Located on 16th Street south of Thomas Road, The Hive is a staple of the Phoenix arts scene. It’s home to several creative businesses, studios, and retail spaces, plus a coffee shop and gallery. The venue also has two outdoor spaces, including a central courtyard that’s used for events like poetry readings or acoustic musical performances.
It’s one of many changes coming to the space, which will likely happen over time.
“We wanted someone who would carry on with the community space focus,” says Fournier. “Tennille is absolutely committed to that.”
Neilsen discovered the place after moving to the Coronado neighborhood. About two years ago, she began dropping in for coffee, sometimes bringing her journal so she could write. She started doing collage and artist books, and got the go-ahead from Fournier to set up a pop-up shop during Third Friday in October 2018.
Eventually, Neilsen rented space at The Hive, and stumbled on the opportunity to buy the whole property. One day she spotted people wearing suits on the property, where the typical garb is T-shirts and shorts or a casual sundress. That tipped her off to the fact that changes were afoot.
“I learned that they were talking about selling the place, and I asked Julia if I could have a go at it,” Neilsen recalls. Once they struck a deal, it was time to begin making changes, such as cleaning out the back lot and sprucing up the courtyard with its makeshift concrete stage. “I’m definitely going to add some polish, but I don’t want to corporatize the space.”
She’s hoping to carve out additional studio spaces, giving more artists places to work and do pop-up art shows or sales. She’ll be repurposing the current gallery space to help make that happen. Instead of a formal gallery, The Hive will have other ways for artists to share their work. “We want to make sure that area gets used beyond First and Third Fridays,” Neilsen explains.
collaborative work by Thomas “Breeze” Marcus, Dwayne "Dwayno Insano" Manuel, and Los Angeles artist Vyal. The front of the building includes small side-by-side murals painted by several artists, including Amanda Adkins, Ashley Macias, Jenny Odom, and others.
Neilsen plans to replace them with new murals, and she’s devising an art contest to help make it happen. She’ll invite artists to paint vintage chairs, then choose muralists based on which designs get the most votes from community members. So far, there’s no firm timeline for making that happen.
Instead, Neilsen is working on improvements like fresh paint for interior walls, and finding ways to maximize social distancing, expecting that the pandemic will still be a factor when she takes over the property in early November.
“We’re very nervous about doing this during COVID-19," she says, "but we’re willing to go forward with the risk to help bring happiness to the community that we love.”