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More and more, youthful energy and ideas are reshaping Downtown Phoenix. Sean Deckert, an ASU student and artist, is the latest proof that our city is ripe for creative input and change.
Just one year ago, Sean moved Downtown and was juggling his studies with a bartending gig at The Rose and Crown. Today, he’s co-curator of First Fridays in Heritage Square, a juried exhibit that features up-and-coming young artists. Recently, we talked with him about his journey from student to arts entrepreneur.
Q: How did you get involved in promoting the arts?
“In the beginning, I was just looking for a space to display my own art. Since I was working at The Rose and Crown, I realized that Heritage Square was a cool spot that no one was utilizing. Then, I thought: maybe I can get more artists involved, and it grew from there.”
Q: What’s different about your First Fridays event?
“It’s not a street fest. There are no vendors, just artists, so it’s a less crowded space and the atmosphere is amazing. The artists set up, hang out and talk to the public about their work and their methods. In fact, we encourage people to talk to the artists and learn about their work.”
Q: How do you choose the artists for each show?
“Initially, I sent a call out to artists all over the Valley. Our first show was in September of ’09, and we now have certain artists who continually exhibit, like Jacki Orr, a video artist, Lee Davis, who does woodblock prints and acrylic painting, and Gabe Sandoval, an aerosol artist who paints portraits. Gabe is a highlight of each show: he places a four-foot square panel board on an easel and spray paints live. By the end of the event, he’ll have a finished piece.”
Q: Are you still looking for artists to exhibit?
“Absolutely. Anyone who’d like to show his or her work can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re looking for work that makes a strong statement.”
Q: How is The Shizz involved? And what the heck is it?
“The Shizz is a music blogspot that promotes local bands. For this month’s First Fridays event, The Shizz will present two live bands, Whisperlights and Former Friends of Young Americans. If you’d like to find out more about local bands, visit theshizz.org.”
Sponsored by Artlink, the Rosson House Foundation and the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation, First Fridays at Heritage Square takes place this Friday, Feb. 5 from 6-10 p.m. If you’d like to see some of Sean’s work, check out his upcoming show at the Ice House, Feb. 27 and 28, which features his fine art photography and the paintings of Taylor Swick.
[Editor’s Note: You can read the First Fridays in Heritage Square blog here.]