Culture News

Pemberton House Garden Parties Launch in Roosevelt Row

The historic Pemberton House in Roosevelt Row.
The historic Pemberton House in Roosevelt Row. Lynn Trimble
Most people affiliate the Roosevelt Row arts district with First Friday art walks. Turns out, plenty of other events happen there all the time.

Roosevelt Row rang out 2018 with a Flannel Ball. But partygoers donned their classy cocktail attire the first week in January, as Pemberton House welcomed the first in a series of Garden Party events featuring art, music, and culinary fare.

Presented by True North Studio, the Garden Party series kicked off on Sunday, January 6, at the historic Pemberton House located at 1121 North Second Street. Built in 1920, the house is named for Sarah H. Pemberton, widow of Thomas Pemberton, who was CEO to the predecessor of APS. It’s been on the Phoenix Historic Property Register since 2004.

It's just the latest project True North Studio has created in this space. In September 2018, two Japan-based artists known as WHOLE9 worked with Phoenix-based artists Thomas "Breeze" Marcus and Nyla Lee to paint murals on a smaller building located just behind the house.

January’s garden party featured 1930s jazz music, passed hors d’oeuvres, and a mix of creative drinks. And 25 percent of all cash bar sales are going to One Community Foundation, which focuses on nondiscrimination and LGBTQ inclusion.

Future garden parties are scheduled for first Sundays each month, through May 2019. They’ll all be curated by restaurateur Grace Unger of the Tuck Shop. And each will benefit a different charity.

Unger is involved with three new restaurants that True North Studio is bringing to Roosevelt Row this fall, according to Dorina Bustamante, who handles community development for True North Studio. They’ll include a French boulangerie inside the historic Knipe House, where Roosevelt Growhouse will also continue to have a presence.

Unger conceived the Sunday garden parties as a fun way to introduce people to the new restaurants taking shape there. But the parties are part of a larger effort as well.

click to enlarge Mural painted by WHOLE9 at the Pemberton House site. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Mural painted by WHOLE9 at the Pemberton House site.
Lynn Trimble
Bustamante is also working with Phoenix Center for the Arts and Roosevelt Row arts district to promote the concept of First Friday weekends, which would give people a full weekend rather than a single night to explore diverse offerings in Roosevelt Row. That effort includes another new event called Brushes and Booze, which pairs painting with wine.

True North Studio is working on a mixed-use project called Ro2, which will include cultural, office, retail, and culinary offerings. And they're planning future Garden Party events, as well.

Each Garden Party will have a different theme that carries through to everything from food to decor, and benefit a different community organization. For February, Unger is finding fresh inspiration in the Super Bowl. Future themes have yet to be announced.

“We really want to activate Roosevelt Row beyond First Fridays,” Bustamante says. “We want to help show people all the other great things that are happening here,” Bustamante says.
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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