Release: John Randall Nelson Art Selected for 27th Annual Art Detour

Winning Art Submission by John Randall Nelson Invites a Closer Look at the Arts Downtown


John Randall Nelson’s “Happy, Sad”

Art Detour, the event that helped launched downtown Phoenix’s First Fridays Art Walk phenomenon, returns for its 27th year on March 7 and 8, 2015. The two-day celebration invites the public to take a closer look at the artists and art spaces that fill downtown with vibrant, creative energy.

In the search for an image to represent this year’s celebration, Artlink issued a call for artists to submit artwork that would “create excitement and embody the sense of discovery and intimacy the public experiences when visiting private working studios and art spaces.” More than 40 artists submitted a striking range of work. An artwork submitted by John Randall Nelson entitled “Happy, Sad” was the final choice. His nuanced, layered, multi-media piece invites the viewer to look closer and discover what lies beneath the first impression.

Nelson is an MFA graduate of Arizona State University’s Herberger School of Fine Arts, his folk art inspired works have been exhibited and collected both nationally and abroad. A sculptor as well as a painter, he has completed commissions for clients as diverse as, the National Endowment for the Arts, the United States Postal Service and the Perrier Corporation of Paris, France. His work is represented by Gebert Contemporary in Arizona and he is a current member of Eye Lounge Artist Collective on Roosevelt, in Phoenix. More work can be viewed at

“It’s a thrill to have my artwork chosen to represent Art Detour 27,” said Nelson upon hearing that his work had been chosen. “It’s a great annual event that invites everyone to discover the wonderful range of artists living and working in downtown Phoenix. I’m honored to have my image represent that experience this year.”

“I love John’s whimsical, pop art style,” said Sarah Levi, Artlink Vice President. “And I am a sucker for pattern, which he has so brilliantly tied together with other objects. He’s created a visual narrative with layers that really invite you to look at what is beneath the surface.”

A Weekend Arts Festival

Art Detour will coincide with March First Friday, resulting in a weekend chock-full of arts related tours, exhibits and activities. “Detour-ists” will be invited to visit galleries and artist studios, learn about public art and murals from artist and knowledgeable docents, and much more.

A shuttle will circulate throughout downtown, making stops at neighborhood “Hubs” in Roosevelt Row, Grand Avenue and more, where music and performance art will provide a unique opportunity to explore Phoenix’s art scene in a fun, festival environment.

Schedule of Events:

2/21 – The Art d’Core Gala – a festive party at Crescent Ballroom to celebrate all the ways that artists make our downtown exceptional

3/6 – Pre-Detour First Friday. March First Friday is typically one of the most popular of the year.

3/7 & 8 – Self-guided studio and art space tours. A map and shuttles will guide visitors to the open art stops.

Art Detour is free and offers programming appropriate for all ages.

About Art Detour Art Detour is an annual free, two-day, arts festival and self-guided tour of artist studios, art spaces, galleries and other art venues in downtown Phoenix organized by Artlink, Inc. in cooperation with the participating venues. Art Detour draws thousands of enthusiastic arts supporters each year providing a unique cultural experience for people new and not so new to the downtown Phoenix Arts Community. The launch of Art Detour preceded and brought about the creation of the now-famous First Fridays Art Walk.

About Artlink

Artlink, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to linking artists, businesses 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 First Fridays Art Walk, one of the country’s largest self-guided gallery tour; Downtown Arts Tours, specially selected guided gallery tours; the year-round Pop Up Gallery Program; an 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, 12 News, City of Phoenix Aviation Department, Support Sky Harbor Coalition, Gammage & Burnham, Attorneys at Law, Arizona Center, Downtown Voices Coalition, Downtown Phoenix Journal, Invexi Web Development, Simply Adam Mann, Roosevelt Row CDC, and the Grand Avenue Merchants Association.