Aaron Chamberlin Says Plans for Downtown Restaurant Include Knocking Out Exterior Wall -- and Sentrock's Mural
Last November, Joseph "Sentrock" Perez gave the now-defunct Downtown Phoenix Public Market a pretty sweet paint job, that you better check out in the next few days -- according to Aaron Chamberlin, who will open a farm-focused cafe in the space in 2013, the mural will be replaced by windows.
mural by Joseph "Sentrock" Perez, photo by Claire Lawton
"Trust me, we're huge fans of murals and public art in downtown Phoenix," says Chamberlin, who hired DOSE and Hector Ruiz to paint a mural on the inside of his uptown restaurant, St. Francis. "But the plans for the space include windows where the mural is now ... and I'm hoping to get the mural put back up at the end of the building."
But many members of the community voiced their concerns and dismay this afternoon after Sentrock posted a photo with a caption: "new owner has plans to go over my mural, sucks for me but also this citys [sic] art culture. If you know this guy, please tell him since he is destroying a mural, he should help see another one created. Lms if you agree!"
- Joseph "Sentrock" Perez on the Downtown Phoenix Public Market
- Downtown Phoenix Public Market Urban Grocery and Wine Bar to Close May 12; Wednesday/Saturday Market and Food Truck Friday Will Continue
- Aaron Chamberlin Will Open Farm-Focused Cafe in Urban Grocery Space
"This would not be right," wrote Natalie Morris, who worked at the Public Market and now runs Good Food Allies, on Facebook in a reply to Sentrock's photo. "It would be the last visual piece in removing what Cindy created through her market- community. I completely understand branding and moving on and moving forward. It's a part of growth. But also a part of growth is remembering who we were -- what we were founded on and what we have become because of it ... Too often, particularly in downtown Phoenix for some reason, we delete history, as if it means nothing. If this is true, I'm reaching out to the powers that currently be to, for once, use this mural as a starting point to begin making the right choice for this market and this space."
Murals by definition are ephemeral, and by law, they're up to the discretion of the building owner. In Phoenix, murals have taken off in the last few years, and as a result of their popularity, their protection and preservation has been called into question.
In September 2011, owners of the Paisley Violin moved out of their location on Grand Avenue, snatched a spot just a few blocks up, and -- to the overwhelming disappointment of the street art community -- painted a bright purple over a mural by El Mac. This Februrary, the same community raised questions when a group of volunteers attempted to preserve a mural by the late Rose Johnson, and when Carrie Marill repainted her mural after it was defaced on Roosevelt Row. Ultimately, building leaseholders change, artists move, murals fade (and are sometimes restored), and arts communities must weigh the reality and value of public art.
Sentrock is a well-loved artist in the local scene. Before moving to Chicago a few months ago, he founded The Rise Project, which provided urban educational programming to local youth and opened a temporary pop-up storefront on Roosevelt in the summer of 2011.
Joseph "Sentrock" Perez, featured in New Times' Big Brain awards in 2011
Last October, he submitted a mural design to a public contest by the market. His design was chosen by a panel of Downtown community members in October 2011 and was put up against a handful of designs by other local artists for popular vote. His design won, and Sentrock says it took a few days to sketch, plan, and paint the mural. At the time the mural was painted, market employees said the mural would be up for "a while."