Culture News

Gail and Fred Tieken Open Backyard Gallery in Paradise Valley

Phoenix gallery goers have seen works by artist Fred Tieken exhibited in several local settings from monOrchid in Roosevelt Row to ArtelPhx at the Clarendon Hotel, but soon they’ll be able to see work by the 80-year-old creative, along with 44 additional artists, exhibited in the new Tieken Gallery, located in the backyard of Fred and Gail Tieken's Paradise Valley home.

Invited guests will be the first to see the show, when the Tiekens hold a grand opening celebration on Saturday, November 7. They're expecting a big turnout, after receiving more than 300 RSVPs. But they will host private and small group showings by appointment during the run of the show, and the closing reception from 2 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, November 29, is open to the public.

The exhibition features works by emerging, mid-career, and established artists, most of whom are based in metro Phoenix. Some, including Case Beer and Elizabeth Cheche, are creating new works specifically for the show. All but one will be in attendance for the opening, and several are attending the closing reception as well.

Fred says he was surprised to learn that many of the participating artists have yet to meet one another, so he’s especially excited that the opening reception will give them a chance to connect.

The couple invited 46 artist to participate just a month or so ago, and 44 of them are taking part. There's no formal title for the show, but they've started calling these artists the "Arizona 45." Most works being shown are paintings, but there will be about a half-dozen sculptures, too, by artists including William Barnhart, Pete Deise, and Jeff Zischke.

The Tiekens purchased one of Zischke’s Water Striders — a giant, glowing bug installed atop the canal during Scottsdale’s Canal Convergence event in March of 2014 — which will also be on view during the exhibition. “It’s a land strider now,” Gail says of the one-time public art piece. It’s set, with several additional sculptures they own, within a sculpture garden — where the Judy Roberts Trio with Renee Patrick and Greg Fishman will perform during the opening reception.

It’s been about two years since the Tiekens first started thinking about building their own gallery space. They’d looked at other properties, but weren’t finding anything that felt right. Instead, they undertook both an extensive home renovation and the gallery build — which required they move out for nine months. Fred has an art studio situated on the property and in Long Beach, where the couple operates another Tieken Gallery.

The Tiekens say they spent about $600,000 just on the gallery building, which has just over 950 square feet with 91 linear feet of hanging space — including two floating eight-foot walls. It was designed by Phoenix architect and builder Andy Byrnes, owner of The Construction Zone.

The Paradise Valley gallery had a soft opening in May of 2015, while Fred was showing work in the “ARTillery” exhibition at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum. The couple invited other artists in that show, who included former Brady Bunch cast member Eve Plumb, to join them at the gallery — where Fred's own works were on view. His works have also been exhibited in California, Florida, and New York — and he's hoping to show in Europe one day. 

Their inaugural group show is meant to be “a tribute to Arizona artists.” The Tiekens aren't taking commissions on works sold during the exhibition. Instead, artists will receive 90 percent of the sales, while the other 10 percent will be donated to the Phoenix nonprofit Free Arts of Arizona, which provides mentoring and arts experiences for abused, neglected, and homeless youth.

“We feel very fortunate about what Fred’s been able to accomplish in his art career here,” Gail says of Arizona. “This show is our thank you to artists, gallery owners, and the art community at large.”

The full roundup of participating artists is as follows: Lisa Albinger, Holly Anderson, William Barnhart, Elizabeth Bayham, Case Beer, Arthur Benjamins, Michele Bledsoe, Richard Bledsoe, Manny Burruel, Christine Cassano, Elizabeth Cheche, Johnny Crash, Bill Dambrova, Pete Deise, Brenda Edwards, Jeff Falk, Denise Fleisch, Aileen Frick, Gennaro Garcia, James Hernandez, Jason Hugger, Lori Landis, Tammi Lynch-Forrest, Constance McBride, Joe Montano III, Rafael Navarro, Larry Ortega, Sandra Ortega, Ann Morriss Osgood, David Paul, Dino Paul, Dan Pederson, Joe Ray, Nicole Royse, Cindy Schnackel, Tara Sharpe, Matthew Smith, Jessica Speer, Fred Tieken, Onna Voellmer, Shelley Whiting, Larry Willis, Denise Yaghmourian, Frank Ybarra, and Jeff Zischke.

It’s possible the Arizona group show will become an annual tradition, although the Tiekens say they'll likely mix up the list of artists rather than presenting the same slate year after year. “We have an amazing arts scene here,” he says.

The Tiekens plan to present additional exhibitions of Fred's art and works by other artists, and having their own exhibition space gives them plenty of options. “”Not being a commercial gallery,” Gail says, “gives us the freedom to do what we want.” 

View works by the “Arizona 45” at Tieken Gallery from 2 to 5 p.m. on November 29, or by appointment. The gallery is located at 5202 East Gold Dust Avenue in Paradise Valley. Find more information on the artist’s website.  
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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