Art for the Masses

Thunderbird Art Works sets up shop in Elevate Coffee Co.

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski

Thunderbird Art Works is revving up to collaborate with North Phoenix businesses to show pieces by area artists. 

The program begins Friday, July 12, with the goal of bringing art out of the studios in which it is created and into public spaces. 

We’re really excited,” says Kait Ahlschwede, Phoenix Center for the Arts advancement manager. Thunderbird Art Works falls under the center’s umbrella. “The Thunderbird Art Works is finishing its third year. We’re excited to partner with different corporate partners around the area.”

Earlier this spring, students and instructors from Thunderbird Arts Center submitted their artwork to a juried competition. David Elliot, Nancy Price, Nik Ridley and Ed DuBrow were the selected winners. 

The following are the pairings of businesses and artists: David Elliot with Elevate Coffee Co. (2530 W. Happy Valley Road, Suite 1273), Nancy Price with Natalino Italian Restaurant (610 E. Bell Road) and Nik Ridley and Ed DuBrow with Thunderbird Arts Center (1106 E. Grovers Avenue).

The opening reception, set for 6 to 8 p.m., are free and open to the public at each location. Businesses will offer special promotions and discounts at their respective receptions.

“We had been aware of Elevate for a while,” Ahlschwede says. 

“When we walked into Elevate and saw local art from kids, we could tell right away they valued having public art in their space. It was very organic. It started with me stopping in for a chai latte.

“It’s a win-win for everyone. It gives our students and people a place to submit their work. It makes for a good relationship with businesses.”

Joseph Benesh, director of Central Arts Alliance, mirrored what she says. 

“The instructors and students have an opportunity to display and possibly sell their art,” he says. “Businesses have a chance to show their support for the local community, possibly attract new customers, and certainly liven up their walls. Meanwhile, Thunderbird Arts Center gets to showcase the quality and breadth of its instructional offerings.”

The artworks will be available for purchase beginning July 15 on the Thunderbird Arts Center website, thunderbirdarts.org. Artwork will be on display at each location until the closing reception on 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, September 13.

“We’ve put a lot of work into this,” she says. “We started talking about this over a year ago. We finally just started thinking about this and drafting the best version we can.”

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