Visual Arts

7 Must-See First Friday Art Shows in Downtown Phoenix on June 5


It's a word that's fallen out of fashion, but still "potpourri" seems the best way to describe this month's First Friday offerings — which feature everything from ceramic iterations of fish in frying pans to projections of anatomy onto a planetarium surface that looks almost like a canvas. This month you can check out live mural painting, linger over photographs of veterans living with post-traumatic stress, and take a trip down memory lane to the decade that gave us yuppies and the VCR. 

“Art 360"

Arizona Science Center
is bringing works by local artist Bill Dambrova to its Dorrance Planetarium for an “Art 360” show during June's Adults Night Out, an 18-and-over event that features free admission to most of the center’s galleries. You can hit its summer exhibition, “Grossology: The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body,” which makes a fitting companion to Dambrova’s anatomy-infused art being shown in the planetarium, for $6. The evening also includes DJ Byron Fenix spinning tunes, a cash bar, and a 7 p.m. lecture on water scarcity. Adults Night Out takes place from 5:30 to 9 p.m. on First Friday. Find more information on the Arizona Science Center website.

“Collective Minds: Creative Outcomes”

First Studio presents a cool assortment of artists showing works in several media. Kevin Caron is exhibiting three pieces of sculpture, including his Hot Lips created using a 3-D printing process, and other works will populate the space that’s filled with nooks and crannies it’s always fun to explore between pausing for conversation and refreshments. Additional artists featured in this show include Anthony Eslick, Daren Brubaker, Kimberly Harris, Penny Benjamin, Tracey Jenkins, and Frank Ybarra. Friday's opening reception takes place from 6 to 10 p.m. Find more information on the First Studio Facebook page.

“Arte Jam”

Arizona Latino Arts & Cultural Center (ALAC) is celebrating its current exhibition, the traveling “American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music” from the Smithsonian Institution that continues here in Phoenix through July 5, with a night of art and performance at Paz Cantina. Expect live music, including mariachi, plus dance and live mural painting by several local artists. Otra Vida Car Club will also be on hand for the event, which takes place from 7 to 11 p.m. Find more information on the ALAC Facebook page.


“The '80s Portrait Show”


Practical Art is presenting a show by Jon Arvizu this month, which features works inspired by his own childhood memories of 1980s film, television, and comedy. Think Pee-wee Herman, Molly Ringwald, Rodney Dangerfield, and such. He’s chosen to convey the spirit of each person or character portrayed “without a surplus of props and placeholders,” so expect just the basics here – but flooded with memories for folks who were on the planet back then and somehow lived to tell. Friday’s artist reception takes place from 7 to 9 p.m. Find more information on the Practical Art website.

“Stories of Their Sacrifices: PTSD”

Bokeh Gallery at monOrchid is showing works by two photographers and veterans, Scott Johnson and Christopher Oshana, which feature veterans and the animals that have helped the men and women portrayed to heal. The photographs capture veterans before, during, and after their treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s an especially timely offering best appreciated by those who think celebrating Memorial Day is about more than having picnics or shopping a slew of sales. The artist reception on First Friday takes place from 6 to 10 p.m. Find more information on the Bokeh Gallery Facebook page.

“Legend City: A Ghost Town”

The Drive-Thru Gallery & Studio presents photographs by Pat Gorraiz that showcase the final days of the Legend City Old West-inspired theme park. We’re digging the opportunity to get that retro vibe while exploring a bit of Arizona history inside this gallery created with a repurposed shipping container that borders a cool courtyard conversation area. First Friday hours for this show are 6 to 10 p.m. Find more information on The Drive Through Gallery & Studio Facebook page.

“New Menu”

Olney Gallery at Trinity Cathedral is doing a fun twist on your typical Friday night fish fry, featuring new works by Phoenix ceramics artist Halldor Hjalmarson that include frying pans filled with detailed renderings of fish, other foods, and some less-expected fare. For those who prefer their art served without a ceramic skillet, the artist is presenting additional works that include beautiful round platters with desert landscapes rich in plant and animal imagery. The First Friday artist reception takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. Find more information on the Olney 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