By last night, Friday evening, I was frazzled from a busy week and from our current atypical desert humidity. But I was determined to check out First Friday in central Phoenix, so I plotted out two galleries to see that I had never seen before.
First stop was Studio 6 at the Artery, 625 E. Indian School Road, which has a kind of upstairs-downstairs story. The bottom floor is a gallery space, currently showing a nice range of affordable art. I liked the music- and musician-themed watercolors and pastels by Barb McGuire, along with the foil-and-paint prints by Joan C. Thompson and the urban landscape photographs by Kent Corbin.
Upstairs, working at easels and welcoming visitors were Ann Osgood and Laura Cohen-Hogan, who chatted about the advantages of shared studio space and having the freedom to paint a variety of subjects and experiment with a variety of media. Both women enjoy plein-air painting, but last night Osgood was working on an abstract canvas and Cohen-Hogan was immersed in a figurative painting.
Also based at the studio are a photographer, an architectural illustrator and a couple of other painters.
I can’t believe the number of times I’ve passed this decades-old building on Indian School Road and not realized it’s been a home to artists for many years. Here are a couple of bonuses to visiting Studio 6 and the artists collective: There’s parking in the rear and the artists serve yummy cookies. Homemade cookies, in case you are still not sold.
The next stop was the new Gallery Michuta, a small space along Grand Avenue. I was there about 9 p.m. and was pleased to see a fair amount of foot traffic for First Friday on Grand, which sometimes seems to struggle against the competition from the hip Roosevelt Row of galleries.
Michuta, 1020 NW Grand Avenue, was showing paintings and drawings by J.A. Rist, which I found to be spooky and amusing at the same time. Rist gives her subjects cartoon-like, balloon-shaped faces yet manages to imbue the faces with melancholy emotions, especially around the eyes. You can see her work at ristpastels.wordpress.com