Five Predictions for Phoenix Arts in 2016

Written by Niki D'Andrea Category: Lists Issue: December 2015
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Sound of SpeedI'm far from psychic, and I'm only a little savvy, but I usually have some pretty good hunches about arts- and culture-related things. Here are a handul for 2016:

More residential developments along Roosevelt Row
This one is kind of a no-brainer. Drive down Roosevelt Street near Downtown Phoenix, and the demolition and construction is evident. PAZ Cantina (in the old Canvas gallery building on the corner of Third and Roosevelt streets) is being razed as I write this, and just to the west, where the old GreenHAUS boutique used to be, are the beginnings of yet another new residential build. (It should be noted that there's already a new residential high-rise on the lot across the street, at Roosevelt Point.) What does this have to do with the Phoenix arts scene? Well, as more gallery spaces and independent retail spaces are closed/razed to make room for luxury apartments that artists can't afford, artists will begin to move out of the area. Possibly into the...

More galleries along Grand Avenue
Zoning laws prohibit the construction of high-rises along Grand, and gallery owners and artists have taken full advantage of this strip's non-appeal to developers. The annual Grand Avenue Festival will be bigger than ever before, and galleries like Hazel & Violet, Trunk Space, The Lodge Arts Studio, and Bragg's Pie Factory will be joined by new galleries and visited by new artists as more move into the affordable apartments – like the new container apartments – popping up along the avenue.

Tom Sizemore as Jack DurantMore cross-pollination of classical music and pop culture
Eight years ago, I saw Eartha Kitt perform with the Phoenix Symphony, and I remember thinking at that time – and hearing others express – how unusual and cool it was for pop music to meet classical music in this way. Thankfully, that melding is not so unusual anymore. Following a year in which the Phoenix Symphony pulled off its second automobile-themed concert, “Sound of Speed 2,” the city's symphony will continue combining classical and pop culture in 2016. The first two months of the year alone are loaded with such crossbreeds. On tap for January: “The Music of John Williams” (composer for films including “Star Wars” and “Harry Potter”) on Jan. 2-3, and “School House Rock,” Jan. 10. February brings Cirque de la Symphonie (Feb. 19-20), “The Music of Whitney Houston” (Feb. 27), and “Perfect Pitch: Celebration of Sports & Music” (Feb. 28).

A big year for the Valley's independent cinema
On January 21 at the Renaissance Hotel in Downtown Phoenix, the movie “Durant's Never Closes” will premiere. The film, which stars Tom Sizemore as controversial Phoenix restaurateur Jack Durant, was made by local company Running Wild Films, and shot on set in metro Phoenix. It's one of a few Arizona-centric films set to make a splash in 2016. Also keep an eye on: the 2016 Phoenix Film Festival (April 7-14), events from No Festival Required, and local indie film screenings at Phoenix Comicon in June.

More arts coverage in PHOENIX magazine
This is not so much a prediction as a guarantee. Starting in March, we'll be expanding our arts coverage in the print edition of the magazine from one to two pages, minimum. That's not counting arts-related news stories, features, etc. Because we could all use a little more art, and 2016 is a great year to start.