Culture News

Ashley Macias and Yai Cecream Find New Downtown Phoenix Studio After Fire

Phoenix artists Ashley Macias and Yai Cecream relocated their shared Phoenix studio to Roosevelt Row in October, after their previous studio space was damaged by fire.

The fire occurred in the early morning hours of Monday, August 22, in their studio located behind a home near Nintth Avenue and Willetta Street. Neither artist was working in the studio at the time, but a great deal of work and supplies were either damaged or destroyed.

Now, Cecream and Macias are working in the space that once housed 1Spot Gallery. Founded in 2012 by artists Damian Jim and Michelle Ponce, the gallery closed in September. They’re renting the studio space from owners Greg Esser and Cindy Dach, both staples of the downtown Phoenix arts scene.

The studio is easy to spot, because its west-facing exterior wall features a mural by Chicago-based artist Caeser Perez, who painted a figure with flowing blue hair who's surrounded by a golden snake.

“A lot of people reached out after the fire,” Macias says. “I wasn’t even aware of 1Spot Closing, but Greg reached out to us after he heard about our studio.”

It’s only a temporary fix, because Esser and Dach already had planned for another tenant to take over the space in several months. But it gives Cecream and Macias more time to find another studio space. “Having the new studio forces us to keep creating,” Macias says.

Both Macias and Cecream are well-known to those who follow the local arts and culture. Each exhibited work in the recent "Chaos Theory" exhibition at Legend City Studios, and have painted several murals in downtown Phoenix.

But they've also done work in less traditional places. Macias painted a mural along a staircase at Phoenix Center for the Arts, and her work graced the cover of a 2015 fold-out directory for Roosevelt Row. Cecream's work adorns a large concrete planter and metal trash bin in downtown Phoenix, plus walls inside Welcome Chicken + Donuts on East Buckeye Road.

Macias and Cecream moving into the former 1Spot Gallery space is just one of many changes that’s happened lately in this part of downtown Phoenix. In August, Bassim Al-Shaker opened Babylon Gallery in the space where photographer Andrew Pielage operated the Drive-Thru Gallery before relocating to the nearby Garfield neighborhood.

More recently, Roosevelt Growhouse and several galleries were forced to close to make way for a new development called The Blocks at Roosevelt Row.

It’s one reason Macias and Cecream have decided to hold an informal celebration at their new space on Third Friday, November 18. That same night, just a few blocks away at monOrchid, gallery-goers can check out Macias’ works featured in a group exhibition called “Beyond the Script,” which monOrchid is presenting in partnership with CALACA, a group that promotes Latino and indigenous artists.