Grand Avenue’s ArtHaus Gallery Draws Up-and-Comers

Written by Wynter Holden Category: Visual Arts Issue: April 2016
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Photo courtesy Grand ArtHausWhile the stereotype of starving artists living off of ramen noodles and paint fumes isn’t always accurate – painter Damien Hirst’s net worth is reportedly several hundred thousand dollars, for example – emerging artists tend to have lean funds.

The need for affordable studio space partly inspired Laura Dragon, owner of {9} The Gallery, to open a new collaborative art space in downtown Phoenix together with local artists Robert Gentile and Michael Viglietta. “Most artists don’t have a huge budget,” says Dragon. “Collaborative work space makes sense. I’ve seen large co-op studios in New York that are very successful.”

Located on the recently renovated Oasis property at Grand and 15th Avenue, Grand ArtHaus is a 3,000-square-foot artists’ collective with six dedicated working spaces for local creatives. Shows will be rotated out monthly, with eight available slots for collective members to share their works with the public.

Most traditional collectives allow artists to showcase their works for up to three years, but Dragon is limiting ArtHaus participants to just a single year. Changing out artists annually will allow more up-and-comers to get affordable display space while also introducing the public to a constant influx of new work. “I want this to be raw and exploratory,” Dragon says.

Grand ArtHaus currently has four local artists signed up for work space, with two more in the works and a long list of interviewees interested in the remaining display slots. The gallery opened to the public for Art Detour on March 19-20 with live demos from six featured local artists. Dragon, Gentile and Viglietta plan to continue the demo component by encouraging studio residents to work onsite during the gallery’s First and Third Friday hours.

Grand ArtHaus has tentative art shows scheduled for May, June and July, with the official grand opening in September. Dragon’s plan is to open every Saturday in addition to the monthly Friday events, with hopes to expand hours as Grand Avenue grows. “Right now, not many people come to Downtown Phoenix and know where to go,” she says. “But we’re trending in that direction. The more things we see open in the neighborhood, the better it gets.”

If you go:
Grand ArtHaus
At Oasis on Grand
1501 Grand Ave., Phoenix