Culture News

Art Detour 2011: A Rundown (and Why It's Not on the First Weekend of March)

Art Detour isn't an extension of First Friday. The event, thrown annually, allows Phoenix art scene oldies and newbies alike to roam and mingle around most of downtown's art galleries, studios, and spaces for an entire weekend in March.

Distinguishing the two events is one reason why Artlink, a non-profit that helps organize downtown's art festivals, decided to move Art Detour 23 - scheduled to take place on Saturday, March 19, and Sunday, March 20 - from the first weekend of March to the third weekend of the month.

"We hear a lot of people say, 'We're here on [First] Friday to see the art [so] why would we come back on Saturday?' So we've decided to move Detour to a separate weekend," says Artlink president Sloane Burwell. "We're trying it out and we'll see how it goes."

Before the now party-hardy First Friday took over the modest environs of downtown, Art Detour was it in terms of open studio tours. More than two decades later, the weekend-long shindig remains geared toward the art, not the scene.

Where First Friday is a pedestrian-driven affair, Burwell states that Art Detour is about driving to spots that aren't necessarily convenient walking distance from Roosevelt Row (which will not see any street closures for the event) or Grand Avenue. Evidence to support this, according to Burwell, is that during last year's Detour, Artlink handed out 2,000 maps at its headquarters, but only 250 folks rode the shuttle that only goes to the more populated-with-art-spaces areas.

For the 23rd annual event, Burwell couldn't supply too many specifics because she's waiting until all of the gallery applications are received. However, she did tell New Times that there will be an emphasis on live art as well as meet-and-greet-style gallery tours that will be organized by Artlink member and After Hours Gallery co-owner Mike Oleskow.

For those art spaces that haven't received a message from Artlink regarding the specifics of Art Detour, hold your horses. Burwell says an e-mail will go out to y'all once all of the applications are read and processed.

Interested galleries have until this Friday to turn in the paperwork and the $100 fee, which can be done by e-mailing [email protected]. Applications can also be handed to Burwell in person in front of the food truck at the Downtown Phoenix Public Market, 721 North Central Avenue, on Friday between 11:45 a.m. and 12:30-ish p.m.

On Saturday, the Grand Avenue Arts & Small Business District will be hosting an Art Detour 23 Collaboration Gathering from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at Bragg's Pie Factory, 1301 Grand Avenue. See this page for more information about the meeting.

Art Detour 23 is slated to take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 19, and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, March 20. For more information, go to

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Steve Jansen
Contact: Steve Jansen