In Review: Phoenix's Hellos and Goodbyes of 2011

​As we bid farewell to the year and look ahead to 2012, Jackalope Ranch contributors will bring you some greatest hits from 2011. In a year, things come and go. In 2011, we said hi and bye to plenty of our favorite (and no so favorite) places. 

Here are just a few highlights:

1. phICA
In March, art curator and investor Ted Decker, Roosevelt Row and eyelounge founder Greg Esser, and graphic designer Eddie Shea, created the Phoenix Institute of Contemporary Art (phICA), a nonprofit organization that has no official space, carries no permanent collection, and instead focuses solely on programming. It's what the founders call a "lean and mean" opportunity for contemporary artists to learn, grow, and contribute to the contemporary art scene in Phoenix.

​Vintage market Sweet Salvage opened its doors in August and has taken over the Downtown shopping scene with monthly "occasion sales" that are packed with vintage fiends and deal hounds alike. Now, if we could just figure out how to navigate the crowd and nab the drool-worthy furniture pieces. 

3. Lulubell Toy Bodega
Geeks and fanatical collectors of designer vinyl figures got another reason to downtown Mesa tonight with the grand opening of Lulubell Toy Bodega. The designer toy boutique relocated from Tucson's Fourth Avenue and we've been drooling over their niche nerd culture to come to Mesa in the past year.

4. Hazel and Violet INC.
Hello letterpress. When longtime friends Nancy Hill and Beverly Wolfe found a jackpot Craigslist post for a 1922 Chandler & Price letterpress, they knew they were in for a project. And so, Hazel and Violet INK was born. Catch the work in progress (and take some home) at their shop on Fourth Street, or catch some live-pressing during First Fridays.

5. Montage Gallery
Mill Avenue took a deep breath when the City of Tempe opened Montage gallery in the old Abercrombie space. The community art studio houses work and workshops by 18 local artists in November, and it continues to find its place along the busy college street, we're looking forward to seeing another source of creative energy. 

6. Monsterland
Mesa's Main Street welcomed a spooky newcomer in October. Monsterland, a combination haunted house and horror film museum, is open year-round so horror buffs and monster lovers can get their fill long after the holiday has passed.

7. The Lab
The spot at 610 E Roosevelt Road has had an interesting year. When Perihelion Arts moved out at the beginning of summer, Joseph "Sentrock" Perez signed a three-month contract to feature the work of The Rise Project and 11th Monk3y Apparel and Designs by Ruben Gonzales. In September, Perez's lease was up, and  Gonzales will joined efforts with local artist Monica Robles and Dave Bjorn to open a collaborative retail/design studio. 

8. Circle 6
Another closure on Roosevelt Row brought about another exciting opening. It hurt to see Pravus Gallery close up shop, but the neighborhood was more than happy to welcome in the glassblowing team behind Circle 6. 

9. Vintage by Misty
Misty Guerriero opened her small shop along Central Avenue this year, but don't let the space's size fool you -- it's packed with decade classics including chandelier earrings from the 1920s and a hot pink poncho from the 1970s.

While Pablo Luna, Lalo Cota, and Breeze are still busy setting up their gallery for the grand opening in February, the sweet spot on 16th Street has plenty of artwork you can spot on the exterior, including a mural by El Mac. 

11. Holgas Reincarnation
A new age for the Downtown artspace and artist residence is just around the corner. Local artists Carrie Marill and Matthew Moore purchased the building from Wayne Rainey a few months ago and have already announced a partnership with ASU's Desert Initiative. 

1. The Royale

Mesa's cult theater and home to the Midnight Movie Mamacita (Andrea Beesley-Brown) announced it was closing its doors on Christmas Eve. And while we were sad to see it go, we can't wait to see what she has in store for FilmBar, where she'll continue her programming goodness. 

2. Open Source
After a year of art openings, music shows, and endless cups of coffee, the Tempe venue called it quits because of lease agreements and a bad economy.

Downtown Mesa has had a tough year, perhaps peaking with the closure of geek-centric and steampunk haven, Evermore Nevermore. The business is still up for sale, and at the time of closure, the owners said they were still on the market for future opportunities in the creative scene. 

Years after Mike Oleskow and Russ Haan opened After Hours Gallery on McDowell Road, Oleskow announced the gallery would be closing due to an expansion of the building's other renter and so that he could focus on his role as interim president of Artlink. 

After seven months in business, Downtown's arcade and art space closed up shop after due to financial issues. Co-owners Weston Henry and Nathan Ross, who opened Cade inside the old OP-tic building at Fourth and McKinley streets in February, said they were looking into temporary programming -- and in 2012, you better believe we're holding 'em to it. 

Atomic Comics owner Mike Malve closed all four of its locations in August 21. "As some of you may have already heard, after 25 years of running a successful business, sadly and much to my dismay, I have shut the doors of Atomic Comics," he wrote in a letter to friends and supporters.

The off-the-radar venue, which was based out of a funky residence in Tempe's Clark Park neighborhood closed in June after proprietors Allison Karow and Gerald Biggs, who've lived in and operated YOBS for several years, decided to move to Vancouver. 

Jeff Mann and Kyle Simone announced they'd be shutting the doors of their clothing shop and art gallery on Third Street that had shown work by local artists including antigirl and Joerael Elliott. And while the space is still empty, we have a few ideas for some new renters ... 

The beginning of the year brought sad news for Grand Ave, as husband-and-wife team Liam Murtagh and Emily Spetrino-Murtagh decided to close their whimsical candy and record shop, Sweets & Beats. But the closure brought about the opportunity for local collective Indie Arthouse

The Drive-in, operated by a California-based theater company called West Wind, was one of the last three drive-ins in the state after the De Anza Drive-in Theatre was demolished in 2009.The two drive-ins left in Arizona include West Wind's theater in Glendale and a family-operated, single-screen drive-in in Globe.

Whew. Here's looking to 2012. Looking for more review? Check out our other summaries of 2011: 

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