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Stilt-walkers strolling along Grand Avenue.EXPAND
Stilt-walkers strolling along Grand Avenue.
Lynn Trimble

Here's Your Guide to the Grand Avenue Festival in Phoenix

The Grand Avenue Festival is a chance to explore eclectic offerings in one of the city's most vibrant creative enclaves. The 2019 festival takes place from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, November 9, along several blocks of the historic stretch of Grand Avenue between the I-10 overpass and Van Buren Street. After-hours activities run from 8 to 10 p.m. at various locations.

The festival is presented by Grand Avenue Arts & Preservation, whose mission is to make the downtown district an interesting place to live, work, and spend leisure time. The organization was founded by artist and activist Beatrice Moore and Nancy Hill, owner of Hazel & Violet letterpress.

More than three dozen art spaces and small businesses are taking part in the Grand Avenue Festival. It’s fine to show up and start exploring, but we’ve got details for those who like to do their planning in advance. If you want to volunteer, check the Grand Avenue Festival website to learn how to help on festival day.

Here’s our field guide to festival highlights, including details about what’s happening when, and how to make the most of it all.

Hanging out on the sidewalk along Bragg's Pie Factory.EXPAND
Hanging out on the sidewalk along Bragg's Pie Factory.
Lynn Trimble

First, a few basics.

Lay of the land: Festival activities happen along Grand Avenue, primarily between two intersections. At one end, Grand Avenue intersects with Seventh Avenue and West Van Buren Street. At the other, Grand Avenue intersects with 15th Avenue and West Roosevelt Street. Most festival venues are situated along the main drag, which is part of historic Route 60. But some are located on side streets that branch from Grand Avenue.

Getting around: Look for free, on-street parking along Grand Avenue and its many side streets. Designated festival parking lots are located near The Armory, Bragg’s Pie Factory, Bikini Lounge, Desert Sun Plaza, La Melgosa, Trans Am Café, Tuft & Needle, and Unexpected Art.

If you’re cycling, check out the bike racks in front of Unexpected Art, Oasis on Grand, Bragg’s Pie Factory, The Lodge Art Studio, 11th Monk3y, and Fushicho Daiko. Free six-seat pedicabs decorated by Grand Avenue artist Luster Kaboom will be making trips up and down the street during the festival. Keep it classy and bring some tip money.

Keeping your cool: Dress for comfort, and prepare for the heat, even if you’re just planning to pop in for a short festival stint. Chances are you’ll end up staying longer and will need essentials like walking shoes and an ample supply of water. It never hurts to wear sunscreen and a hat.

Festival guides: Get your bearings with a free festival guide that includes a map showing participating venues. You’ll find them at the information table in front of Bragg’s Pie Factory, where you can also pick up a commemorative festival poster featuring artwork by Phoenix artist Ashley Macias. Also, look for Wandering Guides donning colorful aprons and kooky hats who'll be stationed along Grand Avenue to answer festival-related questions.

Timing your visit: Some activities happen at particular times, so take note if you have your heart set on making them part of your day.

Sticker challenge: Pick up a festival passport at the information table in front of Bragg’s Pie Factory if you want to collect nine stickers made by local women artists. You’ll find them by doing a self-guided scavenger hunt. Several of the featured artists, including Abbey Messmer and Yuko Yabuki, have studios located on Grand Avenue.

Throwback to an earlier recycled fashion show on Grand Avenue.EXPAND
Throwback to an earlier recycled fashion show on Grand Avenue.
Lynn Trimble

Event Highlights

Community Bike Ride

An eight-mile social bike ride called the Downtown Pedal Around starts at 11:30 a.m. at Civic Square Park, 424 North Central Avenue. It wraps up at the Grand Avenue Festival around 12:30 p.m.

Under the Vintage Roof

Get a look inside several of the historical buildings located along Grand Avenue in this tour presented by the Arizona Preservation Foundation. Tours start at noon, 1 p.m., and 2 p.m. at The Conservatory by Pueblo and ends at Grand Avenue Brewing Company. Other stops include The Chocolate Factory, Hawk Salvage, and the Phoenix Trolley Museum.

Untrashed Recycled Fashion Show and Mash-Up Fashion Show

Enjoy back-to-back fashion shows at Weird Garden from 4 to 5 p.m. The first features community members donning their own recycled fashion creations. The latter includes works by more than a dozen local artists and designers.

Cirque Performance and Balloon Fun

Look for roving House of Cirque performers, including stilt walkers, strolling musicians, jugglers, dancing skeletons, and interactive hula dancers. Joy Young will be strolling along Grand Avenue making quirky balloon creations between 1:30 and 7:30 p.m.

Throwback to a previous exhibit at The Lodge.EXPAND
Throwback to a previous exhibit at The Lodge.
Lynn Trimble

Art Exhibits

Several galleries will be showing works in diverse media. Here’s a sampling of the types of artwork you’ll be able to explore during the festival.

Five15 Arts @ Chartreuse: Works by Five15 Arts member Joan Thompson.

Grand ArtHaus: Group show featuring Robert Gentile and other studio artists.

Langmade Project Space: Works by photographer Marilyn Szabo.

Sisao Gallery: Group exhibit highlighting artists who received 2019 Carmody Foundation artist grants.

The Lodge Art Studio: Group show featuring works by emerging and established artists.

{9} Art Gallery: Landscape paintings by Jenny Jarnagin.

Yuko Yabuki at her Grand Avenue studio.EXPAND
Yuko Yabuki at her Grand Avenue studio.
Lynn Trimble

Open Studios/Creative Spaces

Check out more than a dozen artist studios and creative spaces located on and around Grand Avenue, including The Chocolate Factory, a studio for Hector Ruiz that’s rarely open to the public, as well as Bill Dambrova’s Cobra Flute Projects, where you can see works by several artists, including Malena Barnhart, Turner Davis, and Beatrice Moore.

Also, head to Oasis on Grand, so you can see the Casa de Chaos art studio where Kristin Wesley makes the smiling Friendly Flowers you’ll see installed all along Grand Avenue. Over at Modfire, you'll find an exhibition of historical Grand Avenue photographs. Look for additional open studio and exhibit details in the Grand Avenue Festival brochure.

One of Luster Kaboom's selfie stations.EXPAND
One of Luster Kaboom's selfie stations.
Lynn Trimble

Selfie Stations

Take your photo at selfie stations created by Luster Kaboom, which will be installed at Oasis on Grand. Then post your photos using #GrandAveFest if you want to share the selfie love.

Murals

Look for artists painting murals from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Marisol Credit Union parking lot.

Murals along Grand Avenue make great backgrounds for selfies and other photos. Our favorites include Joseph “Sentrock” Perez’s You Can Fly Higher located across from {9}The Gallery, Rebecca Green’s The Painted Desert at The Lodge, and Beatrice Moore’s Between Innocence and Knowing near Bikini Lounge.

Also look for Maggie Keane’s new Prince mural across from Weird Garden, Colibri’s migration-themed mural on the side of the pastel-colored La Melgosa building, and Laura Spalding Best’s mural featuring circular vignettes of real and imagined Phoenix landscapes at the Marisol Credit Union building.

Other artists with murals in the area include El Mac, Luster Kaboom, Doug Bale, Eric Cox, Tara Sharpe, and Such and Champ Styles. Look for Grand Avenue mural guides at various festival locations.

Maggie Keane's massive Prince mural.
Maggie Keane's massive Prince mural.
Lynn Trimble

More Art Offerings

For those who favor art in nontraditional settings, there’s plenty to explore in the festival’s Hanging Gardens and Woven Fences installation featuring eclectic, offbeat offerings by artists and other creatives.

You'll find dozens of large-scale artist-designed planters along Grand Avenue, plus Royce Carlson’s 12-foot-tall kinetic sculpture called Denizen of the Deep in the Bragg’s Pie Factory parking lot.

Look for the Kaleidoscope Art Garden, with works by more than a dozen artists, at the Triangle Complex.

Stop by artist Paul Nosa’s station just north of Fillmore Street on Grand Avenue to watch the artist create a custom patch inspired by your design suggestions using his bicycle-powered sewing machine.

Check out the Grand Avenue Billboard Project while you're in the neighborhood. It's a privately owned and funded billboard that routinely features provocative fare. Currently, it's graced by Trumpocalypse created by California-based artist Karen Fiorito.

Head to the 1100 block of Grand Avenue between 12:30 and 5:30 p.m. if you want to enjoy creative body and face paint designs by Sarah Schweiger.

Checking out one of Kyllan Maney's community art projects.EXPAND
Checking out one of Kyllan Maney's community art projects.
Lynn Trimble

Hands-on Art Activities

DIY Zines: Make your own zine working with creative Charissa Lucille of the Wasted Ink Zine Distro. She’ll be set up in front of La Melgosa.

DIY Parasols: Make your own creative parasols at Onyx Gallery from 2 to 5 p.m.

Kitty Krafts: Find kid-friendly art activities near intersection of three streets: Grand Avenue, Roosevelt Street, and 15th Avenue. It’s located across the way from Maggie Keane’s massive Prince mural.

Chalk Mural: Help color a giant glow-in-the-dark mural created by Tempe artist Kyllan Maney at Desert Sun Plaza. Or make your own Shrinky Dink jewelry.

DIY Hats: Make your own funky hat with the Bergamot Institute, which will have a fun assortment of materials from pom-poms to stuffed animal parts on hand. That’s happening in front of Bragg’s Pie Factory.

Make a Musical Instrument: Make a creative musical instrument using recycled materials with the help of Phoenix artist Joe Willie Smith. He’ll be set up in front of Barrio Cafe Gran Reserva.

Coloring Table: Kids can color sheets with designs by local artists in front of The Lodge Art Studio.

The Grand Avenue Pizza Company.
The Grand Avenue Pizza Company.
Benjamin Leatherman

Food and Drink

Expect a range of options, from light snacks to full meals at a wide variety of cafes, restaurants, and creative spaces — including Grand Avenue Pizza and El Charro Hipster Bar and Café, where you can see chairs painted by dozens of artists. Look for food trucks at Desert Sun Plaza, Unexpected Art, and the Triangle Complex.

Music

Look for bands playing at various locations throughout the day, and women DJs in front of Bragg's Pie Factory. Also check out the festival’s first Phoenix Guitar Show and Swap Meet, happening from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery. You can participate in Taiko drumming mini-parades that start at the Fushicho Daiko Dojo at 1, 3, 5, and 7 p.m. Or join a community drum and music circle starting at 3 or 4:45 p.m. in front of Bragg’s Pie Factory.

Silent Auction

The first Grand Avenue Arts & Preservation Silent Auction will take place throughout the festival, and continue until 10 p.m., at Weird Garden. Meet artists who’ve created artworks for the auction during the 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. reception, which features jazz by Alan Jones and light snacks. Half the auction proceeds will go to artists, and the other half will help fund next year's festival.

Drinks + Beats

Check out this progressive happy hour that starts at 6 p.m. at Tuft & Needle, then moves to the McKinley Club at 7 p.m.

Hit Unexpected Art for the WEARizona Fashion Show.EXPAND
Hit Unexpected Art for the WEARizona Fashion Show.
Lynn Trimble

After-Hours Activities

WEARizona Fashion Show

Head to Unexpected Art at 8 p.m. for a fashion show presented by WEARizona. Hip historian Marshall Shore will emcee the event, which features local designers, makeup artists, and models.

Master Your Monster

Check out fashion, music, and other live performance from 7 to 8 p.m. near Snood City.

Creative Mastermind Connections

Enjoy fashion and networking time with fellow creatives from 7 to 10 p.m. at Grand ArtHaus.

Giant Games

Those over the age of 21 can enjoy various games, including giant versions of Jenga and Uno, at Onyx Gallery.

Grand Avenue Festival. Saturday, November 9, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Historic Grand Avenue between the I-10 overpass south to Van Buren Street. grandavenueartsandpreservation.org. Free admission.

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