10 Free Art Shows You Should See in Metro Phoenix This Week

June’s First Friday is looking mighty eclectic, with exhibitions exploring stereotypes about American Indians, science-fiction literature, water conservation, LGBTQ pride, pop culture, and divinity. During a night devoted to visual arts, you’ll also have the chance to watch live hip-hop and contemporary dance performances. Here’s the rundown on where it’s all going down.

“Land Tracings”
Five artists who’ve received grants from the Arizona Commission on the Arts are featured in this exhibition, which reflects a common theme in their work – the need to document a passing moment. It’s happening at Chartreuse, and includes works in diverse media by David Emitt Adams, Alex! Jimenez, Paul Nosa, and collaborators Lauren Strohacker and Kendra Sollars. First Friday hours are 6 to 10 p.m. Find more information on the Chartreuse website.

“Oliverio Balcells”
Oliverio Balcells, who describes his work as “Mexican contemporary social art,” has literally left his mark on Tempe – with a recent mural on Apache Boulevard for the IN FLUX Cycle 6 public art program. Years before, he painted one of the city’s utility boxes, with an image that made its way to Tempe library cards. During First Friday, he’ll be showing work at a Phoenix business called Compass CBS, located at 2601 North Third Street, Suite 217. First Friday hours are 6 to 9 p.m. Find more information on the artist’s website.

“Super Indian”
It’s practically your last chance to see the “Super Indian: Fritz Scholder, 1967-1980” exhibition that closes at Phoenix Art Museum after this weekend. During First Friday, you can experience a hip-hop performance by Shining Souls and Friends – which features a rap performance by Tohono O’odham youth of Baboquivari High School in Sells, Arizona. Several additional exhibitions are also on view. First Friday hours start at 6 p.m. Find more information on the Phoenix Art Museum website.

“Out of This World”
Sculptor Grant Delph and painter Dwayne Hall, whose works are influenced by science-fiction literature, are about to wrap up their exhibition at @Central Gallery at Burton Barr Public Library. But first, they’ll be holding an artist reception, taking place on First Friday from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. Find more information on the Burton Barr Central Library website.

Through the non-profit organization One-n-Ten, youth photographers in metro Phoenix spent three months working with professional photographers to “investigate, dissect, and ultimately construct a raw and insightful interpretation” of LGBTQ pride. Their photographs are featured in this group exhibition at Practical Art. First Friday hours are 7 to 9 p.m. Find more information on the Practical Art website.

“Desert River/City River”
New paintings by New York artist Tony Winters capture iconic water landscapes surrounding metro Phoenix – including the Agua Fria, Verde, and Salt rivers. Meet the artist and hear local experts in water resources, conservation, and development at monOrchid, where First Fridays hours kick off with the 5 p.m. experts panel and continue through 10 p.m. Find more information on the monOrchid website.

Through seven large-scale ink drawings, artist Chelsi Rossi explores “the theme of the unreliable narrator” at Abe Zucca Gallery, located at 1301 Grand Avenue. Expect to see dream-like scenes filled with figures interacting with strange spaces, and no clear sequence of events – all completely open to viewer interpretation. Find more information on the Abe Zucca Gallery Facebook page.

“Now is Better Than Before”
See a solo exhibition featuring works by Chris Czajo – including new works of sculpture, watercolor, and oil painting – at 909 Cooperative. Czajo “uses art to play at the absurdity of everyday life,” in part by infusing common images with “bad jokes.” First Friday hours are 6 to 10 p.m. Find more information on the artist's website.

“Gods & Monsters”
More than three dozen artists working in diverse media explore “concepts of origin, myth, divinity, and morality” in this exhibition presented with Artelshow at {9} The Gallery. Featured artists include Eric Cox, Damian Jim, Cindy Schnackel, Swapna Das, Fred Tieken, Yuko Yabuki, Tara Sharpe, and Turner G. Davis. First Friday hours are 6 to 10 p.m. and include a brief, site-specific dance performance. Find more information on the Artelshow website.

“Art of the Cape”
Works by artists inspired by comics, superheroes, and cartoons are featured in this exhibition at Unexpected Gallery – which invites gallery-goers to don their finest pop-culture costume fare. First Friday hours are 6 to 10 p.m. Find more information on the Unexpected Gallery Facebook page.
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Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble