Culture News

Nancy Hill to Take Over Phoenix's Frontal Lobe Gallery on Grand Avenue This Fall

Phoenix artist Beatrice Moore estimates that about 40 exhibitions have been shown at Frontal Lobe Community Space and Gallery during her four or five years spent operating the venue that's best known to many for its annual “Mutant Piñata Show.” But now Moore says it’s time for a change.

“I’ve always thought of it as a temporary space,” Moore says. Eager to spend time organizing her own art studio, creating outdoor art installations, and furthering the cause of Grand Avenue arts and preservation, she’s decided to enlist another local to operate the space.

After an August exhibition featuring works by Adrian Dominic, Frontal Lobe Community Space and Gallery will become Chartreuse, an art gallery and community space managed by Nancy Hill, whose other ventures include operating letterpress business Hazel & Violet, also located along Grand Avenue.

Hill previously operated Gallery Hazel at the Roosevelt Row-adjacent space she left to open at her current location. "I really, really miss having a gallery," she says. When Moore told her she was looking for someone else to use the gallery space, Hill decided to run with it.  

Mike Oleskow, who operated the After Hours Gallery with Russ Haan from 2008 to 2011, will be curating Chartreuse shows, which kick off in September with an exhibition of photographic works. “I’m a big photography fan,” says Hill. But she’ll show contemporary art in other media as well.

“I’m going to have people there that I like,” Hill says when describing what gallery-goers can expect to see at Chartreuse. Hill plans to features artists from Arizona and beyond, and says she’d love to feature works by New Mexico artist Chip Thomas — one of several artists who collaborated on the new immigration-themed mural at La Melgosa.

“I’m not a big fan of theme shows,” explains Hill, Instead, she’s eager to present works featuring just one or two artists. Come October, she’ll do a formal grand opening. By year end, she hopes to shift openings from First to Third Fridays. And the “Mutant Piñata Show” will return, with Moore again at the helm.

Hill also hopes to create opportunities for others to use the space. “My goal is to activate the space in the daytime for meetings and small events,” she says. Once cooled by swamp cooler, the space now has now been outfitted with a new air conditioner.

For those wondering about the venue’s new name, Hill explains that she was seeking a single word and honed in on a color in part because its something she also used for Hazel & Violet. Chartreuse has a feature other colors lack — it contains the word “art.” She figures most people don’t know how to spell it, but she’s undaunted by that fact.

Moore and Hill have another project in the works, having recently formed a group called Grand Avenue Arts & Preservation to highlight the area’s arts scene and historical nature. It’s a balance to another organization in the area, the Grand Avenue Arts and Small Business District, which also promotes the interests of small business rather than focusing exclusively on arts and culture. 

Their work with Grand Avenue Arts & Preservation will include organizing this year’s Grand Avenue Festival and Phoenix Annual Parade of the Arts (PAPA), taking place on November 14. Moore says they’ll produce the event, and the Grand Avenue Members Association will continue its involvement as event sponsor.

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Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble