First Fridays

April 5, 2019: The LINKLETTER for April’s First Friday!

March 1, 2019: The LINKLETTER for March’s First Friday (Plus Detour Info!)

February 1, 2019: The LINKLETTER for February’s First Friday!

January 4, 2019: The LINKLETTER for January’s First Friday!

December 7, 2018: The LINKLETTER for December’s First Friday!

November 2, 2018: The LINKLETTER for November’s First Friday!

September 7, 2018: The LINKLETTER for September’s First Friday!

August 3, 2018: The LINKLETTER for August’s First Friday!

July 6, 2018: The LINKLETTER for July’s First Friday!

6-1-2018: The LinkLetter for June’s First Friday!

Friday, May 4th is the First Friday Art Walk!

New First Fridays Trolley Routes to Provide Better Access

Smaller, more direct routes to downtown-area art spaces begin Feb. 3, will also be available during Art Detour 29

To give visitors better access to the increasingly popular arts and culture offerings during First Fridays, Artlink Inc. redesigned the paths taken by free trolleys circling Phoenix’s central core into three routes.

The new routes will serve the Grand Avenue, Roosevelt Row/Central Arts and Warehouse/Downtown districts, and become effective on the next First Friday, Feb. 3. They will also be accessible during Art Detour 29, March 17-19.

All three will intersect at the Connector Hub at Arizona Center, 400 E. Van Buren St., where parking will be validated for the first two hours for First Friday patrons who ride the trolley. Four other hubs also familiar to First Friday patrons will continue to pick up and drop off passengers at the Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 N. Central Ave.; Oasis on Grand, 15th and Grand Avenues; Unexpected Gallery, 734 W. Polk St.; and CityScape, 1 E. Washington St.

See a map of the new routes at

Each trolley route offers a self-guided tour of the districts, allowing patrons to hop-on hop-off at the stops they choose. Volunteer docents staff the hub stops and the trolleys, providing information on the night’s arts and culture offerings.

The trolleys run from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. every First Friday, and each route will take about 20 minutes to travel it in its entirety. The trolleys, provided by Dunn Transportation, Artlink’s official transportation partner, have been serving First Fridays for several years.

“The new routes provide First Friday patrons a direct connection to each of the districts, allowing for more time in galleries and other art spaces,” said Artlink Board President Catrina Kahler. “The Connector Hub at Arizona Center allows for multiple experiences over the course of one night or multiple months. We appreciate the opportunity to support artist and art venues through the offer of discount parking on these busy nights in downtown Phoenix.”

Artlink volunteers will be present at the Connector Hub at Arizona Center to validate parking for up to two hours. The two-hour validation is valued at $6 and can be applied to standard parking rates for longer periods. Nearby metered parking is also available.

The routes are now permanent for all First Fridays and also will be accessible during Art Detour 29, Artlink’s annual multi-faceted exploration of the arts and culture of America’s sixth-largest city and its myriad art spaces. More details about Art Detour, March 16-19, will be announced at

Artlink trolley route map FEB FFAbout Artlink Inc.
Artlink keeps the arts integral to the development of our city by connecting artists, business and community. Artlink supports a variety of community-based art events, including complimentary Trolley Tours during the monthly First Friday Art Walk, one of the nation’s largest self-guided art walks; a pop-up gallery program; the Infusion arts initiative; and the annual Juried Exhibition, Art Detour, and Art d’Core Gala. Artlink is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and is supported by City of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture, Downtown Phoenix Inc., Arizona Commission on the Arts, Phoenix Art Museum, The Arizona Republic, Dunn Transportation, Roosevelt Row CDC, Warehouse District, Central Arts District and Historic Grand Avenue. Visit to sign up for the Artlink newsletter or connect socially on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

RELEASE: Artlink Invites Phoenix Artists, Arts Organizations and Businesses to Become Year-Round ‘Articipants’

Artists, organizations and businesses that contribute to the arts experience in greater downtown Phoenix will be featured during Art Detour, on First Friday maps and more.

Artlink Inc., the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that promotes the downtown Phoenix arts community, invites artists, arts organizations and businesses that contribute to Phoenix’s vibrant downtown culture to become Articipants. Those who sign up for Articipation are included in the promotion of Art Detour, First and Third Fridays and more throughout 2016.

Articipant-DefinitionWith Artlink’s Fourth Annual Art d’Core Gala (March 10, 2016) and 28th Annual Art Detour (March 19-20, 2016) approaching soon, now is the best opportunity for Articipants to sign up and make the most of their year-round Artlink benefits. Articipants receive a wide range of benefits based on different categories (Artists; Galleries/Art Spaces; Restaurants/Bars/Retail). Designed to help promote the artistic and cultural endeavors of participating Articipants, year-round benefits begin February 1, 2016 and continue through January 31, 2017.

NEW Performing Arts Categories of Articipation

Recognizing the value of downtown’s range of arts organizations, Artlink has expanded eligible categories of Articipation. Previously open only to the visual arts community, Artlink—for the first time in its near 30-year history—now invites performing arts organizations that contribute to downtown’s vibrancy to also become Articipants and benefit from year-round promotion.

“As downtown Phoenix evolves, so does Artlink,” said Artlink Board President Catrina Kahler. “We are excited to promote the full spectrum of arts and culture experiences accessible in downtown Phoenix.”

Articipants are Invited to Participate in Signature Events

Art d’Core Gala – NEW Co-Host and Venue! Held under the stars in Margaret T. Hance Park, this fourth annual celebration spotlights the significant contribution of the arts in creating a dynamic urban core. The Art d’Core Gala is held in partnership with the Office of the Mayor, City of Phoenix Office of Arts & Culture, City of Phoenix Parks & Recreation Department, Downtown Phoenix Inc., and the Hance Park Conservancy.

Art Detour 28: The event that helped launch the First Fridays Art Walk phenomenon, Art Detour provides the public with an opportunity to meet visual artists in their working environments. By encouraging conversation and inquiry, Art Detour helps educate and connect the public with the artists in their community. The annual event also provides the public the opportunity to see inside many of downtown Phoenix’s hidden and otherwise private creative spaces. It is named as “one of the most important events in Phoenix’s calendar” by City of Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton,

First Friday Trolley Tour: Over the past two decades, the First Fridays Art Walk has evolved into a major monthly celebration that draws anywhere from 12-20,000 people every month. Artlink publishes the official map of First and Third Fridays.

Artlink provides complimentary trolley service enabling the public to park and ride from four information hubs, and hop on or off at galleries along the way. As it circulates through downtown Phoenix, the trolley connects arts venues and districts including Phoenix Art Museum, Heard Museum, the popular Roosevelt Row and Grand Avenue arts districts, as well as CityScape and Arizona Center. Knowledgeable docents staff the trolleys helping to guide new and returning visitors.

Expanded Benefits

While Art Detour and the Art d’Core Gala remain signature events for Artlink, the organization’s programs have expanded to provide year-round promotional opportunities for downtown artists, arts organizations and arts spaces.

These opportunities include a Pop-Up Gallery program featuring exhibitions by local artists in unique and nontraditional public spaces; guided Downtown Art Tours that shine a spotlight on artists and galleries; an annual Juried Exhibition; and a variety of calls for artists throughout the year.

In addition, restaurants, bars and other downtown retail spaces benefit from year-round promotion on the Artlink Art Detour maps, First Friday maps, and the Artlink website, as well as additional promotional opportunities to be announced in coming months.

Artlink Ariticipant registration deadline is January 18, 2016. Full details on Articipant levels and benefits are available at

About Artlink Inc.

Artlink Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to linking artists, business and the public to better understand, appreciate and support a thriving arts community in downtown Phoenix. Artlink supports a variety of community-based art events, including complimentary Trolley Tours during the monthly First Friday Art Walk, one of the country’s largest self-guided gallery tour; Downtown Arts Tours, specially selected guided gallery tours; a year-round Pop Up Gallery Program featuring exhibitions in non-traditional spaces; the annual Juried Exhibition; the annual Art d’Core Gala, and the annual Art Detour self-guided tour, featuring open studios, pop-up galleries, family-friendly art experiences and more. Artlink’s year-round activities are supported by Downtown Phoenix, Inc., City of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture, CityScape, APS, Arizona Commission on the Arts, Phoenix Art Museum, The Arizona Republic, Phoenix Convention Center, Dunn Transportation, The Torosian Foundation, Valley Metro, City of Phoenix Aviation Department, Support Sky Harbor Coalition, Arizona Center, Downtown Voices Coalition, Downtown Phoenix Journal, Invexi Web Development, Simply Adam Mann, Roosevelt Row CDC, and the Grand Avenue Members Association. For more information, visit or connect socially on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Artlink Annual Meeting News

The board of Artlink Inc., the 501(c)(3) nonprofit behind the promotion of Phoenix’s monthly First Fridays Art Walk and the annual Art Detour, held its Annual Meeting on June 30, 2014.

The meeting was hosted by Phoenix Art Museum in Singer Hall. An estimated 80 people were in attendance, along with members of the Artlink Board and honored guests.

The Board Members present included: Catrina Kahler, Sarah Levi, Jill Bernstein, Phil Jones, Hugo Medina, Cole Reed, Kirby Hoyt, and Sally Russell. Board member Lisa Olsen was absent.


The meeting began with brief remarks by three guests: Jim Ballinger, Director of the Phoenix Art Museum, City of Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, and David Krietor, President & CEO of Downtown Phoenix, Inc.

Jim Ballinger, Mayor Greg Stanton and Dave Krietor.

  • Jim Ballinger spoke briefly on his 45-year tenure at the museum and the massive changes in the downtown art scene during that time. He graciously thanked Artlink for the long collaboration and establishing PAM as an essential trolley hub for First Friday visitors, and mentioned the Andy Warhol portrait exhibition coming to PAM next spring!
  • Mayor Greg Stanton thanked Jim Ballinger for his long and illustrious service to the arts in Phoenix; spoke to the importance of the arts being leaders in creating the increased vibrancy in downtown; briefly touched on some new city policies; and accepted the role of Honorary Chair for both the Art d’Core Gala (Feb 2015), and Art Detour 27 (Mar 2015).
  • David Krietor talked about Artlink, connectivity in downtown, and how both millennials and baby boomers are deciding to move downtown. On behalf of the Artlink board, and as a thank you for Downtown Phoenix Inc.’s support and partnership, Catrina Kahler and Sarah Levi presented to Krietor the original painting by Marina Rynning, entitled “Living in Color,” the inspiration for this year’s Art Detour poster art and theme.


Welcome a-board Hillary Foose and Stephanie Lieb!

The first order of business for the evening focused on the unanimous election of two Artlink board members:


What is an “Articipant?”

Artlink President Catrina Kahler defined the Articipant approach to how Artlink functions: artists, galleries, art spaces and retail spaces are invited to sign up as Articipants annually in conjunction with Art Detour.

When you become an Articipant, you get included on the Art Detour Map, along with EVERY First and Third Friday map throughout the year; and as an Articipant you are eligible to apply to participate in Artlink’s Pop-up program, ticketed tours, and other promotional opportunities that arise throughout the year.

Apply to be an Articipant. Click here to review the application.

First Friday Trolley Tour
Artlink Board Member Phil Jones updated attendees on the current route, which includes four Artlink park and ride information hubs:

In addition to thee Hubs, there are a number of other stops along the route where the public is encouraged to hop off and hop on to get the full range of downtown arts experiences available on a First Friday – or any Friday!

Future plans include additional trolley tour signage, and working with the Downtown Phoenix Partnership Ambassadors to create more engaging and interactive Hubs.

Downtown Phoenix Art Tours
Artlink Vice President Sarah Levi provided information on the transition of our ticketed tour program. Originally launched as the Artlink Collectors Tour in Fall of 2012, the program has evolved. As we are developing our relationship with downtown hospitality venues, including the Phoenix Convention Center, the program has re-calibrated its scope to reach a broader audience of participants, beyond those who self-identify as “art collectors.” The new name of “Downtown Art Tour” broadens the scope of what we offer and to whom, but will retain the curated element, to insure an in-depth experience of the arts for participants.

Pop-up Gallery Program
Sarah reviewed the successes of the pop-up in the CityScape lobby during Art Detour and the current call to artists for “Refresh” the second pop-up exhibition in that location. She also shared the success of our pop-up in conjunction with the Eight’s Check Please! Arizona Festival, and Artlink’s plan to get art into many different downtown venues.

Juried Exhibition
Board Member Sally Russell announced this year will be Artlink’s 16th Annual Juried Exhibition. Sally provided background on the past exhibitions and the strategy behind changing the date from spring to fall this year. She let attendees know that the Call to Artists for the show would be going out soon, and that the opening reception is scheduled for Thursday, September 4. Location at the time of the meeting was TBD. There are small cash awards for the winner(s).

Reinvent Phoenix Grant
Board Member Kirby Hoyt provided a quick overview of the three main activities covered under Artlink’s grant for this program, which is focused on areas along the light rail, beyond the downtown core.

Activity One – Introduced by Board Member Hugo Medina. This is a series of mural projects being done in conjunction with schools. Final decisions on all of the sites is still in process, however, one school – Crockett Elementary – has already taken part in the process and has a fabulous new mural done by the students in conjunction with the artist Hugo Medina.

Activity Two – Introduced by Artlink Secretary Jill Bernstein. This activity involves the creation of community specific art banners at three different light rail stations: McDowell & Central, Roosevelt & Central, and 12th & Jefferson. A Call to Artists has gone out (with a deadline of July 21) and the project will be completed in September. This is part of a way-finding strategy that will brand each neighborhood that surrounds the station, and invites people to explore.

Activity Three – Introduced by Catrina. This is another element of way-finding that has two distinct elements:

  • The addition of arts and culture destinations to the new maps at light rail stations. Artlink was a major contributor to this content.
  • The creation of additional site-specific web content pages on the Metro Light Rail site that will enable people visiting that station/neighborhood to go deeper and learn more about surrounding neighborhoods at approximately 10-12 stations between 19th Ave and Glendale and 12th Street and Jefferson.

Art Detour/Art d’Core Gala
Catrina shared the Artlink calendar for the year (available on the Artlink website), which includes planning committee dates beginning in September, known dates for calls to artists, and all Detour, Gala-related, and general Artlink deadlines through next June.

We will be presenting the Art d’Core Gala once again in February and the City of Phoenix and Downtown Phoenix Inc will partner with Artlink once again on this great event. Stay tuned for the confirmed date and location.

  • Kids’ Detour – we are looking for someone to spearhead this element of next year’s event to make it better and more visible.

Catrina introduced our new Artlink Volunteer Coordinator – Brooks Werner. He will be recruiting and organizing the volunteers that Artlink needs throughout the year:

  • Information table staffing on First Fridays
  • Tour Docents on First Friday Trolleys
  • Assisting marketing efforts for special events: flyering, etc.


Artlink Board Member Cole Reed, spoke to the importance of communication. There are so many strong programs, and we as a community need to spread the word to make them successful.

Thank you to everyone who turned out for our Annual Meeting! We appreciate your support and look forward to another great year linking downtown through the arts.

The 2014-2015 Artlink Board: (l-r) Cole Reed, Kirby Hoyt, Sarah Levi, Sally Russell, Jill Bernstein, Hugo Medina, Hillary Foose, Phil Jones, Catrina Kahler, Stephanie Lieb. Not pictured: Lisa Olson.

Special thanks to Andrew Pielage Photography!

Inspired Soles Art Show and Auction to Benefit Artlink

6th Avenue Gallery exhibition features stilettos like you’ve never seen them before 


Back by popular demand, the 6th Avenue Gallery is presenting the 2013 “Inspired Soles” art show and auction to benefit Artlink Phoenix. Featuring dozens of high heel stilettos transformed into works of art by local artists, designers and celebrities, the exhibition gives new meaning to the term “well heeled.” See for yourself when the show debuts at First Friday in April.


The “Inspired Soles” stiletto art show will be unveiled during a one-night event and auction presented by the 6th Avenue Gallery. The evening festivities include a live and silent auction, live music from Flavour,  gallery refreshments, mingling with the artists behind the shoes, and the opportunity to buy stilettos that are truly unmatched. By that, we mean the artistic creations are sold as single pieces, not pairs, although we can occasionally accommodate requests for a matching pair if the artist deems the design as wearable.  A portion of the proceeds will benefit Artlink Phoenix, a nonprofit organization dedicated to linking artists, business and the public to better understand, appreciate and promote a thriving arts community in central Phoenix.


6th Avenue Gallery, 650 N. 6th Avenue (basement level) in downtown Phoenix, 85003

  • First Friday Debut, April 5, 2013
    • Public Showing – 6 to 10 p.m.
    • Silent Auction – ends at 8:30 p.m.
    • Live Auction begins at 8:30 p.m.
  • Inspired Soles stiletto art show will be open for private events and by appointment through April.


For more information, visit


“Inspired Soles” is the brainchild of BJC Public Relations (BJC) and Torres Marquez Communications (TMC), two power house public relations agencies that are celebrating their three year anniversary as marketing partners. There’s no better or more appropriate way for these two predominantly female agencies to celebrate the anniversary of a match made in heaven!

Arizona Center Gallery Hosts Detour Anniversary Preview with Fred Tieken

Phoenix Obliq Art Gallery Hosts First Friday’s Event for the 25th Anniversary of Art Detour

Downtown Phoenix’s Obliq Art gallery will honor the upcoming Artlink Phoenix’s 25th Anniversary of Art Detour with a special gallery showing of acclaimed contemporary artist Fred Tieken. Tieken, along with the paintings of Richard and Michele Bledsoe, will be at the Arizona Center art gallery from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. on Friday, February 1, 2013.

Tieken’s original painting titled, “The Artist,” has been chosen as the official visual of Art Detour 25 (see it here!), and will be on display at Obliq Art during the February 1 event. This special First Friday showing of Tieken’s award-winning works will offer a preview to the upcoming 25th Annual Art Detour on March 2-3, 2013. Husband and wife artists Richard and Michele Bledsoe, along with the music of Kimberly Steele will also take part in the celebratory evening of local art.

Larry Ortega, owner of Obliq Art at the Arizona Center, whom also serves as the center’s commercial real estate broker said, “We are delighted to have Fred Tieken show at our downtown Phoenix gallery. Obliq is honored to serve the local community with outstanding art and artists such as Tieken and the

Committed to the downtown community, Arizona Center is actively catering to the local business and art scene with unique shops and venues such as the gallery. Obliq, the contemporary urban “pop up” gallery space, promotes Arizona and Phoenix artists and connects local art with the emerging art scene of
downtown. With Tieken’s works and “Changing Lanes,” the art of husband and wife team Richard and Michele Bledsoe, the event showing at the Arizona Center for February’s First Friday offers a unique opportunity to Valley art lovers to meet the artists personally during their exhibit event.

The historic 25-year Art Detour celebration will look back at the history of the art scene in downtown. The celebration will kick off with an opening Silver Gala on Saturday, February 23 at the A.E. England Building in Downtown’s Civic Space Park. The Art Detour weekend (March 2-3) will feature a broad array of open studios and galleries, Kids’ Detour activities, and free trolleys.

Fred Tieken and “Changing Lanes” by Richard and Michele Bledsoe are free and open to the public on February 1, 2013 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Obliq Art in Arizona Center, 455 N. Third Street, Phoenix, AZ 85004.

More About Arizona Center:
Arizona Center is owned by CommonWealth REIT, a real estate investment trust, or REIT, which primarily owns office and industrial properties located throughout the United States. The property is managed by Reit Management & Research LLC, Real Estate Services. For more information about Arizona Center, visit For leasing inquiries, contact Larry Ortega at 602-222-5019.

About Fred Tieken:
Before he first put brush to canvas, Fred Tieken had enjoyed successful careers as both a musician and graphic designer.

For more than 30 years, he was principal designer and creative director of his internationally recognized graphic design firm. During that time he received over 200 design awards and, in 1999, he was named one of the top 50 art directors in the world by Art Direction magazine. Prior to his career in design, Fred
was a prolific musician and producer, releasing numerous albums and singles that are still in demand by collectors. His music has been featured on compilation albums, both in the United States and Europe.

Fred’s abstract contemporary and figurative paintings have received critical acclaim and enthusiastic coverage from the media. His paintings come from the heart and tell the story of his life experience.

Fred created his first public work of art in March 2012, when he was commissioned to create the art for a 126-foot-long mural located two blocks west of Phoenix Art Museum at Third Avenue and McDowell Road in Phoenix, Arizona. Since 2010, Fred’s paintings have been featured in more than twenty juried
exhibitions and one-man shows in Arizona and California. For more information about Fred Tieken, visit

About Richard Bledsoe:
A painter of parables and fables, Richard Bledsoe’s original art pursues a spiritual energy represented as patterns, animals or figures of power. Images presented as flashes or inspiration, complete a visualization for each of the artist’s work.

About Michele Bledsoe:
As a self-taught artist, Michele Bledsoe illustrates her own private symbolism cultivated in isolation, allowing her to spontaneously develop her own vision. Bledsoe’s work is the result of a lifetime love of creating pictures, and intimately works every inch of the canvas with small, exact strokes, layering colors
and incorporating texture, wood grain, crumbling stone, twisting ribbon and curling leaves.

For more information and the works of Richard and Michele Bledsoe, visit

Inspired Soles Art Show and Auction to Benefit Artlink


6th Avenue Gallery exhibition features stilettos like you’ve never seen them before

That’s the question that the predominantly female crew behind the 6th Avenue Gallery posed to artists and designers to solicit participation in “Inspired Soles” Art Show and Auction. The response has been nothing short of sensational – but don’t take our word for it. Come see for yourself when the 6th Avenue Gallery debuts its exhibition on First Friday in April. Featuring dozens of high heel stilettos transformed into works of art, along with a provocative photo collection of women wearing their favorite power stilettos, this show is sure to validate what Marilyn Monroe and women everywhere have long known to be true, “Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world.”

The “Inspired Soles” stiletto art show will be unveiled during a one-night event and auction presented by the 6th Avenue Gallery. The gallery’s grand opening celebration in downtown Phoenix will be done in style, complete with food trucks, music, and just enough twinkle lighting to check out the undoubtedly inspired soles of those who attend this event. Bring your wallet because every stiletto featured in the “Inspired Soles” exhibition will be sold to the highest bidders. Proceeds will benefit Artlink Phoenix, a nonprofit organization dedicated to linking artists, business and the public to better understand, appreciate and promote a thriving arts community in central Phoenix.

6th Avenue Gallery, 650 N. 6th Avenue (basement level) in downtown Phoenix, 85003

•    First Friday Debut, April 6, 2012

      – Public Showing – 6:30 to 10 p.m.

      – Silent Auction – 6:30 to 8 p.m.

•    Inspired Soles stiletto art show continues on the third Friday in April, and by appointment

For more information, visit

“Inspired Soles” is the brainchild of BJC Public Relations (BJC) and Torres Marquez Communications (TMC), two power house public relations agencies that are celebrating their recent move into a newly renovated downtown Phoenix building owned by BJC. The agencies put their heads together and determined that a show featuring stilettos designed by Valley artists was an appropriate way for two mostly female PR firms to celebrate their new digs, and thriving multicultural marketing partnership.

First Friday is here, Feb. 3!

On Friday, February 3, there will be much happening throughout the art venues in downtown Phoenix. Visit our city’s various arts districts with great spaces and amazing art. Park at the Phoenix Art Museum at Central Avenue and McDowell Road and ride the complimentary shuttles (or ride light rail, take your bike, pedicab, taxi, or walk).