local creatives as painter Hugo Medina to stage fundraisers to help alleviate the financial burden. A few artsy endeavors also have sprung up at the property in recent months, including the new Quiet Mind Tea & No Frills Coffee Bar and secondhand store/junk shop Urbane Recycler. The historic arts complex, which originally opened in 1910 as Constable Ice Storage, also has hosted film screenings by Steve Weiss' No Festival Required, after-hours parties promoted by Quincy Ross, and epic group shows featuring the works of dozens of locals. Needless to say, Conley and his cohorts are continuing to keep the Icehouse cool, and — more importantly — open for business.