Arizona ArtBeat: Saving the Ice House

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The Ice House, a unique art space and gallery in Phoenix’ warehouse district, is on the verge of closing due to financial challenges, but a group of local artists is trying to rescue the place. We’ll show you what they’re doing to help.

Ted Simons: On tonight's addition of "Arizona artbeat," we preview an art show taking place tomorrow at the ice house. It's a grassroots effort to save the one-of-a-kind Phoenix art space. Dave Majure has more.

David Majure: The building is a throwback to another era when refrigerators were powered with blocks of ice. Those frozen cubes were stored at fifth and Jackson in Phoenix. Dating back to 1910, the constable ice storage facility had outlived its usefulness. That is until 1990 when it was transformed into an maze can venue for artists and the art, known simply as the Icehouse.

Hugo Medina: It's not a gallery or a museum. It's an alternative art space you can do so many unique different things for the arts and promote the arts and give artists, up-and-coming or established artists a venue to do artwork they can't do anywhere else.

David Majure: The cavernous rooms provide unlimited possibilities and for years, the place has been a den of creativity. But now, financial problems threaten to put the icehouse into the old deep freeze.

Peter Conley: The financial situation is pretty dire. The fact that we need to catch up on back taxes. All of these years, we've just kind of basically gone with Helen's vision of trying to be a raw energy for the community and unfortunately, she's done a lot just giving the space up and this year, we need to give back a little bit to make it happen.

Hugo Medina: I read the article in the "times," scheduled to close the end of 2011 and Helen would owns it is a good friend of mine and I've known her for years, I called her, met her, we're taxed out. Her father who was helping her fund it, we don't make a profit and so to maintain it, it's been basically to maintain it for the past 20 years and since they don't make a profit and have all these back taxes, they couldn't keep the doors open.

David Majure: Hugo Medina, a local sculptor is fighting to stop the icehouse from melting away. And organized a group art show to raise money to keep is afloat.

Hugo Medina: We have over 111 artists, each doing two or three pieces.

Artist #1: I'm helping Hugo set up the show and I've delivered some paintings of mine, abstracts to show on Friday.

Artist #2: This is one of the most unique and oldest and largest art spaces in the valley.

Artist #3: The icehouse is probably my favorite building downtown. It's my absolutely favorite facility for everything.

Artist #4: It's one of the old icons that has -- icons that has lost its oomph and needs -- it's worth saving.

Peter Conley: The beginning of 2012, to make this float, we're implementing a non-profit as we speak right now, and so that's how we're choosing to forward. Initially, it's $60,000 is what our goal is in the very short term, by basically October of it year. Then after that, the nonprofit will start to be raising funds to actually purchase the building. The artist donate at least 15% of their is an sales but many are doing much more. Some are donating 100%. Some 20%, some 30%. Hugo hopes the show will raise new money to buy some time. And remind people why the icehouse is worth saving.

Hugo Medina: It's vital to a growing city like Phoenix to have a place as unique and special as this for artists to be able to create and move forward and develop.

Ted Simons: "Quick, before it melts," the art show and sale to benefit the icehouse, takes place tomorrow afternoon. The show runs from 5:00 to 11:00 p.m. at the icehouse, which is located at 5th Avenue and Jackson in Phoenix. A $5 donation is the recommended price of admission. Coming up on "Horizon" -- Hear the latest response to the Supreme Court's ruling on employer sanctions. The governor wants the courts to decide if Arizona can legally implement medical marijuana. Laws. That's Friday on "Horizon's" Journalists' Roundtable. That's it for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thank you for joining us the you have a great evening!

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