Visual Arts

Crescent Ballroom Hosts "Celebrating Beauty"

In the six months since the Crescent Ballroom opened, the renowned concert venue has hosted fashion shows, comedy gigs, dance nights, and (of course) plenty of concerts. As for art shows? Eh...not so much.

That all changes starting tonight as painter Hugo Medina, Xico, and Cuervo Studios unveil "Celebrating Beauty," a local artist showcase during Art Detour weekend that serves as the Crescent's debut exhibition.

And it's a pretty star-studded showcase to boot, featuring a wealth of creatives that are renowned in the downtown Phoenix art scene, including names like Daniel Funkhouser, James B. Hunt, and Fausto Fernandez.

As its name indicates, the M.O. of the exhibition is the exploration and interpretation of beauty and the many forms it can take. Medina, who co-curated the exhibition with Xico, says that each of the 40-50 works (which are hung in both the Crescent's concert hall and adjacent lounge) created by 25 different visual artists offers a "unique portrayal" of the subject matter.

"We didn't want just people to do the cliché painting of a woman or a flower. Everybody needed to bring something unique and different to the table because the idea of beauty is so vague that it could be interpreted in so many ways," Medina says. "So the intent is to capture as many different and distinctive perspectives."

For example, Navarro is creating a sculpture that blends the shape of a guitar with the female form, which -- according to his artist's statement -- recognizes the role of muses in inspiring the creation of music and art. Medina describes it as "colorful and modern and different."

FX Tobin, on the other hand, went in a more freaky-deaky direction with his contribution, creating a painting of Frankenstein's creature lusting after a buxom lass in "Maya Monster Rendezvous," which Medina says is perfect for the show because "it is so out there from what people think of beautiful."

Meanwhile, Medina crafted a painting of his grandmother for the exhibition. "Because to me, she encompassed everything that I thought beauty was, because she was strong, competent, and lovely," he says.

"Celebrating Beauty" is just one part of a busy weekend for Medina, who also helped organize the LowRider Show and Shine Art Supplies Drive that will take place on Sunday afternoon at 16th Street and Edgemont as a part of Calle 16's Art Detour festivities. (The event, which you can check out here, will help accumulate art supplies for the students of Metro Arts.)

Tonight, however, he'll be busy attending the opening reception for "Celebrating Beauty," which will also feature "wearable art" works of jewelry creators -- including Nicole Marie Smith, Carmen Guerrero, Gloria Casillas, and Julicia Hernandez -- as well as a fashion show and body painting by Dianne Nowicki, Matt Brown, and Angel Diaz.

Crescent Ballroom owner Charlie Levy says that having artwork displayed at the concert venue will be a "different and unique" experience.

"For the longest time, artists have been coming to the Crescent to check out music," Levy says. "And this weekend you'll see the situation reversed as local musicians will come here to see all the art."

The opening reception for "Celebrating Beauty" takes place at 5:30 p.m. tonight at Crescent Ballroom. Art Detour hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is free. Click here for more details.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.