5. Mary Stephens

Categories: 100 Creatives

When we last put the spotlight on 100 creative forces in Phoenix, it was no secret there were more than 100 individuals who were making waves in the local arts community. So in celebration of our Best of Phoenix issue, we're profiling 100 more. Welcome (back) to 100 Creatives.

Mary Stephens, photo by Chandra Narcia

Mary Stephens is the owner of the Hosteling International - Phoenix Hostel and Cultural Center in Downtown, and the producing director for ASU - Performance in the Borderlands.

Most of her work centers on cultural exchange, whether through the travelers that come through her door, or in the productions she directs and produces that address issues or race, gender, and class. In these various expression of her work she collaborates with local artists and culture leaders to create vibrant spaces of idea exchange. When she is not working, she is either cleaning up empty lots, or traveling abroad.

photo by Nuvia Enriquez
Mary Stephens at a Performance in the Borderlands event
I came back to Phoenix ... after finishing my grad work in International Peace and Conflict Resolution. I had been living in DC and working abroad with international development, and felt the need to come back to Phoenix to finish my PhD. In that time, my mother retired after 21 year of running the only hostel in Phoenix, and I decided to continue the tradition of hosteling and add the cultural center aspect to the hosteling idea. I modeled the hostel after the "casa de la cultura" in Mexico City, which are artistic cultural hubs for everyone.

I am a person of ... ideas and thought, and art reminds me of the possibilities in life. I feel art exposes us to the miraculous, and transforms the everyday into something profound. I create, or produce work, that can stand as an example of a way of being in the world that is collaborative and ethical, and invites critique and provocation. Also, at a very basic level, I am in awe of many artists, so my work as a producing director provides a base for artistic collaboration with those I admire!

Inspiration wall includes ... prints by Oswaldo Guayasamin, my dad's paintings, collected stones from around the world, books by Eduardo Galeano/Khalil Gibran/Jeff Chang, books of theory, and my favorite quote, "By your stumbling the world is perfected" - Sri Aurobindo

I am productive when ... I have to build an idea from scratch. I am on motivation steroids most of the time, so productivity comes easily.

photo by Eric Leifer
Phoenix Youth Hostel and Cultural Center
I've learned a lot from ... my parents (who I love and admire immensely) and the difficulty of traversing the generational divide on a tightrope through family. I have learned a lot from those worldly people that come through my door every morning exploring the world. Professionally, Performance in the Borderlands has been a gold mine of lessons!

"Good work" is ... only as good as the dialogue it generates about ethics.

The creative scene in Phx would benefit from ... paying artists, period. If you are an institution (big or small), PAY artists, no excuses. More radically, the Phx scene would benefit from more meaningful collaborations which comprehensively include people of color, Spanish/English visioning processes, listening, and shared resources.

The Creatives, so far ... (And while you're here, check out 100 Tastemakers on Chow Bella.)

100:Lara Plecas
99. Isaac Caruso
98. Brandon Gore
97. Kelsey Dake
96. Hector Ruiz
95. Caroline Battle
94: Jennifer Campbell
93. Jeff Chabot
92. Tiffiney Yazzie
91. Daniel Germani
90. Irma Sanchez
89. Daniel m. Davis
88. Kirstin Van Cleef
87. Emmett Potter
86. Sarah Hurwitz
85. Christine Cassano
84. Fred Tieken
83. Lindsay Kinkade
82. Ruben Galicia
81. Robert Uribe
80. Heidi Abrahamson
79. Josephine Davis
78. Travis Ladue
77. Taz Loomans
76. Mikey Jackson
75. Alex Empty
74. Joe Ray
73. Carol Roque
72. Daniel Funkhouser
71. Carla Chavarria
70. Hugo Medina
69. Cavin Costello
68. Claire Carter
67. Lindsay Tingstrom
66. Catherine Ruane
65. Christopher Crosby
64. Aaron Johnson
63. Brenda Eden
62. Colton Brock
61. Ernesto Moncada
60. Benjamin Phillips
59. Brad Armstrong
58. Angela Hardison
57. Tyler Quinn
56. Andrew James Benson
55. Charles Anthony Darr
54: Tiffe Fermaint
53. Eric Cox
52. Victor Vasquez
51. John Randall Nelson
50. Lauren Lee
49. Kyle Jordre
48. Julie C. Kent
47. Sean Deckert
46. Niba DelCastillo
45. Joseph Benesh
44. Ashley Harder
43. Dan Vermillion
42. Daniel Shepherd
41. James B. Hunt
40. Lori Fenn
39. Seth Gideon Fainkujen
38. Wayne Rainey
37. Christian Filardo
36. Melissa Cody
35. Jason Rudolph Peña
34. Cindy Iverson
33. Ryan Gentry
32. Sebastien Millon
31. Andrea Beesley
30. Chris Pruitt
29. Robert Diehl
28. Rachel Malloy
27. Jonathan Simon
26. Ann Morton
25. Kim Moody
24. Kevin Flanagan
23. Such and Champ Styles
22. Julia Fournier
21. Rebecca Green
20. Jules Demetrius
19. Averian Chee
18. Sara Cochran
17. Daniel Mills
16. Nina Miller
15. Robert Brandan Martinez
14. Rachel Bowditch
13. Ashley Macias
12. Eddie Sparr
11. Bob Roman
10. Melinda Bergman
9. Emily Stergar
8. Tomas Stanton
7. Becky Nahom
6. Jordon Roberts

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