The City of Phoenix essentially raided First Fridays this past Friday. As expected and fully supported by the gallery owners and artists, the police cracked down on parking and underage drinking. Instead, they showed up with 2 battalions of police some on horse back and some plain-clothes officers escorting Health Inspectors, Tax Collectors, Zoning Enforcement and Fire Marshals. Galleries were cited for various infractions with only 1 week to comply. Many of the galleries that have been around for 5-20 years have policed and cleaned up that area themselves with no City assistance, but now that corporations and building developers are interested in this cool, funky area, artists are being treated like the clean-up crew that are no longer needed. I understand that there are problems with the galleries, but one would think the city would WORK WITH NOT AGAINST the gallery owners. Creative capital is just as important!!!! Why can't bureaucrats see that?
If you live in Phoenix call your representative and the mayors office. Let them know you want art to stay in downtown --- there are certainly more favorable cities that the artists could go to, then what will the City do, build another boring strip mall.