“We could do a soft opening as early as June, but it’s more likely we’ll have everything in place in July,” Hidden Track co-owner Craig Dziadowicz says. “We’re using the same concept we have at 111 West Monroe, where our boutique wine shop specializes in artisanal labels.”
The new shop and tasting room will be situated at Practical Art, just north of Camelback Road and Central Avenue, in a space previously used for art classes and installations. Most recently, the room was home to Daniel Funkhouser’s Hey, I Made This For You, a lighting-based artwork created as part of a multicity public arts initiative called IN FLUX. It’s possible Hidden Track will incorporate a bit of Funkhouser’s artwork into the new space, Dziadowicz says.
Practical Art also presents monthly exhibitions featuring emerging and established artists. Typically, it sets out a tray of cheese and crackers during First Friday art openings, along with a bottle or two of wine for visitors to share. Now, Hidden Track will add a brand-new layer to that experience.
The new wine space is a bit smaller than the original Hidden Track shop, which has 545 square feet. Dziadowicz and his partner Danielle Middlebrook will have a 350-square-foot room near the back entrance for Practical Art, just off an area Olson is reconfiguring to accommodate the regular lineup of art classes.
“We’ve always been drawn to spaces under 1,000 square feet, where we can have a constantly evolving selection,” Dziadowicz says. “Our plan was to have a micro-footprint for a walkable community.”
Practical Art has a long history of mixing artwork with food and community. For several years now, they’ve held a monthly charity pie night, with proceeds going to various nonprofits working in fields such as culture, education, civil rights, and more.
Several of the artists shown at Practical Art create wine-related artworks, from decorative bottle stoppers to coffee tables made with wine crates. That’s part of the appeal for Dziadowicz, who says he’s eager to help raise the visibility of local artists and their work. “There’s a lot of crossover between what we do and what these artists are making,” he says. “We’d love to help people become more aware of the local art scene.”
One evening last fall, Middlebrook and Dziadowicz were sipping wine with Olson and her husband, graphic designer Brad Towsley. Dziadowicz casually threw out the idea of transforming the small room inside Practical Art into a wine shop, and Olson loved the idea.
“I figure it can’t hurt to try,” Olson says. She’s already brainstorming creative ways to work with Hidden Track, such as having artists design wine labels.
Dziadowicz is still working on specifics for the space, in terms of the exact decor and setup for the new wine area, where patrons will be able to purchase craft beer and boutique wines. At this point, he’s planning to put chalkboard paint on at least one wall, and add a small counter where people can chat while they sip.
Downtown, Hidden Track offers twice-weekly wine tastings. Dziadowicz plans to do something similar at Practical Art, although he hasn’t firmed up the exact dates or times for those. Once Hidden Track opens, customers will be able to flow between areas for wine tasting and exploring art.
“I’m really excited about having Hidden Track here,” Olson says. “I feel like Phoenix stands to be so much stronger if we all work together.”