We've got both good and bad news to report about downtown Phoenix's gallery scene.
The good news: Two of the artists from Bloom will open a new boutique and art space in the building that served as the former location for Of the Earth.
Fashion designer Rhianna Diehl and photographer Zihar Capini, both of whom helped run Bloom, are in the process of launching MissConstrued Boutique inside of the Fifth Street residence located next door to The Lost Leaf.
Diehl says two of the four artists involved with the Bloom decided to bow out, and they were unable to afford $1,200-a-month rent without them. Last week, she says the collective decided to "dissolve" the gallery and start a new enterprise.
In a bit of serendipitous timing, Diehl says she and Capini heard a few days later that Of the Earth's property was up for rent. The two jumped at the chance to snag a space on one of the major epicenters of First Friday, which attracts more than a thousand each month during the art walk.
"We were like, 'Let's grab it now," she says. "It was like a spur of the moment thing because we knew that someone else was going to grab up that spot."
Despite its primo spot along Fifth Street, Of the Earth -- which functioned as a holistic wellness center, gallery, yoga studio, and café since it opened in 2008 -- announced on their Facebook page that they were vacating the space. Mariana Riley, one of the proprietors behind Of the Earth, says the business closed due to financial issues.
Diehl and Capini are planning to debut MissConstrued during October's First Friday next weekend and are say they're doing their best to get the space ready on time.
"We've been running around like chickens with our heads cut off this week, but when business calls, we're not going to miss this opportunity," she says.
MissConstrued will occupy one of two spaces inside the duplex residence. Diehl is hoping they will prosper by being across the street from Galleria De Los Muertos, which she's collaborated with on several projects and events. Diehl says while the focus will be more on fashion than art, much like Of the Earth (and many other Fifth Street spaces), the boutique will host a variety of vendors and artists in the front yard.
"It made more sense since it was smaller and we can better use the space, and we will benefit from the foot traffic," Diehl says.
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