Over the years, Phoenix has had its culture questioned. But those in the arts community agree if folks would take the time to explore downtown, they would discover the city is exploding with a rich, multifaceted arts and culture community. Sometimes you just need to detour off the beaten path.
Art Detour 30 allows visitors to do just that, with six days of tours and events that highlight the influence of the arts throughout greater downtown Phoenix.
Presented by Artlink Inc., Art Detour is celebrating its 30th anniversary March 15 to March 20.
“It’s important we celebrate the history of our rich culture in Phoenix,” says Catrina Kahler, president of Artlink Inc. “The culture and appeal of our downtown is completely related to the arts community. They’re inextricable.”
Step inside more than 100 artist studios and galleries, take in pop-up galleries and performances, and shop for unique pieces of art to start or continue collections. The family-friendly event offers daytime tours, a “Kids’ Detour,” and hands-on activities for little ones to discover their creative genius.
Formerly a weekend event, this year’s extended schedule brings new additions to the lineup and makes the experience more accessible.
“It became apparent that we needed more time to reflect and honor the many facets of the arts and culture community,” Kahler explains.
The celebration kicks off March 15 with the sixth annual Art d’Core Gala, an evening of music, dancing and an exhibition of exceptional works by members of the Artlink Artist Council alongside creations by 13 emerging artists.
The “Detour” follows March 16 – 18 and is one of the few times artists invite the public into the intimacy of their studios to witness the creative process. This year’s tour is divided by the city’s key art districts, each offering a distinct experience.
March 16 begins with an evening tour of Roosevelt Row, a walkable, energetic area popular for its arts and cultural events, restaurants, galleries, boutiques and music.
The following day, March 17, patrons can discover the texture, history and funkiness that make up Historic Grand Avenue. At night, see the bustling Downtown Phoenix Core with its 11 arts and cultural venues, and catch the unveiling of 50 new artist-designed bike racks that add style to the city streets. The winning designs came out of The Pedal to the Metal: Phoenix Bike Rack Project, an urban arts collaboration between Downtown Phoenix Inc., Artlink, and the city of Phoenix.
Sunday, visitors can take in the eclectic and industrial vibe of the Warehouse District with its largescale brick warehouses repurposed by creative visionaries into distinctive art spaces and cultural venues.
The “Detour” is easy to navigate with printed and online maps and free docent-guided shuttles running Friday through Sunday. Refuel as needed at the myriad cafes, bars and restaurants that make the downtown area a food-lovers’ haven.
The Art Detour celebration finishes with another new addition, the Creative Symposium series, March 19 and March 20. Artists, art lovers, and those who adore Phoenix are invited to discover and get excited about art collecting and to learn how the partnership between art and architecture create our culturally rich city.
And when it comes to the question of whether culture exists in Phoenix, Kahler hopes Art Detour 30 puts an end to the doubt and answers the question with a definitive yes.
Art d’Core Gala
Warehouse215 at Bentley Projects, 215 E. Grant Street, Phoenix, 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, March 15, $20/single, $30/pair.
Art Detour 30
Venues throughout greater downtown Phoenix, 6 to 10 p.m., Friday, March 16, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday, March 17, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, March 18.
Art + Architecture Symposium, 4 to 8 p.m., Monday, March 19, $10
Artists + Collectors Symposium, Phoenix Art Museum, Tuesday, March 20