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Why Pete Petrisko and Stacey Champion Want You to Take the Street Art Challenge

Small Michele Bledsoe artwork installed during the 2016 street art challenge.
Small Michele Bledsoe artwork installed during the 2016 street art challenge.
Courtesy of Pete Petrisko

Maybe you’ve always yearned to yarn bomb a palm tree or wax poetic on a street corner. You'll be pleased to know, there’s an event for that.

It’s a street art challenge called Show It! Say It! Do It! And it's happening in downtown Phoenix from 6 p.m. on Friday, April 28, to 6 p.m. on Sunday, April 30.

Organizers Stacey Champion and Pete Petrisko launched the event in April 2016. Now, they’re hoping to make it an annual affair.

Champion is a public relations professional whose office is located at a Grand Avenue space called The Funk Lab. Petrisko is a local artist with a long history of creating pop-up art in urban spaces.

Both have actively decried the commercial developments in downtown Phoenix that have displaced several arts or cultural venues – including Lotus Contemporary Art and Five15 Art galleries. Champion closed her Treeo gallery space in Roosevelt Row after a neighboring business called Roosevelt Growhouse lost its space to a multi-use project called The Blocks of Roosevelt Row.

Temporary street art in the Sixth Street alley in Roosevelt Row.
Temporary street art in the Sixth Street alley in Roosevelt Row.
Courtesy of Pete Petrisko

For Petrisko, the developments reflect a “bigger is better” mentality that distracts from the city’s small, overlooked spaces.

“There’s just something about those weird little things you see on your walk down the street,” Petrisko says. “It’s the small discoveries that make people think, or make them happy or even mad.”

“We want to create these quiet, magical moments,” Champion says.

Encouraging people to make and explore street art is one way they’re hoping to make those moments happen.

“All ages, skill levels, and purposes of intent are welcome,” Petrisko says.

Some of the newer street art to be installed along Grand Avenue.EXPAND
Some of the newer street art to be installed along Grand Avenue.
Lynn Trimble

Last year, they saw everything from whimsical designs to art with biting social commentary. It’s all good, they say.

But there’s a caveat.

All art should be temporary, and created in public spaces. Unless, of course, you’ve got permission from a private property owner to create work there.

For those who need suggestions about what to create, there’s a long list of ideas on the Facebook event page. It includes stencil art, chalk art, and impromptu performance, to name a few.

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Tiles by Irma Sanchez installed in the Grand Avenue arts district.EXPAND
Tiles by Irma Sanchez installed in the Grand Avenue arts district.
Lynn Trimble

Last year’s participants created some diverse offerings, from painted rocks to ceramic tiles. Some, including Irma Sanchez, keep the street art going year-round rather than just jumping in for a day or two.

Organizers expect most of the weekend’s street art to happen in three downtown Phoenix arts districts: Roosevelt Row, Grand Avenue, and the warehouse district. So, hit those areas first if you’re on the hunt for temporary art that weekend.

For those who want to share photographs of the work they’ve created, or street art spotted during the challenge, Champion suggests using the hashtag #diyphx2017 when posting photos online.

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