Vision Gallery: The Phoenix Fridas

Dear Students,

Last year I got to know the Phoenix Fridas art collective when I visited their exhibition at the Vision Gallery in Chandler, AZ. I marked my calendar because they are coming back. Their art is varied, vibrant and best of all, free. I love that we live near Chandler, a community that does a magnificent job of closing the gap in our arts education by giving space to local artists and making art accessible.

The Phoenix Fridas are returning to the Vision Gallery

I Paint My Own Reality: An Artwork Installation by the Phoenix Fridas

Exhibition Dates: June 15 – August 3, 2012
(text copied from The Vision Gallery, Chandler AZ)

Artist Salon:
Friday June 15 6-8 PM – Our Inspiration: The Phoenix Fridas Artwork Tour and Gallery Talk

Ask a dozen people to describe what they saw during an event and you may get 12 different answers.

That idea is embodied in the upcoming Vision Gallery exhibition, “I Paint My Own Reality: In Frida’s Garden,” which features the Valley’s well-known Latina art collective, The Phoenix Fridas.

Kahlo spent many hours enjoying the gardens at La Casa Azul, interpreting the natural world around her through her personal filter, which was colored by passion and pain. Butterflies, flowers and wild creatures were a normal part of Kahlo’s surrealistic vision of the world. In “I Paint My Own Reality,” the Fridas created their own personal interpretations of the natural and supernatural.

The Fridas will share their inspiration for works in the show during an Artist Salon and then will put a twist on historical Mexican recipes during a weekend cooking demo. Two workshops for Vision Kidz are scheduled to teach craft making. Best of all, a birthday party to honor Frida coincides with the late artist’s birthday in July.

I love the unibrow!

Come celebrate with Vision Gallery and The Phoenix Fridas!

Photo from Phoenix Frida website page…love the intricate beading

Get Cookin’ with the Phoenix Fridas – Saturday June 16, Learn to cook historical Mexican recipes, $30 per person, (call for reservations)
Vision Kidz Workshop, Saturday June 23 – 10 am & 1 pm
Terra-Cotta Birdbath Workshop with Carmen Guerrero (call for reservations)
Vision Kidz Workshop, Saturday June 30 – 10 am & 1 pm
Reverse Glass Painting Workshop: Emily Costello (call for reservations)
Frida’s Birthday Party!, Saturday July 7, 12 pm – 4 pm Meet the Phoenix Fridas and celebrate the life of Frida Kahlo. A celebration not to be missed, children’s activities and live performances. Free Admission.

Photo from The Phoenix Frida Facebook page

The Phoenix Fridas were voted 2009 winners of Phoenix New Times’ “Best Heroine Worship” category; the women also won the New Times’ “Best Art Collective” in 2007. Both citations are dear to the hearts of the art collective. The women, who take creative inspiration from the life of famed Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, each use the late artist’s name to create a personal crafty moniker. The Phoenix Fridas are Kathy Cano Murillo, Emily Costello, Anita Mabante Leach, Carmen Guerrero, Michele Delgado, Ana Lisa Rios, Gloria Martinez, Monique Sanderson-Mata, Veronica Verdugo-Lomeli and Diana Calderon.

Photo from Phoenix Frida Facebook page

Warm Regards,
Mrs. Kenney

Visit The Phoenix Fridas on Facebook, follow @PhoenixFridas on Twitter or online at:

Visit the Vision Gallery in Chandler, Arizona

10 East Chicago Street
Chandler, AZ 85225

Hours of Operation:
M – F 10am – 5pm
Sat 10am – 4pm

free parking/free admittance


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.