News

Erin Westgate describes her downtown Phoenix coffeehouse as an extension of her living room. A quaint house nestled in the coverage of trees.

Songbird Coffee and Tea House, near McKinley and Third streets, welcomes guests with a circle of lawn chairs, picnic tables and a green porch swing.

The shop has been in business for six years, marking its latest anniversary on June 23. Starting out in a warehouse just a block and a half from where it’s now, the local favorite has endured many changes over the years.

When Songbird first opened, it served mainly as a creative destination for artists, writers and graphic designers. The flourishing Phoenix arts district now has new neighbors: high-rise apartments and sprawling office buildings.

“When we first opened, this area was a lot emptier than it is now,” Westgate said. “It was this district where everybody was working really hard to make it and doing their own thing. This was the area to figure it all out… It was neat to be in the messiness of things.”

Westgate, 36, says she enjoys seeing the dirt lots filling up, but is pained to witness the once artist-driven neighborhoods starting to shift. Just recently, Short Leash Hot Dogs announced it’s leaving Roosevelt Row after five years and relocating to Melrose District.

“It’s fun to have more opportunities around and see more people moving down here, but at the same time (downtown Phoenix) is changing.” Westgate said. “I hope it stays the arts district and not just a show. This area has so much soul, and I hope it stays.”

Through Songbird, her passion for gathering all walks of life in an intimate space is evident. Single tables align green velvet cushions, a bar top rims the front windows. Almost every spot requires this feel of shared space.

“I love introducing people. I wanted a place where people come to figure things out,” she said. “To be in the arts district where artists are trying to do their own thing… sit down, slow down and have a conversation with the person next to you.”

The community she serves is as important as where she gets her product from. Tea, coffee and gluten-free pastries are sourced from local vendors.

“It’s imperative that I have the ability to meet and talk to the people I work with face to face,” she said. “They’re invested in the same area, which means they know better what our customers want.”

Coffee: ‘It’s an art’

Westgate was inspired to open her own coffee house after working as a barista for a coffee shop in California, her home state. 

“I worked at the Café Bar and I loved getting to make good things that started a conversation for someone.” she said. “Coffee is not just espresso, it’s an art. And I was able to meet so many good people … that changed my life dramatically.”

The former barista moved to Phoenix in 2010 and opened Songbird two years later. Since the shop’s opening, she has handled a steady process of rolling with the punches and navigating her way through change.

“This is such a transitional neighborhood and that’s probably the hardest part,” she said.

 Westgate said the hardest part of being a small business owner has been the constant changing environment and learning that when it comes to business, you have to mean business.

“I was kind of naïve in the beginning to think that if I provided good service and a good product, everything would just workout,” she said. “I didn’t really think about the fact there will be people who don’t care about me succeeding or who really don’t want me to.”

When Songbird first opened six years ago, Westgate had a partner. Three years later, she became the sole owner.

 “I think people are more likely to try and push around a woman than a man,” she said. “I learned a lot through that transition of losing a partner.”

Loyal customers, employees drive her passion

She leans on the support of her neighbors, employees and loyal customers to keep the beans brewing and coffee pouring.

When Songbird first opened, Westgate was not only an owner, she also was the sold barista and cashier. Soon, she realized she needed to hire some help to keep up with the demand.

“Hiring the first person was actually pretty painful,” she said. “It was like leaving the baby with a babysitter for the first time.”

Since then, her employees have become like family. She has had a low turnover rate, developing a special connection with her staff.

Songbird will offer 30 percent drinks all day on July 23. The coffee house also has started recycling and will be encouraging patrons to bring their own mugs.

Songbird Coffee and Tea House

Where: 812 N. Third St., Phoenix.

Hours: 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

Details: 602-374-4192, songbirdcoffeehouse.com.

_____________

By: Shakkira Harris, AZcentral | azcentral.com | July 23, 2018
(Original post)

 

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has named Shadow Playby Howeler + Yoon Architecture one of the country’s best small projects.

The Washington, D.C.-based organization founded in 1857 promotes architecture’s role in “economic vitality and public wellbeing.”

Shadow Play was installed in Roosevelt Row in 2015.

It was one of 11 designs recognized with a 2018 AIA Small Project Award. The awards were announced on Friday, June 1.

The artist, Meejin Yoon of Boston, created sculptural shade structures with solar-powered canopies and seating elements for three locations on Roosevelt Street. The sculptures were fabricated with powder-coated steel.

The main component includes seven interconnected sculptures installed on a traffic triangle between Third and Fourth streets. There’s another piece on Second Street near Carly’s Bistro, and one more on First Street near The Nash.

AIA posted the winning projects on its website, where it included this description for the Phoenix project:

“Positioned on a former traffic median, Shadow Play transforms this space by increasing pedestrian connectivity with the surrounding commercial and arts district by providing space for pedestrians to walk and relax.”

Shadow Play was commissioned by the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture Public Art Program, and funded through percent-for-art funds. The project budget was $452,000.

 The piece garnered mixed reviews when it was installed.Some people said they’d prefer to see work by a Phoenix-based artist in that space. Others noted that the scale of the main installation didn’t match the surrounding buildings.

But scale is no longer an issue, due to rampant development in recent years. Today, the installation that once towered over nearby single-story buildings is dwarfed by the multilevel apartment complexes that surround it.

Even so, Shadow Play has been at the center of significant controversy.

In early January, the city removed an encampment created by homeless individuals at the traffic triangle and arrested several people. Then, it cordoned off the area, and posted signage forbidding camping, lying, and sleeping. Today, Shadow Play is fully accessible to the public.

Small Project Awards were presented in three categories, based on project budget or size. Shadow Play was one of five winners for construction costs below $1.5 million.

Another three are located in California, and one in Oklahoma. All were selected by a five-panel jury, who considered quality of work and how each project reflected the renewal theme for this year’s competition.

Online AIA materials about 2018 winners describe Shadow Play as “an urban platform to reclaim under-used public space.” And they highlight the following jury comment: “Wonderfully playful and functional addition to the streetscape.”

_____________

By: Lynn Trimble, Phoenix New Times | phoenixnewtimes.com | June 11, 2018
(Original post)

As it inches closer to opening, the Churchill announced a list of tenants that will call the downtown Phoenix development home.

The Churchill, which is being fashioned out of old seaport shipping containers at Garfield and First streets near Roosevelt Row, already announced Pedal Haus Brewery, State Forty Eight, Pobrecito, Cosas and Freak Brothers Pizza would set up shop at the anticipated complex.

On Monday, the Churchill announced a list of five other local tenants opening this summer. The businesses include a mix of retail and restaurants and bars.

Here are the confirmed tenants at downtown Phoenix’s the Churchill:

  • Breadwinner – a new restaurant concept by Culinary Mafia Group, the team behind Scottsdale’s EVO
  • Pedal Haus Brewery – the second installment of the Tempe-based brewpub
  • Pobrecito – a new cocktail concept from the team behind Counter Intuitive and Undertow
  • Provecho – a food concept that offers flavors from Central Mexico
  • Freak Brothers Pizza – a food truck turned brick-and-mortar restaurant that cooks up Neapolitan-style pizzas in 90 seconds using a 1,000-degree oven
  • Foxy Fruit – a health-conscious spot serving smoothies and acai bowls
  • Sauvage – a bottle shop offering wines at an approachable price
  • State Forty Eight – a homegrown lifestyle brand
  • Cosas – a container boutique that features the work of local artisans from various regions of Mexico
  • Gather – a retail spot offering home and lifestyle goods

“It’s an eclectic, impressive tenant mix, and as we intended when creating the space, everyone brings something very different to the table,” Kell Duncan, the Churchill co-founder said in a statement.

Duncan and partner Hartley Rodie are developing the 14,000-square-foot project and Phoenix-based Local Studio is in charge of the design-build.

The first Churchill tenants expect to open their doors this summer, but an official date has not been set yet.

 _____________
 By:Brandon Brown, Phoenix Business Journal | bizjournals.com | June 4th, 2018
(Original post)

XICO INC. AT ROOSEVELT ROW HOT BOX SHIPPING CONTAINER GALLERIES

XICO’S MISSION

Xico’s mission is to nourish a greater appreciation of the cultural and spiritual heritages of the Latino and Indigenous peoples of the Americas through the arts. Xico is committed to the development and promotion of Chicano/Latino, and Native American artists, encourages self-empowerment of our youth and communities, and presents the rich cultural heritage of Indigenous peoples to all audiences. Xico serves a broad, ethnically diverse community throughout the region, including artists, arts organizations, youth, underserved populations, art buyers, and community leaders. Xico’s initiatives promote an understanding of arts and culture at all levels; through increased awareness and knowledge, vocational training, cultural programming and collaboration with other arts organizations.

ELIGIBILITY

Open to visual artists, curators, and coordinators of artist groups. Artists must be 18 years of age or older. The exact dates of a proposed exhibition will be determined in collaboration with the applicant following the approval of an application.

Deadline: Rolling

TO APPLY

Artists interested in exhibiting should submit the following in a single multipage .pdf document no larger than 25 MB:

  • A clear concise description of your proposed exhibition and its purpose. Be sure to include an approximate number of pieces, material, interactivity, and installation methods. All proposals should address the gallery’s mission in some way. Maximum of 500 words.
  • Up to 10 high quality digital images that are representative of the work proposed for the exhibit. All images are to be numbered to correspond to an image list including artist’s last name, title, medium, size, and date. Video works and other time-based media may be submitted via a URL link to a website such as Vimeo, YouTube, and alike. Each piece must be no longer than 10 minutes.
  • A one-page artist statement and short bio. If proposing a group show, a statement and bio are required from each artist.
  • CV or resume, 3 pages or less. If proposing a group show, a CV is required from the applicant and recommended from each exhibiting artist.
  • Filled out and signed application. Proposals for review or inquiries for additional information should be emailed to info@xicoinc.org. Applications that do not meet the formatting criteria above will not be considered.

EXHIBITION POLICIES

  • Xico refuses to show artwork that marginalizes, discriminates, or may harm any individual or groups. Xico promotes the acceptance of all people and cultures regardless of age, sex orienataion, race, gender, ethnicity, orgin, or ability. Artwork that contains pornographic themes, discriminatory content, or offensive material will not be permitted.
  • Artwork must be original (not copied from other artwork or made from a kit).
  • Artists are required to transport their works of art to and from the gallery. The gallery does not receive or return shipped artwork.
  • Gallery personnel are available to assist in the setup of the exhibit; however, the artist is primarily responsible for hanging/installing the show. Please plan accordingly.
  • Exhibited works will not be insured by Xico while on the premises. Artist’s must provide their own coverage. However, the gallery does everything it can to ensure the well-being of artists’ work by maintaining a safe environment that is securely locked when the gallery is closed.
  • If the artwork differs significantly from the application materials originally submitted, the gallery reserves the right to refuse displaying the artwork.
  • The gallery reserves the right to use images of accepted artwork for publicity. Accepted artists will be required to submit a high-resolution jpg or tiff of the accepted artwork for such purposes.
  • The shipping container’s dimensions are approximately 7 feet wide by 7.5 feet tall by 18 feet deep. The gallery does not provide pedestals or any special equipment. The gallery also does not have environmental control and gets hot during the summer months.

______________

By: XICO Inc. | xicoinc.org 
(Original post)

Lauren Lee has painted the first augmented reality mural in downtown Phoenix. Titled Take Flight, it’s located on the west-facing wall of Roosevelt Row gallery monOrchid, alongside Brian Boner’s 2016 mural depicting hundreds of birds in flight.

The mural was commissioned by the Citizens Clean Elections Commission, a nonpartisan group that promotes voter education and campaign funding accountability in Arizona.

“We want young voters to activate their political power,” says Gina Roberts, voter education director for the commission. “We know this generation likes art, and we hope the mural helps to encourage them to vote.”

The mural comprises a pair of wings, with a QR code viewers can scan with their cell phones. Starting on May 4, the mural will have an augmented reality component through Shazam, an app that helps listeners find song titles and lyrics.

People who scan the code and then photograph the wings will see wings in motion. And a person standing between the wings will appear to be in flight.

“This is the first augmented reality mural in Roosevelt Row,” says Ben Dveirin, associate creative director with the Riester advertising agency. The commission hired Riester to help manage its 18 in 2018 campaign. Dveirin came up with the augmented mural concept.

Then, he turned to Lee.

Dveirin was familiar with Lee’s previous work, including her iconic Three Birds mural on the GreenHaus building at Third and Roosevelt streets. That building was demolished in 2015 to make way for a multilevel apartment building, where she later created a three-bird installation titled Three Birds in Flight that towers over the Roosevelt Row arts district.

“I was really excited about the chance to work with the Clean Elections Commission,” Lee says. “I used to be a teacher, and I always encouraged my students to vote just as soon as they were old enough.”

Bringing the mural to life was a two-step process.

First, Lauren painted the wings. Then, developers working in Phoenix and the United Kingdom created the augmented reality component.

Lee actually painted five different sets of wings, each one replacing the wings she’d painted before it. After each pair of wings, a production crew captured the image so it could be integrated into the augmented reality component of the project.

Before Lee started the process, she researched the ways wings work. “I began looking for stop-motion films of birds in flight, and found a video of a white dove.” Then, she thought about how to translate that into “a mythical imaginative bird.” And she thought about what happens to colors in flight.

Today, just the fifth and final mural remains. But the augmented reality experience will include images of all five pieces – which show birds in various stages of flight, such as gliding and cupping. “I painted them very painterly with big brush strokes so the wings looked like they were in motion,” Lee says.

Lee painted the murals between Monday, March 26, and Friday, April 6. That final day, she did live painting during the First Friday art walk, so people got a chance to see part of the process.

The official launch of the completed mural project happens during First Friday in May, when the commission will be on hand near the mural to help people of all ages register to vote. They’re also installing a wheat paste version on a wall at the Tucson music venue 191 Toole.

Roberts hopes Lee’s mural will be a draw for young potential voters. “We want their first experience with the political process a positive one,” she says.

_____________

By: Lynn Trimble, Phoenix New Times | phoenixnewtimes.com | May 1, 2018
(Original post)

Artists Gabriel and Isaac Fortoul, who call themselves the Fortoul Brothers, are creating a new mural in downtown Phoenix. It’s going up on a building that houses three radio stations, located at 840 North Central Avenue. The project is being spearheaded by the Heard Museum.

The duo started painting a north-facing wall on Sunday, April 8. When finished, the mural will wrap around to a west-facing wall as well. They expect it will take about 10 days to paint the entire mural.

The mural is 30 feet high, and the main wall runs about 80 feet across. It’s titled Freedom is Back. At first, they planned to use the design from a painting ArtLink featured in its Art Detour 30 exhibition at Bentley Projects. But the T-shape design didn’t suit the long wall, so they created something else.

The mural depicts Isaac’s 12-year-old daughter riding a horse that faces east. “There’s a feeling of freedom and enjoying everything that the earth has provided for us,” Isaac says of the design. “She’s looking up, because it’s about honor and pride in yourself, this place, and the city.”

Human figures and elements of nature, such as water and the sun, are prominent in the Fortoul Brothers’ body of work. “What’s important here is the interaction between humans and animals and Mother Nature,” Isaac says.

The artists feel a special connection to the space, because it’s located near a gallery they used to operate on Central Avenue. “We’ve been looking at this wall and wanting to paint it for 15 years,” he says.

They got the opportunity because Isaac reached out to the Heard Museum several months ago, after hearing the museum wanted to create partnerships with local artists. Heard staffers were already in talks with the building’s owners, so they worked with the Fortoul Brothers to make the mural project happen.

But Gabriel and Isaac haven’t been painting alone.

They’ve had help from several American Indian youths, and other community members. “Their eyes are so wide open with innocence, and they have a burst of energy and light,” Gabriel says of the young people he’s been guiding along as they paint parts of the piece. “We want them to realize that they can pursue a career in the arts. When I was young, no one ever told me that.”

It’s not their first project involving youth.

In January, they started work on a 200-foot mural at Garfield Elementary School. That mural also wraps around two walls, and borders a new school garden. The mural was commissioned by the Mollen Foundation, which promotes healthy lifestyles in children.

Both murals are part of the Fortoul Brothers’ growing body of art in public spaces.

Back in 2016, they painted a small-scale mural called Peace & Lightat Windsor.

They’ve also painted two large sneaker sculptures for a Phoenix Suns project called The Sole of PHX. One of those sneakers sits on the platform for Valley Metro Light Rail’s Central Avenue and Roosevelt Street station, just across the street from the building for their latest mural.

The Fortoul Brothers also designed a public art installation for Valley Metro, which will be part of the new south Phoenix light rail line scheduled to open in 2023.

It’s been a whirlwind year for the artists.

Their designs were featured on three main stages for the inaugural Lost Lake Festival held at Steele Indian School Park in October 2017. They created casual fashions and accessories sold at Phoenix General, did live drawing at Phoenix Art Museum, and showed work in Randy Slack’s “Chaos Theory” exhibition at Legend City Studios.

Now, the Fortoul Brothers are looking ahead to working with the Heard Museum in other ways.

They’ve created a limited-edition print of their design for the Roosevelt Row mural, which will be for sale at the museum during First Friday on May 4. On Saturday, June 9, they’ll participate in a lecture at the museum titled “America: Alternative Practice in Public Art.”

The dedication for their new mural happens at 5 p.m. on Friday, April 27. It’s free and open to the public.

Editor’s note: This post has been updated from its original version.

___________

By: Lynn Trimble, Phoenix New Times | phoenixnewtimes.com | April 20, 2018
(Original post)

As followers of this page know, our Pie Social event went down this past weekend. We got good weather, good tunes, and some wild pies. I was one of the event’s judges. It was a good gig. The judges’ table practically creaked under tens of thousands of calories, hundreds of grams of sugar, and every sweet color you can dream. It was a sight.

Here are three pies that really surprised me. These aren’t necessarily my three favorites of the group. Rather, each of these gently slapped my head sideways in a way I wasn’t expecting.

Cheeky Cherry from Holly Heizenrader, MacAlpine’s Diner and Soda Fountain
Some pies were traditional, some pies were creative. Heizenrader’s cherry pie was the former. Maybe that’s why I wasn’t expecting such flavor. This pie, oozing with molten cherry goodness, located whatever part of the brain is responsible for the experience of cherry. It then pushed the pedal all the way down. Nothing fancy here, other than the pie’s elegant appearance. Just a damn good pie.

Guinness Stew Patsy from Dean Thomas, Cornish Pasty Co.
A savory pie. Interesting. It takes some moxie to enter a savory pie into a competition like Pie Social. The effect of eating a bunch of sweet pies and then sinking my teeth into this pasty, loaded with tender meat, was to throw the savory flavors into richer relief. Going sweet and then savory accentuated the savory. I don’t know if there is any science behind why this is, but I strongly feel that the transition made the meat’s decadence, the flaky shell, and the cool cream that much better. Also: It was lunch time.

Salted Caramel with Pistachio and Cherries from Monique Kauppi, The Herb Box
The dark chocolate flavor of Kauppi’s pie came like an avalanche. It kept on coming and coming even after the flavors of pistachio and caramel had fallen away. One judge said she got a kind of chocolate brain freeze from the rush of pure cacao to the head. No such thing as chocolate too dark, in my opinion. This was easily the most intensely flavored pie of the bunch. You could see that on the faces of folks who tasted it. Between this pie, the other two, and the remaining 12, it was a nice run this year.

_____

By NOVEMBER 22, 2017
(Original post)

Hundreds of people ate hundreds of pies baked by more than a dozen local bakers at the eighth annual Pie Social Sunday at Hance Park in Phoenix.

And that’s not counting the dozens of pies created by community bakers.

It’s safe to call the day a successful pig out, brought to you by Roosevelt Row and Phoenix New Times.

Competition was fierce in all categories, but one newcomer really stood out — both for our panel of judges and festival attendees.

The results of the contest:

Best Presentation — Crystal Kass, Phoenix Public Market Cafe, Hazelnut Praline Chess Pie
Best Taste — Dean Thomas, Cornish Pasty Co., Guiness Stew Pasty
Most Creative — Tamara Stanger, Helio Basin Brewing Co., Hibiscus Vinegar Pie
Most Memorable — Tamara Stanger, Helio Basin Brewing Co., Hibiscus Vinegar Pie
People’s Choice — Tamara Stanger, Helio Basin Brewing Co., Hibiscus Vinegar Pie
Best in Show — Tamara Stanger, Helio Basin Brewing Co., Hibiscus Vinegar Pie

Stay tuned for a slideshow. Thanks to all who participated and congrats to the winners.

_____

By:  | NOVEMBER 20, 2017
(Original post)

Boarded-up buildings and weed-filled vacant lots were the norm in metro Phoenix’s oldest historic neighborhood not too long ago.

Now, the 100-plus-year-old Roosevelt District in downtown Phoenix has evolved before our eyes into Roosevelt Row, one of the most popular neighborhoods in not only metro Phoenix but the U.S.

The bustling Central Avenue and Roosevelt Street hub of Roosevelt Row was recently voted the sixth most popular metro Phoenix intersection by Urban Land Institute Arizona. The area didn’t even make the list 10 years ago.

Roosevelt Row garnered one of the American Planning Association’s “Great Places” designations last year – Phoenix’s first and only one.

Hotspots Rentals just ranked Roosevelt Row as the 24th “coolest” neighborhood in the U.S. based on transit, walkability, entertainment and cost of living. It was the only Arizona neighborhood to make the ranking.

Last week, plans for one of the area’s historic buildings – the Knipe House –  got City Council approval to be purchased and preserved as part of a $151 million project.

In October, construction started on the 30-story apartment tower Link Phx on the eastern end of Roosevelt Row. And one of the neighborhood’s new apartment complexes, Alta Fillmore, just sold for a record price for downtown Phoenix.

 “We are flooded with requests for information and development proposals for Roosevelt Row,” said David Krietor, CEO of Downtown Phoenix Inc. “The biggest challenge is not squeezing out the area’s artistic vibe.”

Walking the art walk

While we Phoenix locals love “RoRo” for its bars and restaurants, most people know the area best for its First Friday art walk.

The tour now has dozens of venues and draws big crowds on Fridays. Many of Roosevelt’s vacant lots and rundown buildings have been filled up by galleries, restaurants and bars.

The neighborhood has evolved so much in the past decade because area business owners like monOrchid gallery owner Wayne Rainey and Carly’s Bistro owner Carly Wade Logan are fierce protectors of its art scene and historic buildings.

Developers are drawn to Roosevelt Row for both.

“We have a strong desire to save properties with significant history,” said Niels Kreipke of Desert Viking, which renovated the popular retail and eatery hub Gold Spot Center at 3rd Avenue and Roosevelt. “We want to ensure Roosevelt holds onto its vast history and local business ownership.”

Last week, the Phoenix City Council approved True North Holding’s $3.56 million purchase of the city-owned Knipe House and land around it.

The developer plans to incorporate the house on 2nd Street near Roosevelt Street into an office, retail and housing development. A 19-story tower and two smaller buildings are planned for the project, named Ro2.

The 1909 Knipe House is now one of the last remaining historic buildings in Roosevelt Row that hasn’t been redeveloped.

Seeing Roosevelt Row grow

Living and working adjacent to Roosevelt Row, it’s been easy to take its rebirth for granted because I see it daily.

Recently, Roosevelt Row lost a court fight to become a business-improvement district, paid for by a new property tax. The boundaries would have stretched roughly from Fillmore to Moreland streets and Seventh Street to Seventh Avenue.

Many supporters from the city and the neighborhood are disappointed.

But Roosevelt Row’s evolution is heartening, and continues despite the loss.

Recently on my way home from work, I noticed several restaurants with crowded patios and new apartments and condominiums with people on their balconies in Roosevelt Row.

A decade ago, I would have been staring at vacant lots and rundown buildings.

_____

By: , The Republic | azcentral.com | December 10, 2017
(Original post)

Tempe’s Pedal Haus Brewery is opening a second location in downtown Phoenix at a new shipping container development in downtown Phoenix.

Pedal Haus already has a location on Mill Avenue in downtown Tempe.

It’s a concept of restaurateur Julian Wright

The downtown Phoenix location will be at The Churchill. That is a new development being fashioned out of old seaport shipping containers being built at Garfield and First streets on the north side of downtown Phoenix near Roosevelt Row.

State Forty Eight ­— a Chandler-based clothing and apparel maker with a focus on Arizona themes — is also locating a shop at The Churchill.

Archicon and Local Studios are designing and building the container project for developers Hartley Rodie and Kell Duncan.

They are using 19 shipping containers for the project.

Cocktail bar Pobrecito, Freak Brothers Pizza and Cosas, an artisans boutique are also locating at development.

Construction has started at the site with completion set for next spring.

___

By   –  Senior Reporter, Phoenix Business Journal | Decemeber 13, 2017