Culture News

Hot Plate! Best of Phoenix Commemorative Collaboration Opens Oct. 4 at R. Pela Gallery

The idea came, as many good ideas do, during a marathon thrifting session.

As we loaded his trunk with the day's finds -- including a fabulous George Washington plate and several lovely floral numbers, all destined for a wall in a recently renovated kitchen -- Robrt Pela looked up and asked, "Hey, what about a commemorative theme for this year's Best of Phoenix? You know, with the tacky plates we love so much?"

Thus a theme was born: Vintage Phoenix. So, it turns out, was an art exhibit.

See also: Best of Phoenix WONDERLAND

Hot Plate! is opening in October at R. Pela Contemporary Art in Phoenix.

The show will feature one-of-a-kind commemorative plates--inspired by the cheesy souvenir dishes sold at tourist stands, memorializing a city or town--all depicting some aspect of life in the desert southwest. One of the plates offers a sanguine, china-painted likeness of The Farm at South Mountain, while another is a naughty homage to the Native cherubs painted so infamously by Ted DeGrazia.

The exhibit will feature plates designed by local artists Michael Allen, Cheryl Brandon, Sue Chenoweth, Eric Cox, Kathleen Engstrom, Jeff Falk, Todd Grossman, Halldor Hjalmarson, Sarah Hurwitz, Christopher Jagmin, Peter Kuttner, Janet Deberge Lange, Annie Lopez, Melissa McGurgan, Ronnie Ray Mendez, Kim Sweet, Melany Terranova, and Paul Wilson.

Hot Plate! will open on First Friday, October 4 at 6 p.m., and will be open again on Third Friday, October 18 at 6. Otherwise, the gallery, located at 335 West McDowell Road in Phoenix, is open by appointment by calling 602-320-8445.

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Amy Silverman is a two-time winner of the Arizona Press Club’s Journalist of the Year award. Her work has appeared on the radio show This American Life and in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Lenny Letter, and Brain, Child. She’s the co-curator of the live reading series Bar Flies, and a commentator for KJZZ, the NPR affiliate in Phoenix. Silverman is the author of the book My Heart Can’t Even Believe It: A Story of Science, Love, and Down Syndrome (Woodbine House 2016). Follow her on Instagram (@amysilverman), Twitter (@amysilvermanaz), and at