Last fall, we were excited to hear that the ASU School of Art was moving one of its five student galleries to the downtown Phoenix warehouse district.
With the Step Gallery formally nestled into its new location, we can see that our excitement was not unwarranted. The converted warehouse space inside the newly dubbed Grant St. Studios is the perfect location for a revitalized student gallery experience.
Upon entering the new space, visitors are met with an expansive lobby, complete with high ceilings and exposed industrial architecture. According to Peter Bugg, director of ASU's student galleries, this area will be mostly kept clear for receptions, though the option to display larger works here is a huge asset in the new location. The wall space in the gallery itself isn't vastly different from Step's old Tempe location, Bugg says, but the square footage is larger, which should make for a more pleasant experience during openings.
The Step Gallery will hold regular hours from noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Receptions will take place on Thursday nights from 5 to 7 p.m., in part, to line up with the Thursday night openings at Bentley Gallery, which is located just down the street. However, the Art School plans to take advantage of First Fridays as often as possible, and the gallery will be open for Art Detour March 8 and 9.
In addition to the new Step Gallery, the building includes studio space for graduate students in the painting, drawing, fibers, intermedia, and sculpture programs, as well as studio space for Adriene Jenik, director of the School of Art. Many of the grad students have already made a home in the new space; the Step Gallery's opening reception during January's Third Friday featured the work of students who have moved into the new location. The building also features a critiquing room that will host a monthly visiting artist lecture series on Monday nights.
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Though ASU is currently renting out the building from Michael Levine, we hope the arrangement becomes permanent. The space provides an excellent opportunity for ASU's student population to truly become incorporated into the ever-growing downtown Phoenix art scene. What more could we ask for?
The Step Gallery's next opening will take place Friday, February 7 from 6 to 9 p.m., with work by Michael Leeder and Michael Woodlee. For more information, visit the Facebook event page.