Culture News

Art Detour 2016: A Field Guide to This Weekend's Event in Downtown Phoenix

It’s abundantly clear each time First Friday rolls around that spending one evening each month exploring Phoenix arts and culture just doesn’t cut it. There’s too much art out there, and it takes more than a few hours to see even a fraction of it. But once a year, there's Art Detour, a full weekend that’s all about seeing exhibitions, visiting artists' studios, trying hands-on art activities, and hanging out with the local creative community in downtown Phoenix.

Art Detour started in 1988, and is organized each year by a nonprofit called ArtLink, which works to promote a thriving downtown Phoenix arts community by connecting artists, businesses, and community members. In 1994, they started promoting the First Friday art walk that's become a linchpin of the local arts community — and they're also involved with several additional events. Last year, ArtLink introduced a "connect the dots" theme for Art Detour 27, which they're also using this time around.

The 28th edition of the event features 75 different venues, including 23 galleries, 17 cultural venues, 15 studios, and three performing arts spaces — plus a dozen places to dine and drink and five retail destinations. Last year's Art Detour included close to 100 venues, so you've got fewer choices this time around. But that just means you'll have an easier time trying to get to it all.

The Phoenix arts scene has experienced some significant changes since Art Detour 27. Last year, Art Detour highlights included seeing uncovered murals by Ted DeGrazia at GreenHaus in Roosevelt Row, where plenty of people also took their last selfies with Lauren Lee's Three Birds mural before the building was demolished to make way for a new development. Several galleries and small businesses have opened, closed, or moved since last year — and the chance to see all the changes is reason enough to attend Art Detour. 

Here’s everything you need to know about the 2016 Art Detour to help you plan ahead.

When: Saturday and Sunday, March 19 and 20, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Stick around after dark to explore local nightlife, including live music, cuisine, and more.

Where: Various locations in and around downtown Phoenix, including the Roosevelt Row arts district and the Grand Avenue district. Use the Art Detour map (available online and at several venues) to find your way around.

Ages: All ages. You’ll find Kids’ Detour activities at several venues, but make sure you share with the actual kids if your inner child can’t resist playing with crayons, pom poms, or popsicle sticks.

Price: Free, but nothing says you can’t bring money just in case you feel the urge to have a little art splurge.

Getting there: Take the Valley Metro Light Rail to the Central and Roosevelt stop if you'd like to start your explorations in the Roosevelt Row arts district. Or, get off the train at Central and McDowell to explore the Phoenix Art Museum, from which you can hop on an Art Detour shuttle to other destinations. You can also exit the light rail at its Central and Encanto stop to hit up the Heard Museum before catching the Art Detour shuttle there. Oddly enough, museum admission isn't free during Art Detour. 

Parking: Bring money for parking meters or parking lots, in case you’re not lucky enough to snag a free spot. Find information on parking options, including lot locations and parking fees, on the Downtown Phoenix website. 

Getting around: Find your way to one of five free Art Detour shuttle locations, and you can ride around town by shuttle all day both days. Most shuttles run every 20 minutes or so, although the one shuttle dedicated to visiting participating studios will run closer to every 35 minutes. Shuttle stops include the Arizona Center, CityScape, Heard Museum, Oasis on Grand, and Phoenix Art Museum. Also look for green Grid Bike Share bikes you can rent for riding around town.

Weather: The forecast predicts temperatures in the upper 80s over the weekend, without anything nearly as exciting as wind or rain.

Food and drink: Plenty of Art Detour venues are located near places offering food and drink. They range from the casually elegant and somewhat pricey Palette restaurant at Phoenix Art Museum to Grand Avenue Pizza Company, where you can grab a slice and go. Stop to appreciate art in local coffee shops including Jobot, Be in the monOrchid building, Songbird Coffee & Tea House, Street Coffee, Urban Beans, and others. Find a dozen restaurants and bars that support Art Detour using the event map online. Or explore New Times' Chow Bella picks for best downtown restaurants and coffee spots

Wear: Comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen, and casual attire. A hat is also advisable.

Bring: Water bottle, phone charger, and tip money (for baristas, street musicians, pedicab drivers, and such). You’ll need cash for some after-event shindigs, too – including $6 cover to get into Trunk Space for live music starting at 8 p.m.

Once you arrive, you’ll have a chance to see exhibitions, visit artist studios, try hands-on activities, shop for artist and artisan creations, and more. Most exhibitions will also be on view from about 6 to 9 p.m. during Third Friday, March 18.

“Fortoul Brothers”
40 Owls Gallery, 815 North Central in Phoenix
Mixed media works and art-infused Fortoul Brothers merchandise.
Both days noon to 6 p.m.

"The End is Near"
The Firehouse 
Works in various mediums created by several Arizona artists.
Both days 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“In Sight”
Eye Lounge
Ekphrastic works by 11 local artists and writers presented through an Eye Lounge and Four Chambers Press collaboration.
Both days 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

"Subsystems: Non-adaptive Versus Adaptive"
Modified Arts 
New works by James Angel
Both days 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

"All Arizona"
Pop-up exhibition at 335 West McDowell Road
Thermal Gallery presents an Art(ist)serv exhibition of works in various mediums by 10 Arizona artists. 
Both days 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“The Black & White Show”
Lotus Contemporary Art
New abstract paintings by Denise Fleisch, sculpture by Mike Afsa, and glass works by Joshua Dopp.
Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“Paint Phoenix Artists”
Sound & Color (across from Oasis on Grand)
Works in various media by artists who took part in Paint Phx 2016
Both days 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“Then and Now”
The Lodge Art Studio
Works in various media by artist who’ve shown at the gallery in the past, as well as works by current studio artists.
Both days 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“Shifting Waterscapes”
Bentley Gallery
12 new large-scale photo realistic paintings by David Kessler, plus a new mural by Douglas Miles on the south side of an exterior wall at Bentley Projects (also check out Noelle Martinez’s new mural nearby).
Both days 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

"Working Title"
Step Gallery at ASU's Grant Street Studios
MFA thesis exhibition by Courtney Richter. Also head to Northlight Gallery at Grant Street Studios for a photography exhibition titled "Nature's Persistent Instrument."
Both days 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“Mutant Piñata Show”
Dozens of diverse piñatas created by artists, community members, students and others for this 8th annual show presented by Beatrice Moore. Look for Moore’s mixed-media assemblage “The Cactus Garden” in front of Chartreuse gallery.
Both days 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“The Hive @ 5”
The Hive Art Gallery
Works by dozens of artists who’ve exhibited at The Hive, including Jenny Odom (Iggy Art), Jeff Slim, Sabrina Williams, and Chip Thomas (Jetsonorama).
Both days 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

DTPHX Engagement Lab at Arizona Center
Photographic works presented by the InFocus photography support organization of Phoenix Art Museum.
Both days 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

"La Cabronada"
First Studio
Works by Tres Cabrones (Gennaro Garcia, Joe Ray, and Frank Ybarra), and guest artist Emily Costello. Explore another exhibit, titled "Inglorious Arizona," while you're there.
Both days 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

"Exotic Art Show"
Alwun House
Art in various mediums inspired by erotica (okay, maybe this one isn't exactly "all ages").
Saturday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Figurative paintings by Damian Gomes
Both days 2 to 5 p.m.

Open Studios: You can hop a shuttle heading to several artist studios or pop into open studios on your own as you encounter them. 

Prolific ceramic artist Halldor Hjalmarson is opening his studio located at 45 West Lynwood in Phoenix both days from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. He’s got an impressive collection of tools, materials, and finished works – and several vintage Art Detour posters hang on various studio walls.

Nancy Hill is opening the Hazel & Violet studio both days from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. She’ll be doing tours and demonstrations of their five vintage printing presses throughout the day, and helping visitors pull their own coasters and miniature broadsides on a flatbed press. 

Several artists at The Collective Gallery and Studio 6 at the Artery, located at 625 East Indian School Road, will be working in their open studios during Art Detour, so you can stop by to see finished works on view and talk with them about their art.

Live Painting: Joseph "Sentrock" Perez will be painting a mural (courtesy of Quality Bumper) at Grand and 13th avenues during Art Detour, as well as showing work in the “A Better View” exhibition presented with Bird City Saints at {9} The Gallery.

Look for live painting during this weekend’s soft opening of a new art gallery and working studio space called Grand ArtHaus, which is located at Oasis on Grand. It’s operated by artists Laura Dragon, Robert Gentile, and Michael Viglietta– who are also presenting the first Grand ArtHaus group exhibition during Art Detour.

Shipping Containers: Head to Matt’s Big Breakfast to find a shipping container exhibition featuring works by several local artists without gallery representation. Also hit the trio of shipping container galleries in Roosevelt Row, where Phoenix Institute of Contemporary Art is showing “Meta Views” featuring works by Kev Nemelka, as well as “Progression” featuring works by Carolyn Lavender, and “Cella” featuring works by Monica Aissa Martinez. 

Hands-on Activities: Try your hand at Japanese Taiko drumming at the Fushicho Daiko Dojo located at 925 Grand Avenue, where you can also watch Taiko drummers in rehearsal mode.

Make your own mutant piñatas with Bergamot Institute director Shannon Youso, who’ll have an activity area in front of Chartreuse gallery on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Craft supplies and piñata forms will be available (while supplies last) but visitors are free to bring their own forms or crafting goodies. If you’re feeling especially proud of your piñata, you can leave it with the gallery, where you can see it hanging on Sunday.

Kids’ Detour: Look for kids’ activities at each of the five Art Detour shuttle locations, and several additional venues as well. Find an egg-decorating activity presented by the Wright House and Opportunity 4 Kids in the courtyard just east of Drive-Thru Gallery, various kids’ crafts at monOrchid (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.), and coloring for all ages in the Herberger Theater Center’s south-facing courtyard filled with sculptures inspired by dance. All three venues are also presenting art exhibits, so be sure to spend time exploring their galleries as well. 

Shopping: Head to MADE Art Boutique to explore artist and artisan offerings at the Market at Made from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, where you’ll find Iron Root wooden wares created by local artist Alexandra Bowers. Look for additional market-style shopping, or be the cool kid by heading home with a work of original art from a local gallery or other art space.

Other Good Stuff: Find live Native music being performed in the Central Courtyard of the Heard Museum, where to can stroll the outdoor grounds to experience newly-restored outdoor sculptures.

Hit Grand Avenue on Sunday between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. to explore Detour de Grand: Bikes, Beer & Bands. The event kicks off at 10 a.m. with a bike ride with Phoenix Spokes people (meet on Grand Avenue between 10th and 11th Avenues). Check out Phoenix Ale Brewery offerings and food from local restaurants and food trucks from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hear live music from bands including The Sugar Thieves, Chicken and Waffles, The Haymarket Squares, and The Persuaders at Trunk Space from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Head to Margaret T. Hance Park by the Burton Barr Central Library to enjoy the free Festival de España presented from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday by Phoenix Center for the Arts, which features live performance, food, art, and demonstrations infused with Spanish arts and culture. 

These are just some of your options during Art Detour weekend, mind you. Sure, a few of the places we've noted aren't official "Articipants" who've paid to be on the master list — but they've still got cool stuff you might want to explore during your Art Detour travels. Find more Art Detour details, including a map showing participating venues, on the Art Detour website.

Correction: An earlier version of this post referred to Opportunity 4 Kids as Opportunity 4 All.
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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