(above) PBS/Arizona Horizonte '26 Blocks' special (produced by Brilliant Sky Media)
2009 - 2012: An Experiment Explodes
Take 26 Phoenix metro photographers + 26 Phoenix metro writers + 26 randomly selected downtown Phoenix city blocks. Challenge each writer/photographer team to collaborate on their assigned block. Task them with producing one photograph and 500 words or less about that block. Allow artists to work in any genre to capture the history, present culture, or imagined future of their block. Give them all one month, March 2010. Task sculptor/painter Rafael Navarro with all 26 city blocks. Give him 26 small wood cubes and six months (the length of the whole project) to transform those 4" cubes into sculpture that captures the essence of the 26 blocks. Produce the artists work as an art exhibit, sponsored and manufactured by Scottsdale-based Artisan Colour. Unveil ’26 Blocks’ on May, 7, 2010 at After Hours Gallery. Celebrate as over 1,000 people attend that night from word-of-mouth promotion. Create a 14-month to all the major downtown Phoenix galleries. Include some unconventional locations like the then newly built Cityscape, Burton Barr Phoenix Public Library, and the UofA Medical Campus (downtown Phx). By July 2012, more than 500,000 people had experienced ’26 Blocks’ !
2015 - 2018
Thanks to the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel, the ’26 Blocks’ exhibit received a substantial financial upgrade to its look and now is a full-fledged gallery located in the hotel's lower lobby. This edition of 26 Blocks opened to the public on January 15, 2015 and can now be enjoyed by the public for free, 24/7/365, until (at least) January 2018. The upgraded edition of 26 Blocks features a bonus block ("The Renaissance Block”), with a new writer, photographer, and a new scultpure. A graphic designer, Travis Fetting, has also been challenged to create 26 postcard-sized illustrations based on concepts being created by 26 Blocks creator and director, Joey Robert Parks. The illustrated postcards are being added to the downtown Phoenix gallery wall map and will form a single piece of art when complete. Stay tuned for new 26 Blocks events and exhibit enhancements over the course of the installation.
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