Big Brain Awards

Big Brain Update: Michelle Ponce and Damian Jim of Phoenix's 1Spot Gallery

Leading up to this year's Big Brain Awards, we're checking in with past winners. Up today: Michelle Ponce and Damian Jim of 1Spot.

It's full steam ahead for 1Spot Gallery owners Michelle Ponce and Damian Jim.

The pair won a 2013 Big Brain Award for their Native American art gallery off of Roosevelt Row. And, since then, they've been presenting must-see shows -- and plotting an upcoming collaboration with a fellow former Big Brain winner.

See also: 2013 Big Brain Awards Winners Announced

We caught up with Ponce, who gave us a quick update on what she and Jim have been up to.

What have you been up to since winning a Big Brain Award? 1Spot Gallery has produced amazing exhibits of local and international artists, celebrating dynamic, cross-cultural themes and art!

What's your next big project? 1Spot is looking into doing a very powerful, politically-saavy revolutionary show with guest curators, including the prolific Thomas Greyeyes, which explores the role of the indigenous warrior in identifying and transforming the social, political, and economic barriers to self-determination. We've been playinig with the idea of having a pop-up gallery in downtown Scottsdale to infiltrate the traditional Native art mecca of the valley with some phenomenal contemporary and socially relevant art!

Where do you see Phoenix a year from now? Phoenix will be more centralized in its sense of community and resources; a more diverse community will be celebrated and even more visible, across all industries, and especially the arts. As we continue to celebrate and elevate the dynamic artistic contributions of our cross-cultural community, Phoenix will REALLY see what it's made of, and that it's much more beautiful and colorful than we think!

Where do you see yourself a year from now? 1Spot Gallery will be a more established local name, everyone will know who we are in the downtown arts district. We expect to continuously curate exhibits which deliver poignant social and cultural reflections of what it means to be indigenous TODAY. As champions of this burgeoning cultural phenomenon, as self-determination and self-expression comes to full fruition within the contemporary indigenous artist community, the quality and social relevance of what art IS and CAN BE about this movement will be accessible, celebrated, and honored by all!

Nominations for this year's Big Brain Awards are closed. Check back in the coming weeks for profiles of this year's finalists and information about New Times' Artopia, an evening of art, drinks, food, and music, on Saturday, April 26. Tickets are $25.

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Becky Bartkowski is an award-winning journalist and the arts and music editor at New Times, where she writes about art, fashion, and pop culture.
Contact: Becky Bartkowski