New Times has confirmed that the Icehouse, the longtime downtown art gallery and performance space, is planning to close at the end of 2011.
"We are being taxed out by the county," says Icehouse owner Helen Hestenes. "We are one of the largest alternative arts projects in the U.S., but Phoenix has been crazy."
In 1990, Hestenes and her at-the-time husband David Therrien converted the circa 1910 building -- which originally housed operations for Constable Ice Storage -- into an edgy contemporary art space that has helped launch the careers of countless artists, such as Angela Ellsworth and the late Rose Johnson.
However, due to its relative off-the-beaten-path location at 429 West Jackson Street, the 20-year-old venue has struggled to survive for the past decade.
It wasn't always that way, especially when the space was located in the creative epicenter of the downtown arts scene in the early 1990s. But following the displacement of many DIY spaces and artists due to the construction of US Airways Center (the downtown sports venue, formerly known as America West Arena, opened in 1992) as well as current First Friday artgoers' concentration on Roosevelt Street and Grand Avenue, the Icehouse, despite its longevity and quality of exhibitions, has, in some ways, become a forgotten venue.
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Future exhibits planned for the space include a solo show by photographer Joe Jankovsky in January and a 20-year retrospective during March's Art Detour.