The Icehouse Hosting Artist-Created Goofy Golf Course During Art Detour This Weekend

A garden-variety First Friday art walk is typically fraught with vibrant distractions, lively activity, and even a few hazards along the way (Ever run into those Bible-thumping preachers witnessing on street corners?) as attendees bounce between various galleries and venues. Ditto for its annual three-day counterpart Art Detour, the latest edition of which kicks off this weekend.

Peter Conley, one of the proprietors of The Icehouse, compares such an experience to maneuvering through a miniature golf course writ large, only with fewer windmills and castles. So it seems fitting that the downtown Phoenix venue he oversees will host an equally colorful goofy golf course during Art Detour that utilizes holes designed by local creatives.

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The Icehouse's enormous courtyard will host the nine-hole course, which will be in use from tonight until Sunday afternoon. According to kitschy local historian Marshall Shore, who helped spearhead the project, the idea of having goofy golf at the arts venue has been brewing for a while now.

"This is something that several of us have talked about doing for several years," he says. "And I was like, 'It's the 25th anniversary of Art Detour. Let's do something really special and fun to get people interacting with art and with each other."

Each hole will offer its own theme, as designed by either individual artists or groups. To wit: Painter Hugo Medina surrounded one with a miniature re-creation of downtown Phoenix that uses a pint-size version of The Icehouse as the hole itself. Meanwhile, Zachary Glover created artwork for his hole made from sculpted styrofoam.

There also are holes featuring themes ranging from Keith Haring homages to satirical swipes at Sheriff Joe Arpaio (natch). Students from ASU's sculpture program and Metro Arts also contributed to the project, as did local creatives like Conley, Ariana Hermida, and Bradley Stone.

Adults who visit the Icehouse during Art Detour weekend can try out course for $5 per round (whereas kids will only be charged $3). A hole-in-one contest will also take place on Saturday with artwork by Lisa Takata as prizes.

And while folks are putting away out in the Icehouse's courtyard, the venue's Cathedral Room will host the uniquely arranged "Danmala" sculptures of artist Kathy Klein (made from such color-drenched natural materials as plants, pinecones, fruits, or vegetables). The adjacent Quiet Mind Tea & No Frills Coffee Bar will also display a series of artfully rendered and custom-designed manhole covers created by ASU sculpture students.

In the meantime, Shore says that -- in true Art Detour fashion -- the artists involved in created the goofy golf course have been rushing and "feverishly working" to get everything completed before its opens to the public later tonight.

"Everything's been coming together the last couple of days," he says.

That includes contributions and donations of equipment and a bit quirkier objects that will be used on the course. The folks at the Clarendon Hotel lent the course a putting blue, while Shore is trying to track down a 10-foot-tall metal rooster statue that once decorated the old Gordon's Market in downtown.

"We know where it is, we know we can get it, we've been offered it and so now were just trying to figure out how we can go and claim it for the weekend," he says.

The Icehouse's hours during Art Detour from 5 to 10 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission the venue is free, goofy golf games are $5 for adults, $3 for kids.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.