When Legends Entertainment District announced it would be unveiling a "community building, six-story mural" on the west-facing wall of the Luhrs building, we grabbed our cameras.
The historic ten-story building at 11 West Jefferson street first opened its doors in 1924 and its red brick exterior has gone virtually untouched since.
A mural there would be a huge deal, and while the project's PR team at Steve LeVine Entertainment wasn't sure who was "painting," we had a few faces we would have liked to have seen on the scaffolds.
Instead, we arrived to see a six-story ... something. We weren't sure what to call it -- a wallscape? a banner? an installation?
And then we landed on it: an advertisement.
Legends Entertainment District is the marketing machine that was formed when the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Phoenix Suns partnered and snatched up outdoor space for visual campaigning last year.
Since, it's posted ads on more than 21 large-format visual displays/ads that have been installed, including multiple LED screens and the large, electronic display that runs 18 hours a day, 365 days a year on the corner of Jefferson and Seventh streets.
According to LeVine's reps, the ad for the Arizona Rattlers (the state's arena football team) is "textured wall surfaces vinyl" that will be up until December, when it's peeled off and replaced by another. "Less Field, More Football," the ad reads, along with a Rattlers logo and a phone number to call for tickets.
Which would all be fine and normal if they just stuck to "ad." (OK, and didn't send us a slew of press releases, emails, and phone calls about how a new, large-scale piece of art was on one of Downtown's historic buildings. They even included a timelapse video.)
Instead, the advertisements have been called murals, lively installations, and "another way to help energize the Legends Entertainment District" by Rattlers owner Ron Shurts. The banner and large screens have been noted as a "great way to bring people Downtown," and "bling" for downtown buildings by local media
Ultimately, art for ad's sake is nothing new, and neither are murals in Phoenix (for a back story, check out our feature on local murals in Tag, You're Art
). We've even seen big-name brands swoop in and claim city walls for large, painted advertisements for beer ... that at least semi-resembled artwork.
If you happen to be in the downtown area and want to see a community mural painted by local artists and community volunteers, we'd recommend you check out the one that went up over the weekend on the vacant lot next to monOrchid on Roosevelt and Third streets. Hey, you can even skip the sales pitch.