Culture News

Matthew Moore and Carrie Marill Purchase the Holgas Building and Partner with ASU's Desert Initiative

Matthew Moore says he has a lot of work to do on 821 N. Third Street in downtown Phoenix. 

The two-story building has been a neighborhood staple for decades; it was originally a hotel in the '60s and '70s, fell into disrepair in the '80s, and was scooped up and turned into Holgas, an creative living space by local artist Wayne Rainey in the late '90s. 

Moore, who's a fourth-generation farmer, and his wife and local painter Carrie Marill purchased the building from Rainey last week and say there are big projects in the works. 

​Once he's done with gutting the interior and renovating the exterior, Moore says the building's units will remain residential and, if all goes as planned, will soon house international artists though a partnership with ASU's Desert Initiative

"Carrie and I are excited," says Moore. "We specifically picked this place; it's a community we live in and have been involved with. We want the space to become a spot for visiting artists to come and experience Phoenix in a great way." 

Desert Initiative is a program through ASU's Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts that's housed at the ASU Art Museum and headed up by local artist and Roosevelt Row activist Greg Esser. The initiative is working to form an international network of arts institutions. Esser says he hopes these partnerships will create opportunities for local and international artists, scientists, and environmentalists to work together with a specific environment and culture-based focus.

​Moore says the Holgas building name will likely change, but that the spirit of an artist collaborative with an in-house gallery that Rainey started in the '90s will stay the same. 

"My hope was that Holgas would change the fabric of the city by bringing creative ideas and people into one space," Rainey says. "There was this idea that -- much like the camera -- beautiful images would come out of this cheap, industrial shell ... I know [Moore and Marril] have the same goals as I did -- and do." 

Details on the Initiative's involvement with the space, as well as the an announcement of incoming artists is in the works. There's also word of an upcoming gallery show/reunion of local artists who've lived in the space. Former residents include Shauna Thibault, Lesli Englert Yazzie, and Steve Yazzie, to name a few. Stay tuned for more details. 

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Claire Lawton
Contact: Claire Lawton