Art Detour 24: Sure, it Was Better Than Last Year, But Artlink Still Needs to Rethink Its Relevance After 24 Years

photo by Claire Lawton
The Art Detour bus ...
During Art Detour, Artlink spends most of its small budget on producing a map (that's carried in the Downtown Phoenix Journal), creating and hanging banners and yard signs, and hiring trolleys.

This year, the organization wrangled a few double-decker buses carrying signs "Phoenix to London" (which must have been an easy gig to grab on St. Patrick's Day).

But what if the organization refocused and instead used those funds to serve as a regularly updated resource for the community that supported great art shows that happen throughout the year instead of those that are crammed, forced, and slapped into one weekend?

What if it instead provided a volunteer base that could help galleries stay open during regular (or even semi-regular) business hours instead of celebrating the majority of galleries that decide to open their doors during the day -- for two days a year?

photo by Claire Lawton
Artwork by Ken and Robert Von Brott at The Hive
Or -- like we've said before and we'll say again -- what if it kindly recognized the achievements of the arts community within the last 24 years, celebrated the success of each arts neighborhood (Roosevelt, Grand, 16th Street, and Melrose come to mind), and took a much-needed curtain call?

There's nothing harder than volunteering, and there's a recognized challenge in attempting to herd a slew of artists and gallery owners into the stables to put their newest, best work on the walls for an annual event.

But if five or so of the 52 shows were stand-outs, and that's what the organization will continue drawing maps, hanging banners, and calling for the community members to see, then it will continue as a disservice to its community and to its artists.

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