A new art space called Fruit Loop Gallery is opening in Roosevelt Row on Friday, October 25. It’ll be located just inside a new entrance for the monOrchid building, located at 214 East Roosevelt Street. It’s the latest change to the arts district, which has been the site of significant development in recent years.
The gallery’s name references the LGTBQ history of downtown Phoenix, according to Dorina Bustamante of True North Studio. The developer, which purchased the building from photographer Wayne Rainey earlier this year, has offices inside the multi-use space.
The galley will be curated by Kenny Barrett, who owns and operates the Phoenix General boutique with Joshua Hahn. Currently, they have a single location, in midtown Phoenix. A second Phoenix General is opening inside monOrchid in coming weeks. “We hope to be open by November First Friday,” says Barrett.
Phoenix General will be located next to the gallery, which will feature immersive art installations by local, national, and international artists. Exhibitions will change on a quarterly basis. First up is “Bearadigm Shift” by Tara Logsdon. The installation comprises a stuffed bear that stands over six feet tall, who appears at first glance to be in a meditative state.
The new gallery represents a full-circle moment for Logsdon. She recalls working for several years as a photography assistant to Rainey after moving back to Phoenix in 2002.
“There was nothing else down here,” she says of early Roosevelt Row days. "Now, it’s considered one of the country’s leading arts districts."
Barrett has a similar feeling about Fruit Loop Gallery and bringing Phoenix General to Roosevelt Row. For years, Barrett and Hahn operated a community garden and boutique in Roosevelt Row. It was based in a bungalow on Sixth Street that’s since been purchased by a developer.
Today, Roosevelt Growhouse has returned near its original location. And Barrett is excited about being part of Fruit Loop Gallery. “We’re excited about helping to keep the arts alive in Roosevelt Row,” he says.
In recent years, the Evans Churchill neighborhood that includes Roosevelt Row has changed dramatically. An art space called the GreenHaus closed several years ago, and the building was demolished to make way for an apartment tower that sits just east of monOrchid.
Decades before, the building was home to one of the area's first drag bars, where it’s rumored that murals by Ted DeGrazia were painted in lieu of paying a big bar tab. Other buildings have been demolished or sold, resulting in several artists and galleries looking for new space.
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Logsdon hopes the new Fruit Loop Gallery can help make connections between the area’s past and present, while honoring both the creatives with a longtime presence in Roosevelt Row and those who are newer to the downtown arts scene.
As people enter the space, they see lighting and other elements that signal the ideas of evolution and transformation.
“This is changing space inside a changing neighborhood and a changing city,” Logsdon says. “I want to help honor the layers of this place, and create an energy flow so everyone feels welcome and included here.”
Bearadigm Shift. The free opening happens from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, October 25, at monOrchid, 214 East Roosevelt Street.