Following the success of last year’s expanded event, Artlink’s Art Detour will expand its reach.
“Art Detour is a monthlong celebration of arts and culture, and what makes it most significant is that it has evolved from the original Art Walk event in all of Phoenix,” says Catrina Kahler, Artlink president and chief executive officer.
“This Art Detour event is the founding Art Walk event that predates First Fridays and Third Fridays that started in 1989. Here we are, 34 years later, now evolved to a monthlong celebration that is a really strong reflection of the art and depth of the arts and culture community and how strong it is and how it is very much still thriving actually more than ever.”
Last year, due to COVID-19, the organization adapted to the artists’ and community’s availability to continue the event while expanding it.
“We took the approach of, rather than creating experiences of critical mass given all of the restrictions, we decided to go big and expand the experience over 33 days last year to give people the time and opportunity to experience arts and culture activities at their leisure as needed and also online as much of the programming was pivoting to virtual platforms,” Kahler says.
Artlink presented more than 1,000 activities during those 33 days, and it was met with a “warm response” from the public, according to Kahler, prompting them to continue it. With COVID-19 restrictions still in place, Kahler and her team thought it was the best option.
“It did well, it served the community and it allowed us to not just expand in terms of time, but it also allowed us to expand and educate the public on perhaps change perceptions of the whole definitions of arts and culture,” Kahler says.
“So many people default to being a traditional visual and performing arts when it is much more than that. It includes public art, fashion and culinary arts and the culture of our historic properties and the architecture.”
In terms of the geographical expansion, Kahler says she wanted to also set up virtual experiences for those who are not ready for in-person events.
“The name Art Detour itself was an indication back in the day from artists to the public saying, No. 1, we are here, we are creating, and by coming to visit our studios — because it started as a studio tour specifically — by coming to visit our studios in the heart of Downtown Phoenix we will perceive and experience the city in a new way,” Kahler says.
“It is about traditional and expanding art forms, but it’s also about place and community. It’s about the economy, and it’s about understanding the artists and arts and culture communities as a whole.”
Throughout March, Art Detour will host galleries, workshops, performing art performances and public art installations, among various other events. The calendar of events is available on the Art Detour website, artdetour.com.
“There are a number of events and projects that we want to highlight, and the first one is the substation project that is located at Roosevelt and Seventh streets,” Kahler says. “It’s an electrical substation that is being built on a very prominent corner in Downtown Phoenix in the Roosevelt Row Arts District and the Evans Churchill neighborhood.
“It’s a city-block-wide project between Sixth Street and Seventh Street, and all of the front-facing walls of this substation are going to be filled with murals and metal work, sculptures, etchings and sound sculptures and more.”
Kahler says the pieces should be complete prior to Art Detour, and she hopes the artists will then talk about their work.
An event highlight is the virtual discussion panel “People Power the Arts: From Passion to Action” hosted by Arizona Citizens for the Arts on Monday, March 7. The panel is regarding the “reauthorization of the commission of the arts.”
“Every year when the governor comes out with the budget for the state, arts and culture is kind of in the budget, but sometimes not really,” Kahler says. “Arizona ranks near or at the bottom of the list for the states when it comes to the funding of arts and culture.
“We want to take this opportunity in this seminal year of renewal and as a community advocate for more sustainable funding moving forward to work in partnership with Arizona Citizens for the Arts on an arts and culture advocacy discussion and panel of discussion to really understand not just the importance of public funding for arts but for those who really care about it, what are we to do?
“The effect and the benefit of public funding in terms of social program and environmental where there are some projects that just beautify but there is so much community benefit through the distribution of these funds.”
The signature Art d’Core Gala is set for Friday, March 11, in an 80,000-square-foot space in Midtown Phoenix.
“It is the major reception for a debut exhibition that is produced by members of the Artlink Artists Council as well as invited artists, each of whom were selected via an open call to artists and selected by each member of the Artists Council,” Kahler says. “The net result is going to be 15 collaborative art installations amidst culinary pop-ups by favorite restaurants, creative drinks, live performances, dance, video projections and so on.”
Kahler adds the space makes it easy to socially distance while allowing the event to be visually and experientially powerful.
“We are excited about that,” she says.
Though there are struggles to putting together a celebration of this magnitude, Kahler says that at the end of the day that her favorite part of the event is the “expression of love.”
“The entire team here is so open hearted and so desiring to connect with the artists and anyone else that we can connect with via this organization. It’s very easy for each of us and us collectively to love this arts and culture community,” Kahler says.
“The effect of what they do is so strong, the wisdom, the insights are so special and so many of the organizations and partners as well do so much with either so little or under real pressures whether under pandemic or otherwise. The love here just never stops. The love and the embrace are the best part. The execution is where it gets a bit more challenging.”
WHEN: Various times, Tuesday, March 1, to Thursday, March 31
WHERE: Various locations throughout the state
COST: Pricing may vary