Posts tagged “arts and culture

From the 2020 Artlink Annual Meeting

Artlink’s Annual meeting was held online on Monday, June 29, 2020. The Artlink board welcomed over 80 attendees, including artists, arts advocates, and representatives of the City of Phoenix, galleries, performing arts, and other arts organizations.

Present Board Members: Rick Naimark (Chair), Sally Russell (Vice Chair), Hillary Foose (Secretary), Brittany Butler, Bentley Calverley, Rembrandt Quiballo, Dorina Bustamante, Liliana Gomez, Tricee Thomas, R.J. Price and Catrina Kahler (President/CEO).


The meeting opened with a welcome by Rick Naimark, who introduced an honored guest who is supporting Phoenix’s position as a proud Arts City, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego.

Mayor Gallego recognized Phoenix City Council’s support of the arts community through its recent Coronavirus relief funds. She highlighted the arts role in helping build a better Phoenix during these challenging times, and the more than $400 million in economic benefit the arts industry generates for the city. Mayor Gallego will continue to push Congress for support of the arts and thanked Artlink for its decades of service.

Board Elections

Artlink Board Secretary provided an overview of the election of the 2020-2021 Board of Directors. By unanimous vote, the Artlink board renewed the terms of three directors:

  • Rick Naimark: ASU, Associate Vice President for Program Development Planning
  • Rembrandt Quiballo: Visual Artist
  • Dorina Bustamante: True North Studio, Partnerships
  • Liliana Gomez: Artist/Choreographer

This rounds out the current roster of the Artlink board:

  • Sally Russell: Licensing Product Manager, Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation
  • Hillary Foose: Valley Metro, Communication and Strategic Initiatives Director
  • Brittany Butler: Artist/Oasis on Grand, marketing director
  • Tricee Thomas: Fashion Designer/The Garment League Founder
  • R.J. Price: Downtown Phoenix Inc., Chief Marketing Officer
  • Catrina Kahler: Artlink President/CEO

The board elected the following officers:

  • Rick Naimark: Chair
  • Sally Russell: Vice Chair
  • Hillary Foose: Secretary
  • Brittany Butler: Treasurer

On behalf of the board, Rick Naimark announced Bentley Calverley is stepping down from the board, and thanked her for her significant contributions to the organization.

Annual Report

Rick Naimark introduced Artlink President/CEO Catrina Kahler who provided an overview to the organization’s year of activity.

Art Detour
COVID-19 unfortunately affected Art Detour 32, typically a highlight of the calendar year, and took steps to move forward and support artists financially affected by the pandemic.

After initially launching an artist relief effort via The Artist Forward Fund (TAFF), Artlink partnered with other organizations to generate additional support to fundraise for artists.

Artlink thanks Arizona Arts Commission, Arizona Community Foundation, City of Phoenix, Arts Foundation for Tucson & Southern Arizona for their partnership in allowing the organization to contribute to an effort that generated more than $175,000 for artists. More support is needed. Please donate here.

Artlink’s Articipant program continues to grow, with a total of 748 annual registrations, representing a 42% from last year. This includes 700 artists from throughout Arizona, a 53% increase from last year.

Articipants are artists, arts venues, arts organizations and arts supporting businesses that contribute to our community.
Every registered artist is listed in directory, Arizona’s largest online artist directory. Artists can register here.

Partner Calls to Artists
Artlink seeks to create partnerships that link up and strengthen the community. In this effort, the organization facilitated and/or promoted calls to artists on behalf of partners, including the following:

  • Phoenix Art Museum (FOCA and Scult Award grants)
  • City of Phoenix/Downtown Phoenix Partnership (Giving Meters)
  • Block 23 (murals)
  • Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel/DPP (mural)
  • Miracle Mile on McDowell/PCA (mural)
  • Arizona Citizens for the Arts (Governor’s Arts Awards)
  • Wexford Science & Technology (wall and ceiling installations)
  • INFLUX (six Valley cities’ public art installations)

Partner Programs

  • Kimpton Hotel Palomar – ARTLAB artist studio/residency
  • FOUND:RE Phoenix – FOUND:RE Contemporary art program launched in February
  • Portland on the Park – In Residence pilot program facilitates the development of a permanent art collection for residential developments

Artlink Events/Initiatives

  • Artlink Artist Council – The AAC members are artists contributing to Artlink organization community, while creating a connection with emerging artists, as well as administration of TAFF grant for a selected artist exhibition (Diana Calderon)
    Art Detour – pivoted to promoting artists and Articipants
  • Gala – the artists continued with the exhibition while being cognizant of public health concerns. Artists were able to photograph their work and a video was produced to promote and honor the work. See the video here.
  • Park Central – Artlink’s new home, where the interdisciplinary art space, the mood room has become a key component of Park Central’s arts & culture plan in partnership with The Garment League. See the mood room here.
  • Make Music Day – introduced by Articipant Liaison Leslie Criger, MMD is June 21 each year where Artlink serves as Phoenix chapter and featured programming between 7a – 9p, largely working with musicians as part of virtual event and with local partnerships including Valley Metro and Heritage Square
    Future calls for Valley Metro Artsline artist program are upcoming—be on the lookout

Financial Report

  • Large beginning balance ($155,260), as we took in grant and sponsor money for a two-year period, with funds allocated to spend in this year, but limited by COVID. The bulk of this will be carried forward (total $104,751) to this upcoming year (projected ending balance $18,468) .
  • Partners like Park Central, Valley Metro and others will have artist calls in the coming weeks.
  • We are planning to hold Art Detour in the this spring. If this is not possible, we will do our best to adjust earlier in the year to avoid any unnecessary spending.
  • We hope to continue to take in grants and sponsorships with a number of significant artists calls planned for this year.


Any plans to bring First Friday back in any form?

  • Unfortunately, COVID will prevent Artlink’s hosting of trolley transportation on First Fridays. The organization is working to promote artists through the directory and their social media pages, and position PUG to support promotions.

When is the next call for Portland on Park?

  • The current exhibition runs through mid-October. The next call is coming in a couple of months.

Are there plans to add artist spaces at Park Central?

  • Yes, Artlink is ramping up efforts now with a local architecture firm to develop a new space. Keep an eye out for an upcoming survey.

Would Artlink be interested in a proposal for an art/talk/fashion show next year?

  • Yes, these cross-pollination of art forms are a focus. No one medium works in a silo, and we all benefit when they connect.

Why do police get more funding (than the arts)?

  • (Rick Naimark responding to a question posed earlier in the meeting) The city is trying to shift dialogue and funding—you’re seeing that. Glad there’s focus on this shift; art is something that people understand better than ever in terms of its healing power, promoting justice, etc. Artlink is a part of that dialogue.


Artlink thanks its staff, Articipants and volunteers and to you reading this recap and engaging in the arts and culture community. Special thanks to Articipant Liason Leslie Criger and Curatorial Programs Director Grant Vetter.

About Artlink Inc.

Artlink keeps the arts integral to our development by connecting artists, businesses, and the community. Founded as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization by artists in 1989, the Artlink name is a guiding principle for the organization as it supports the stakeholders of the arts and culture community, amplifying its collective strength. Visit to sign up for the Artlink newsletter or connect socially on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

From the 2017 Artlink Annual Meeting

Artlink’s 2017 Annual meeting was held on Wednesday, June 14, at Phoenix Art Museum. The Artlink board welcomed 110 attendees, including artists, arts advocates, and representatives of the City of Phoenix, galleries, performing arts, and other arts organizations.

Present Board Members: Catrina Kahler (President), Sally Russell (Vice President), Dan Clevenger (Secretary), Rick Naimark (Treasurer), Constance McBride (Arts Committee Chair), Hillary Foose, Bentley Calverley, Nicole Underwood, Margaree Bigler (PR Committee Chair), and Rembrandt Quiballo. Not present: Jerry Harper and Brittany Butler.


The meeting opened with a video introduction of Artlink, followed by a welcome from Artlink board member Margaree Bigler, representative of Phoenix Art Museum. Margaree introduced honored guest, Amada Cruz, Sybil Harrington Director and CEO of Phoenix Art Museum.

Amada congratulated Artlink on the pending 30-year anniversary Art Detour and lauded the hard work of community investment in the urban core over that time. Upon coming to Phoenix, she asked who “owned hip” in the Valley and it was very clear that it was downtown. The reason Phoenix Art Museum is thriving is because of all the hard work invested by those here; it takes this ecosystem of people to make a city great. The Museum is thrilled to be partners and looks forward to the next 30 years.

2017 Annual Meeting

Photo by Kyle Field.

Board Elections

Artlink President Catrina Kahler proceeded with the meeting, beginning with the election of the 2017-2018 Board of Directors. Thanks were given to past board members Jill Bernstein, Sarah Levi and Mark Scarp who stepped down from the board earlier this year. Bernstein had served on the board since 2011. The board thanks them for their significant contributions.

By unanimous vote, the Artlink board renewed the terms of three directors:

  • Constance McBride: Artist
  • Jerry Harper: Phoenix Convention Center, deputy director
  • Brittany Butler: Artist/Oasis on Grand, marketing director

This rounds out the current roster of the Artlink board:

  • Catrina Kahler, President: Urban Affair president and founder
  • Sarah “Sally” Russell: Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Associate Product Manager-Licensing
  • Dan Clevenger, Secretary: Westlake Reed Leskosky project designer/architect
  • Rick Naimark: ASU, associate vice president for program development planning
  • Hillary Foose: Valley Metro, communication and marketing director
  • Bentley Calverley: Bentley Gallery, owner
  • Nicole Underwood: Javelina, senior associate
  • Margaree Bigler: Phoenix Art Museum, marketing and communications manager
  • Rembrandt Quiballo: Artist

Annual Report

Catrina provided an overview to the organization statistics included in a “by the numbers” annual report that reflected the past year’s work of Artlink, an organization whose operations are managed by a volunteer board of directors. The report includes the number of Art d’Core Gala attendees (600+); the Juried Exhibition sales ($16K) and awards given to artists from Artlink ($7750); the growing number of Mixed Media attendees (150+); and the number of submissions to artist calls (471).

2017_Artlink_Infographics Annual Meeting

Click to enlarge.

The next Mixed Media Happy Hour will be scheduled in July.

The board expressed its gratitude to Downtown Phoenix Inc., for its partnership in printing First Friday maps.

Catrina introduced Artlink Treasurer Rick Naimark who reported on Artlink’s 2016-2017 finances. The emphasis on this year’s budget was on one-time investments that included Phoenix Urban Guide development and an updated brand and logo for the organization. The annual budget is approximately $75,000 to $80,000, much of which composed of sponsorships, grants and in-kind contributions. Articipant fees account for one percent of the budget. Artlink will be looking at ways to connect with organizations who are interested in connecting with artists.

The Artist Forward Fund (TAFF)

Catrina introduced the new TAFF program. Artlink allocated $500 to the initial grant and is looking to make a long term commitment to the fund and its growth.

As a step in this direction, it was announced that For the People owners, Shawn Silberblatt and Chad Campbell, agreed to sponsor the new program by matching this initial grant, bringing the total grant funds to $1000.

Catrina introduced Vice President Sally Russell and Arts Committee Chair Constance McBride. Sally spoke to the importance of TAFF as a means of supporting artists. Constance emphasized the need for the arts community to grow along with the city. TAFF represents a new way to support, and mentor, artists.

The Artlink Artist Council (AAC) was formed from a diverse group of established professional artists: Julie Anand, Joan Baron, Christine Cassano, Bill Dambrova, Peter Deise, Isaac Fortoul, Gabriel Fortoul, Frank Gonzales, Annie Lopez, William LeGoullon, Ann Morton, Joe Ray, Patricia Sannit, Randy Slack, Marilyn Szabo.

Constance introduced AAC member Joan Baron to announce the recipient of the first TAFF grant, Ashley Czajkowski. Ashley expressed her thanks and looks forward to the mentorship opportunity.

Annual Meeting Ashley

Left to right: Rembrandt Quiballo, Constance McBride, Shawn Silberblatt, Chad Campbell, Ashley Czajkowski, Joan Baron, Sally Russell, Christine Cassano. Photo: Kyle Field.

Phoenix Urban Guide (PUG)

Approximately 75% of the attendees were familiar with PUG. Catrina spoke briefly to the functionality of the site and the opportunity for both artists and arts destinations to upload their exhibition information. Artlink is partnering with the Phoenix Office of Arts & Culture on the development of the new calendar function, which will represent a single connected voice for the arts and culture community. Nicole Pasteur, representative of the Office of the Mayor, was in attendance and recognized for the City’s support of Artlink.

Art Detour 30

Artlink originated from the Art Detour event, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2018. It’s not just an event for the public; it creates connectivity and community within the arts and culture community.

The dates for Art Detour 30 will be on the Third Friday weekend in March 2018: The Art d’Core Gala will once again be an opening night event on Thursday, March 15; Friday through Sunday will be the “Detour”; and Monday/Tuesday will be a series of symposiums that will focus on artist career development and the intersection between the arts and the community at large.

Planning for the weekend Detour may evolve so that the event activity and promotion can be more focused. Each day presents an opportunity to focus on a specific district.

The 30 year logo was unveiled with an invitation to everyone to suggest topics for the symposiums planned for the event.

30th logo

A question was asked about trolley service during the weekend. The trolleys will likely run Friday through Sunday but the programming plan needs to further develop.

The goal of Art Detour 30 is to further establish Phoenix on the national arts and culture map. To do this, there is a need to focus on the quality of art, as well as the number of artists and the quantity of arts experiences.

A question was asked about the timing of Art Detour on the same weekend as Mesa’s Spark Festival. Artlink was pressed in recent years to maintain a consistent Art Detour weekend and committed to the Third Friday weekend. Artlink is interested in connecting Phoenix and Mesa, and finding a regional connection. Other comments referenced events such as Art Basel and Vivid that build energy and create geographical cohesiveness by connecting arts events happening in multiple areas of a city. Dorina Bustamante, representing Downtown Phoenix Inc., spoke to the opportunity to connect and become more of a national draw. Catrina confirmed that Artlink is open to collaboration.


Thanks to West Elm, a national retailer that supports local artists and is opening at Uptown Plaza, at Central and Camelback, on June 29. On June 28, there will be a pre-grand opening event and a portion of the proceeds with benefit Artlink.

Special recognition was given to Leslie Criger, who serves as operations support for Artlink, acting as Articipant liaison, and volunteer coordinator.

Artlink is making a commitment to pursue grants so that it may grow with energetic and skilled staff that will support the growth of the organization moving forward.

From the 2016 Annual Meeting

Artlink’s 2016 Annual meeting was held on Wednesday, June 1, and hosted nearly 100 attendees, including artists and arts advocates, and many representatives of galleries, performing arts, and other arts organizations.

Board Update

The Artlink board bid farewell to board members Stephanie Lieb and Phil Jones. Jones, the former executive director of the City of Phoenix Arts & Culture office, had served on the board since 2011, playing a critical role in Artlink’s recent growth. The board thanks them both for their significant contributions.

The Artlink board elected three new directors:

  • Mark Scarp: Heard Museum, communications manager
  • Margaree Bigler: Phoenix Art Museum, communications manager
  • Rick Naimark: ASU, associate vice president for program development planning

Four directors returned for a new term:

  • Jill Bernstein, Treasurer: Keep Arizona Beautiful, executive director
  • Dan Clevenger, Secretary: Westlake Reed Leskosky project designer/architect
  • Sarah “Sally” Russell: Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, staff
  • Hillary Foose: Valley Metro, communication and marketing director

This rounds out the current roster of the Artlink board:

  • Catrina Kahler, President: Urban Affair president and founder
  • Sarah Levi, Vice President: David & Gladys Wright House Foundation, board member/scholar in residence
  • Jerry Harper: Phoenix Convention Center, deputy director
  • Constance McBride: artist
  • Brittany Butler: Artist/Oasis on Grand, marketing director
  • Bentley Calverley: Bentley Gallery, owner
  • Nicole Underwood: Javelina, senior associate

Featured Speaker

Gail Browne, the executive director of the City of Phoenix Office of Arts & Culture, addressed the group, highlighting three areas of focus:

  1. Grants Program – Funding from NEA for “Neighborhood Arts,” small ($5k) grants for artists to work in specific communities, addressing a specific problem or need. The focus is on outlying areas, beyond the downtown core, working with urban villages.
  2. Public Art Program – Fry’s Food Store Murals. Call for proposals with an August deadline.  Visit the city’s website and Facebook for calls. Two more calls are pending for Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport.
  3. Professional Development – SAVVY workshops for artists and small organizations

Browne hosts a regular meeting of arts districts and representatives of city departments to discuss a number of items to improve First Fridays coordination and elevating the profile of arts and culture, including the idea of a marketing campaign, and the development of a centralized events calendar. The city is distributing an events calendar survey in partnership with Artlink. The city will also aid in the expansion of Art Detour, expanding its leadership role in partnership with Artlink.




Art Detour

Planning for Art Detour 29 and Art Detour 30 begins immediately. The format for the next two years of the event will change, beginning in 2017 with a four-day schedule kicked off by the Art d’Core Gala:

  • Thursday, March 16: Art d’Core Gala
  • Friday, March 17: Third Friday
  • Saturday, March 18: Art Detour 29 (Day 1)
  • Sunday, March 19: Art Detour 29 (Day 2)

Art Detour will evolve from a self-guided, unstructured format to a more scheduled program that will encourage even more participation from artists, arts venues and patrons. There will be a particular focus on working with artists to bring more patrons to their studios.

There will be an emphasis on producing a more interactive arts experience for patrons, focusing demonstrations and workshops. Artlink will continue working with Articipants to promote their destinations and respective activities. A cohesive marketing strategy will include an upgraded web presence and a map that reflects a scheduled program. An early start to the planning process will also allow for a more effective public relations plan.

A robust Art Detour 29 will set the stage for a special WEEK-LONG celebration of the 30th Anniversary of Art Detour in 2018. We will collectively work to develop this event as a showcase for Phoenix’s arts and culture, promoting Phoenix to a broader – national – audience. Every step taken over the next two years will be done with this ambitious goal in mind. What can Art Detour become?

Notes and next steps from Art Detour discussion:

  • Schedule a summer planning meeting for all Artlink Articipants.
  • Present studio tours as a unique part of Art Detour, and create scheduled tours to bring more visitors to the studios.
  • Examine the hours of Art Detour weekend and identify how to best program lunchtime and nighttime.
  • Promote the artist category of Articipation more consistently, so artists from outside downtown know they can participate.
  • Identify spaces where out-of-area artists can exhibit during Detour, including Parsons Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS and Gould Evans. Work with the business community to identify other spaces.
  • Work with Eco Cab on transportation and promotion opportunities.
  • Further promote

18th Juried Exhibition

The 18th Annual Juried Exhibition will take place on Thursday, September 15, 2016, at Heard Museum. The jury panel will be Nancy Hill, owner of Chartreuse Gallery, artist Fred Tieken, and Ann Marshall, Ph.D., the Heard Museum’s director of curation and education.

The Juried Exhibition will mark the first time Artlink will use Submittable, an online application platform. This will be used to build an on-going artist database, which will help Artlink help organizations and businesses looking for artists/artwork.

The schedule of the Juried Exhibition will likely change in the coming years, so that the 20th annual exhibition aligns with the 30th annual Art Detour.

First Friday Trolley Tours

Artlink currently runs three trolleys on a circulator route on First Fridays. The route was installed so that Artlink could better manage the hub stops and communicate a clear message to the public, so visitors know where to find stops consistently.

There have been recent requests to divide the route between a north and south route, and the attendees’ response to an informal survey was mixed. Artlink will hold further discussions about the route in the coming weeks. Thanks went out to David Krietor, Downtown Phoenix Inc. President/CEO, and his team for their support of First Fridays.

Phoenix Urban Guide (PUG)

Thanks to all Articipants who have been consistently updating their information on PUG. This has helped Artlink promote Articipant exhibitions and activities much more effectively on social media. Please contact Leslie Criger at with any PUG related questions.


A big thank you goes out to all who volunteer to support Artlink! The trolley guides, the hub stop information tables, set-up for events are all done by volunteers. These programs couldn’t happen without volunteer support. If you know someone who wants to volunteer for Artlink, visit


That’s a wrap! Thank you and stay tuned for an exciting year ahead!

Photo by Lauren Potter