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 | | 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 | | 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

Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co., which got its start in Gilbert, is planning to open a location in Downtown Phoenix at 201 East Roosevelt.

The new brewery, slated to open in early 2019, will feature burgers and the brewer’s craft beer, the Phoenix Business Journal reports. It will keep its original location, but its second spot joins the likes of FilmBar and Angels Trumpet Ale House, which are only a few blocks away.

The Roosevelt Row building that will be home to the new brewery is notable for a mural of a bicycle deliveryman on the side adjacent to Second Street.

“Expanding our presence to Downtown Phoenix allows us to continue as an authentic craft brewery while enhancing and growing the objective,” Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co. founder Jonathan Buford wrote on his blog. “We will continue our efforts to uphold our sustainability efforts (solar, reclaimed rain water, efficiently using natural lighting, recycling, composting food waste, etc.), but also progressing our farm to pint/table initiatives.”

Buford also lauded urban cores as hotbeds of creativity, including Phoenix. “City centers are a splendid showcase of the surrounding people’s abilities, feelings and artistic culture,” he wrote.


Original post: Dees Stribling, Bisnow National | December 18, 2017