If you made it out to Third Friday last week or you've happen to drive by the A.R.T.S. Market on Roosevelt Row, chances are you've noticed two ocean-certified shipping containers sitting outside.
No, they're not the world's largest pieces of Ikea furniture. It's the new home of downtown's Hot Box Gallery.
A project by Greg Esser that was made possible through the support of Roosevelt Row CDC and funding from ArtPlace America, the Hot Box Gallery and its unfinished sister container, which will most likely serve as another gallery or retail space, were purchased with mobile creativity in mind. The idea being that these containers, which can be repurposed and relocated, will bring some artistic vitality to vacant lots around the Valley.
Since receiving the funding last fall, Esser and his Roosevelt Row associates have been busy transforming the 20-foot-long crates into mobile creative spaces with white walls, hardwood floors, and LED track lighting.
So far the only container that is completely finished is Hot Box Gallery, which is currently housing the latest series of pop-up art exhibitions by the Phoenix Institute of Contemporary Art (phICA).
Curated by phICA's Ted Decker, "Onloaded" is a series of solo exhibitions that not only showcases the work of up-and-coming local artists but also challenges those artists to display their work in a way that best utilizes the container's compact dimensions of 18 feet deep by 7.5 feet wide by 8 feet high.
"We wanted to give them a venue that was different and that also became a learning experience for them," says Decker, who believes phICA and the Hot Box Gallery are a perfect fit.
Much like the gallery, phICA is not confined to a specific location. "We don't have a building or a collection, instead we look for opportunities for community collaboration."
Each exhibition in the "Onloaded" series will open on Third Friday and remain open through the following First Friday. Currently Decker has lined up five artists through May. However, there is a possibility of expanding the series after summer.
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Kicking off the "Onloaded" exhibition series is a solo show by Abe Zucca, which opened on January 17 and will open once again on February 7.
On February 21, the Hot Box Gallery will hold the opening reception for the second artist in the "Onloaded" series, Amelec Diaz, followed by Cory Slawson on March 21, Maral Tabrizi on April 18, and Fernando Pinal on May 16.
For more information, visit the "Onloaded" event on Facebook.