Masquerading as just another empty boarded-up building in downtown Phoenix, the brick rectangle at 222 Roosevelt Street acts as a street-side bulletin board, sitting quietly next to the Scientology (Get your personality analyzed!) building at the intersection of Roosevelt and 3rd Street. But wait.
This building has housed everything from a drag bar to Mayor Phil Gordon's reelection campaign headquarters. Right now it's vacant, posted on Craigslist by the current owners, L.A. Johnson Commercial Properties. (The guys from Holy Piñata clued us in. Thanks, dudes!)
Not only is this a sweet spot in the heart of Roosevelt Row, it has two amazing and intact DeGrazia murals inside.
You know, Ted DeGrazia
, the late artist best known for his greeting card art that launched the name DeGrazia worldwide after UNICEF discovered him.
Some say DeGrazia painted the 1950 murals to pay off bar bills and some say it was to pay it forward - who knows...Some 60 years later it's a bit of a tangled rumor. What we do know is that the murals are fabulous and it's a shame they're not on view.
The long horizontal piece is depicting how to make grain alcohol or shows the "history" of liquor (depends on who you ask); the single vertical one is said to be a ballerina in a martini glass.
According to our 1989 article
(see, we were on top of things back then too), removal of the art would destroy the building
Lance Laber, the Executive Director of the DeGrazia Foundation and The DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun
of Tucson would be delighted to have the murals be enjoyed by Phoenicians and travelers to the Southwest. To his knowledge, these are the only pieces of art by DeGrazia like this in Phoenix.
Surely with all the adaptive re-use talented architects we have in this town, there's a way to renovate the building and incorporate DeGrazia's artwork without sacrificing either.
C'mon...a lot has changed since 1989. Who's gonna step up?