Downtown Chandler: Vision Gallery and Parking Garage Inspiration

What do Art Galleries and Parking Garages have to do with each other? How do they merge into a perfect cocktail of 21st century design wonder? I love it when my random reading meshes with my random wandering. Let me tell you how it all began.

I returned to the Vision Gallery this week to see the work of Corrine Geertsen a local artist who uses family pictures and creates quirky narratives. If you like to research family history and have access to old family photos she might inspire you. Her work is a creative twist using old pictures juxtaposed with fancy. Visit her exhibit through January 28. If you miss her, follow her blog online and catch a future show. I think her blog is fabulous, I showed my library kids. They were all over it.

I think it is super important to cultivate a design sense in my kids and keep an ongoing conversation about the world around them. What is the intention here? Why did they use this material? What would you change?

First Fridays in Phoenix are full of opportunity if I can manage it. Getting downtown to take advantage of First Friday art events introduces too many logistical challenges for me. The crowds, parking, time commitment and if all does not go well, the retreat are too prohibitive for me to consider these days. I sound like a Debbie Downer but the evening 40 minutes drive with my kids, busy sidewalks and pop in and out of places that they can’t touch and might wander off is frustrating for them and fraught for me. My home run art solution is like all my other home run solutions: Short drive + accessible + free + quality programming. That said, I will go. I just haven’t gone yet.

No such barriers exist for the Vision Gallery. When I attempt an ‘adult” event I have 30 minutes before it becomes a bad idea. I don’t want to blow my 30 minute window walking/parking/waiting. I need instant gratification. The free parking is immediately outside the Gallery. If you go during a weekday, the gallery is seldom crowded. If the streets are full the parking garage is not AND the parking garage is awesome and twenty feet from the door of the gallery. It has a multistory fountain that roars and drops the temperature ten degrees just by standing near it. If you are a Phoenix native you know that is irresistible. I tell the boys, first we go to the gallery then we can run the steps of the parking garage.

The Gallery is a rectangular shaped room full of paintings, sculpture, jewelry, bead work and my favorite a cleverly constructed quilt “A Rainbow in the Dark” by Mary Beth Bella. No photography permitted. You can see everything in 20 minutes. If you linger of course you will enjoy it more but it is possible to treat yourself with a short stroll through the gallery. The gallery has free programming for children. It is open M-F 10 to 5 and Saturdays 10 to 4. Holiday times vary, check the website before you visit.

Now let’s take a minute to talk about parking garages. This week the Wall Street Journal (which I get delivered daily tyvm) featured the hot concept in parking garages as A Sleek Chic Hangout. Brilliant, and just the thing to show my budding builder/designers. The city hall area around Vision Gallery is modern, beautiful and speaks to past prosperity. I feel like we benefited from the pre-recession largesse in the public parks and buildings in Gilbert and Chandler. Take a stroller around the block. Pack some bubbles and climb to the top story of the parking garage, blow bubbles, enjoy the sound of the rushing water and dream up your own parking garage castle.

Parking garage next to Vision Gallery

I sent Corrinne a picture of my Uncle Ray... I wonder if it will inspire her. Check out her blog and share a family picture with her.


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