25 Years Downtown


Has Art Detour been happening for 25 years? Yes! and we’re celebrating…


The monOrchid presents 25 Years Downtown, opening March 1, 2013 for Art Detour weekend and running through the month of March.  As an invitational exhibition, it is not a comprehensive retrospective, but with as much inclusion as possible. This exhibition is about the stories and experiences of the participating artists in the downtown Phoenix art community.  It explores the history of downtown Phoenix art and celebrates the diversity through the perspective of the artists.  The result is an eclectic mix of significant veteran artists and new(er) school artists.


As part of the celebration The monOrchid will also presents its inaugural Arts’ Ball with the artists and the public. The evening, which is free and open to the public, will be full of activity and include exhibiting artists and entertainment. The monOrchid will hold a silent  auction of much of the work in the exhibition 25 Years Downtown with a percentage of the proceeds benefitting the re-launch of Shade Projects, a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing arts awareness, community engagement, and historical building renovation.

I am pleased to participate. I love the space and support the intentions. I hear they have gathered over 50 artists. Here are only a handful of images up for auction (click on image for artist blog or website).

Finding Nematode Dambrova_Small 38x43 ©Bill Dambrova

Bill Dambrova
Finding Nematode
oil and fluorescent spray paint on canvas


Irma Sanchez
digital photographic print
30 x 20

sideways saguaro

Mary Shindell
archival inkjet print
edition of 10


Lara Plecas
“Set Afire”
encaustic on panel
Wallow Fire/wildfire landscape

stars under the lid

Carrie Marill and Michael Lundgren
Stars Under The Lid

Homage to the Lepus Temperamentalusm

Monica Aissa Martinez
Homage to the Lepus Temperamentalus
– Jackalope In a View-Finder
Medium: Casein and Graphite Collage
18 x 14″

All the work and/or artists connect to the downtown arts scene. My work (above), created specifically for Jackalope Ranch’s (our Phoenix Culture blog) limited edition birthday sticker, is available for auction.

Come down, enjoy the art, celebrate 25 Years Downtown with monOrchid – and buy some artwork.

  • First Friday (Art Detour Preview), March 1, 2013 6-11pm
  • Art Detour, March 2 & 3 11am – 5pm
  • The monOrchid Arts’ Ball, ( and silent auction) Saturday, March 2, 7-12pm
  • Third Friday Collector’s Night, March 15, 6-10pm

The monOrchid is located in downtown Phoenix
@ 214 E Roosevelt, Phoenix AZ 85004
For more info click → The monOrchid.


what’s going on and what’s taking place…cont.

Sue, Carolyn and I drive out to Mary’s house. Mary not only prepares a great meal for us, she also shares her work, her studio, and her art books.  I’m introduced to an artist I’d not heard of. Conversation is plentiful. We talk about all sorts of things, past and present. I learn something new about each of them, as well as discover something about myself. Too bad for you, I’m only sharing photos of our work here.

Everyone is asked to bring a small 2D drawing, photo, or reproduction of some sort. It’s to be representational of the larger work that will show at What Goes on and What Takes Place, during Art Detour. The 2D object serves two purposes. They’re a way to reconnect, share progress and continue planning. And they act as  jumping points to discuss another element of the exhibition. We’re each considering making a small print. They’ll be available individually or as a collective set of four, during the run of the exhibit. Right now, it appears the prints will be 6″ x 6″  images reproducing a portion of the large-scale artworks. It’s not written in stone, things can change.

Yesterday Mary and I enthusiastically discuss paper stock. If paper is not exciting to you, then my guess is it’s just another tedious choice…and well…too bad.  There are interesting facts about paper worthy of a discussion.

Here are  photos of what’s going on and some of what might take place….enjoy.

Below, I hold a small-scale, mixed media drawing showing the head portion of a life-size self-portrait I’m finalizing for the exhibit.

Mary Shindell holds in her hands, a small cut out maquette of one wing. Yes, one wing. Again, this is only a small piece of a large digital sculpture. Or is it an installation? What will she call it? We’ll wait and see.

Carolyn Lavender cradles in her hands, a reproduction of an owl’s head, one of the 200 animal heads that will grace her large graphite on canvas.

And Sue Chenoweth evenly holds a very small, but very exciting reproduction of the 40″ x 40″ mixed media work on paper, she’s completing.

We enjoy the similarities and the differences in the small pieces, as a grouping. They allow us insight into the whole exhibit, which we agree, is a great idea. The afternoon passes quickly. It works out for touching base, making a few decisions, and having fun. We leave with a parting gift from Mary. Better explained, she satisfies our lust…we want these little magnets she’s created. Mary generously gives them to us. She’ll have these available for purchase, at the exhibit.

Once again…here’s the scoop….





This exhibition is supported with a mini-grant for marketing through the Ted Decker Catalyst Fund.

Click Modified Arts to find links informing you about each of the artists, their studio and their work.

To visit artists web sites, click on their photo above.

art detour

I’m off the beaten path, from my usual downtown art viewing route. Facebook invitations and wall posts direct my steps this particular Art Detour afternoon.

First stop, Another Gallery. Not downtown, but on the way…from my home, at least. Open, well-lit, cozy.
Situated on 3rd street, south of Indian School. Owner Larry Forsythe, greets us and tells us about the artists he exhibits, and their work. A variety of media fills his gallery: painting, sculpture, and there’s prints…linocuts, monotypes…etc.
Wendy Willis’s very fun…blue, blue water, people in swim suits, turtles…prints. Mark McDowell’s paintings and prints. Gregory West, very realistic looking paintings…and prints.

We’re invited to the back room where  a ceramic wheel, shelving and two electric kilns sit.  Larry dabbles in clay.  I like the space, and I like the ‘behind the scenes’ studio peek.

We head out, southeast, 16th Street, North of McDowell. A row of apartment complexes, now called, City Wide Studios, artist studios.  For Art Detour, each apartment is an exhibition space. 3D artwork in the first spot…3D glasses hang from the center of the room for ones use. Put a pair on, and the images on the wall extend out or recede into the walls. Amusing. I talk to the group: Peter Christenson, Matt Garcia, Teresa Miro, and Matthew Mosher, all art students from ASU.

The next area is filled with LCD monitors and a sound system.  I run into artist and ASU faculty, John Haddock.  These are his students. He fills me in on the various performance works taking place on this weekend. (John has work at Modified, btw…we talk about this too).

A few spaces down I meet Adriene Jenik, Professor and Director of the School of Art, at ASU. She appears to be dressed in mourning (or as death itself). She’s marking the walls. Each mark represents an (documented and verified) Iraqi death since the war began, 8 years ago. Her artist statement is at the entrance.  She’ll  hold vigil, and mark, for the 3 days. (Click here for her resource)
Looking around the room, I note the bottom area is marked about 12 inches from the ground up. Passing of time, passing of life. Death. Quiet. Somber realization.

One space uses a computer and web cam to pick up movement. Robert Madera projects the colorful image (of the viewer. me, at the moment…I realize) onto a corner area. A moving and changing canvas. Frequency is generated and produces sound, as I move within the space. Interactive. Entertaining.

Each area offers information, in a different way. Technology is prevalent.

Next…southwest to Grand Avenue.

I enter a few galleries, one in particular gets my attention.  I note a rather large sculpture, a black Snoopy dressed as a Native American. Recognize the wit. Hector Ruiz. And his large (woodcut) black and white prints are on the wall alongside Fausto Fernandez’s large, colorful paintings. I know the work from our Local’s Only exhibition, at the Phoenix Art Museum. I talk with Hector. He invites me to go back into his studio/work area.  It’s a long, narrow, energizing area of materials and ideas, complete and incomplete, raw and in process.
He carves wood and stone, draws, paints, prints…scribbles, writes…starts, stops… Even though I am an artist and I have a studio, I never take this sort of opportunity for granted. An artists studio is sacred space.

I decide on one more area before I call it a day. West of Grand. A long, dry street leads me to WestWind Studios. Bob Booker, Executive Director of the Az. Commission on the Arts, sits outside his studio.  He’s closed it for the afternoon, but he opens it back up. Another bit of sacred space. I find that I  connect so much more when I can see work area, process.  I am curious about his materials, everything from sweet colorful  tissue paper to black tar.

I enter a few more artist studios in the complex, and finally I walk into the last one. Pleased to see Dominic Miller sitting in a large, open room with light streaming in through the windows. Cacti and succulents fill areas. We talk about his work at Modified, and we talk about things in his studio. He has a large, gridded sheet of paper taped up on the wall.  What is this? I ask. I don’t know, he chuckles. He does know, the idea is getting formulated. I spend a bit more time there and then I head out.

Thanks to Larry, John, and his grad students, and all the artists whose work was out for the Art Detour experience.  And thanks to Hector, Bob, and Dominic for a more personal studio visit…appreciate it.