Longform

State of the Arts: Phoenix's Arts Community Is at a Make-or-Break Moment. It's Time to Grow Up

Carrie Marill pauses.

Over a hot cup of Earl Grey at Songbird Coffee & Tea House in downtown Phoenix, she's considering what it's like to be a working artist in a city where art isn't a top priority, where artists get burnt out, where being talented isn't enough. 

"It can feel like you're working in a vacuum," the visual artist says. Backlit on a sunny afternoon in early March, she tucks a chunk of her choppy blond bob behind her ear. "I can see why that would be frustrating." 

Marill is one of Phoenix's most successful artists, represented by Lisa Sette Gallery, a contemporary art mainstay with a solid national reputation and widely considered one of the best in town. Marill previously lived and worked in San Francisco and New York, but she moved to Phoenix in 2004. And she's stayed.

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Becky Bartkowski is an award-winning journalist and the arts and music editor at New Times, where she writes about art, fashion, and pop culture.
Contact: Becky Bartkowski