The focus of the local arts scene is First Friday, an art walk that took off in 2003 and continues to flourish; it draws thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds to downtown Phoenix on the first Friday of the month from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The action centers on Roosevelt Row, a stretch between 7th Street and Central Avenue that holds galleries, restaurants, and shops (and also livens up the more sparsely populated Grand Avenue, between 7th Street and 15th Avenue). Roads aren’t technically shut down, but they may as well be, given the crowds, which are as dense inside the galleries as they are outside. Since all those bodies make it difficult to view works on display, the neighborhood now sponsors Third Friday receptions. The social street fair atmosphere isn’t as prevalent on Third Fridays, but artists and gallerists host wine and cheese receptions, and the air still feels festive. Must-sees on Roosevelt include a quirky collective called Five15 arts (515 E. Roosevelt Street; (602)256-0150; www.515arts.com), the more sophisticated eye lounge (419 E. Roosevelt Street; (602)430-1490; www.eyelounge.com), and Pravus (501 E. Roosevelt Street; (602)334-6299; www.myspace.com/pravusgallery). On Grand Avenue, venture to Trunk Space (1506 Grand Avenue; (602)256-6006; www.thetrunkspace.com), Perihelion Arts (1500 W. Grand Avenue; (602)462-9120; www.perihelionarts.com), and Bragg’s Pie Factory (1301 Grand Avenue; (602)391-4016).
Tip: These are independent art spaces, so call first to be sure they’re open.