7 Must-See First Friday Art Shows in Phoenix on May 1

From flamenco dance to steampunk art, you've got plenty of good choices for First Friday in May. Several venues are mixing it up with visual and performance art. Here are seven exhibitions and events not to miss.

See also: Cinco de Mayo Guide 2015


MFA students at ASU continue to be at the center of intriguing exhibitions around town. This time, they're showing work at Frontal Lobe Community Space and Gallery in a group show curated by Gregory Simoncic. Participating artists include AJ Nafziger, Rachel Goodwin, Jessica Palomo, Dani Godreau, John Tuomisto-Bell, Zachary Valent, Ashley Czajkowski, and Cecily Culver.

Exhibited works will include Palomo's Characters of Disease orbs made with animal intestines on wire frames, and wax head by Tuomisto-Bell like those he created for an IN FLUX Cycle 5 public art installation titled A Little Slice of Heaven. Other media represented in the exhibition include artificial grass, steel, hemp fiber, newspaper, concrete, rubber, wood, water, liquid graphite, Mylar, and many more. Friday's opening reception takes place from 6 to 10 p.m. Find more information on the Frontal Lobe Facebook page.

PHXFLAMEnco: Part Uno

The latest mash-up of visual and performance art to hit the Icehouse features flamenco dance, music, works by local artists, food, and more. Participating artists include Yumi La Rosa, Carlos Montafour, Chris and Lena Jacome, and many more.The festivities begin at 6 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Find more information on the Facebook event page.

"Intertemporalist Steampunk Exhibition"

It's time once again for Alwun House to present its annual foray into steampunk, with artworks reflecting the interplay of Victorian culture with science fiction sensibilities. This year's exhibition features works in various media by more than a dozen artists including Tom Ardans, Steven Burke, Rob Cobasky, Keely Finucane, Holly Shoemaker, and Aleta Welling. The First Friday opening, which kicks off at 7 p.m. and continues until 1 a.m., includes music by The Haymarket Squares and vendors selling their "wildly imaginative wares." Costumes are welcome. Tickets for opening night are $8 in advance or $12 the day of the show. Find more information on the Alwun House website.

"After the Frost"

When Katie Scarbrough made the one-week drive from Florida to Phoenix in January, she stopped in several places to take photographs reflecting the diversity of nature emerging from the cold. Eleven color 11-by-14-inch photographs from that journey are featured in her solo exhibition "After the Frost" at the Drive-Thru Gallery & Studio. She's arranged the pieces so their subject matter moves from smallest to largest as folks move through the gallery space, which is located adjacent to a lovely outdoor courtyard. The exhibition opens at 6 p.m. on First Friday. Find more information on the Drive-Thru Gallery & Studio Facebook page.

"For the Sin"

Palabra is currently showing a new collection of works by Joshua Rhodes, which it describes as "an amusing artistic exploration celebrating the sins of man." Rhodes created images related to seven sins with attention to which colors best represent each one -- and added his creative touch to likenesses of famous people including Michael Jackson and Richard Nixon. Palabra is open until 9 p.m. on First Friday. Find more information on the event Facebook page.

"Brave New World"

Damian Jim has been spending a lot of time in digital painting mode, using tools such as Brushes 3 and ArtStudio. Folks who hit 1Spot Gallery can see the fruits of his labor shown as giclées, canvases, and woodprints. Featured works depict everything from levitating figures to dystopic scenes. Jim describes the works, designed using an iPad and iPhone, as "complex in layering and symbolism." First Friday's opening starts at 6 p.m. Find more information on the 1Spot Gallery Facebook page.


Ashley Czajkowski's solo exhibition at Step Gallery inside Grant Street Studios addresses the false dichotomy between humans and nature, as the artist explores whether it's possible for people to reclaim their wild, animal nature. She's especially interested in the experiences of women taught from an early age to become civilized. Her exhibition includes object-making, performance, and video installation. The First Friday opening takes place 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Find more information on the ASU Events website.

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