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New Downtown Mural Promotes Art, Activity, Awareness

December 9, 2016 by Fara Illich

Andy Brown Mural

Local artist Andy Brown began work on the shipping container mural Dec. 1 and will be finished by Christmas. (Photo: Lauren Potter)

Downtown Phoenix Inc. (DPI) installed several painted pots in July to break up an empty ASU-owned lot along First Avenue, just west of Civic Space Park.

Very soon, a colorful new shipping container mural by local artist Andy Brown will join them.

Through a partnership between DPI, ASU and the I Have a Name Project, the goal is to activate the empty lot at 372 N. First Avenue while it’s waiting to be developed, as well as raise awareness about the local homeless community.

I Have a Name Project uses visual art and storytelling to provide a voice for the voiceless – individuals living on the streets or in shelters, often facing addiction problems, mental illness, physical limitations or just a bad set of circumstances.

“We all strive for purpose and understanding — to see and to be seen,” said Jon Linton, founder of I Have a Name Project. “I believe art can help move that vision along.”

DPI launched a Homeless Outreach program at the beginning of December, which is an extension of the Downtown Phoenix Ambassador services. So the partnership and theme of the mural was a perfect fit, according to Samantha Jackson, vice president of operations at DPI.

“Our community shouldn’t turn a blind eye on homelessness, we need to recognize each human who doesn’t have a home,” she said. “That’s what we’re striving to do with our efforts downtown.”

DPI also worked with ASU on a vacant lot activation in 2015 called The Space Between, a pocket park between Valley Youth Theatre and Taylor Place. Work on the current project began Dec. 1, and will be completed before Christmas.