Art

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.

click to enlarge Temporary street art in the Sixth Street alley in Roosevelt Row. - COURTESY OF PETE PETRISKO
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.

click to enlarge Some of the newer street art to be installed along Grand Avenue. - LYNN TRIMBLE
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.

click to enlarge Tiles by Irma Sanchez installed in the Grand Avenue arts district. - LYNN TRIMBLE
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.
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble