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Here's How Artlink Is Changing Up Art Detour in 2018

Jeff Slim talks with a studio visitor during Art Detour 2017.EXPAND
Jeff Slim talks with a studio visitor during Art Detour 2017.
Lynn Trimble

Art Detour in downtown Phoenix will expand from three to six days in 2018, according to a press release issued by Artlink on Friday, December 1.

It will be the 30th anniversary of the largely community-driven event, which includes exhibits, studio visits, and art-related gatherings.

Art Detour 30 will run from Thursday, March 15, to Tuesday, March 20, 2018. It’s being organized by Artlink, a Phoenix-based nonprofit founded in 1989.

Artlink’s mission includes connecting artists, businesses, and the community. The nonprofit helped launch the First Friday art walks that have become a staple of the downtown Phoenix arts scene.

For 2018, Art Detour will encompass three event components. “The art districts in downtown Phoenix have been growing, and Art Detour has evolved over 30 years,” Kahler says of the change.

Art Detour 30 launches Thursday night, March 15, with an Art D’Core Gala at Warehouse215 at Bentley Projects. Basically, it will be a gathering of artists and art lovers designed to celebrate the local arts scene. Last year’s attendees included Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton.

The ticketed gala will also feature an exhibition of work by members of the Artlink Artist Council, including Joan Baron, Pete Deise, Randy Slack, and Marilyn Szabo, to name a few. Works by additional artists will also be shown, Kahler says.

The “detour” part of Art Detour is scheduled for Friday, March 16, through Sunday, March 18. That’s when people will be able to explore various galleries, art studios, and other cultural venues around downtown Phoenix.

Artists enjoying the Art D'Core Gala during Art Detour 2017.EXPAND
Artists enjoying the Art D'Core Gala during Art Detour 2017.
Lynn Trimble

But there’s a new twist in how that will happen.

Detour events will be scheduled according to art district, with different days and times focused on each.

On Friday, the focus will be Roosevelt Row. Saturday’s hub will be historic Grand Avenue by day, and the Downtown Phoenix core at night. Phoenix Warehouse District, and local art studios, will be the main focus on Sunday.

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Venues beyond these areas will be part of the detour lineup as well. Many will be open all three days, Kahler says, and there’s no reason people can’t explore particular venues or areas any day they choose.

Still, Kahler sees advantages to focusing on different areas on different days, including helping people who aren’t familiar with the Phoenix arts scene feel less intimidated. “Having more than 100 destinations to choose from over the weekend can be overwhelming,” she says.

The final component is a series of art symposiums happening on Monday, March 19, and Tuesday, March 20. Topics will likely appeal to not only artists and art lovers, but community and economic development professionals as well, Kahler says.

"I'm excited about the new format," she says. "Hopefully, people will be kind of hooked by it."

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