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Phoenix: The sanity of a city of nuances changing.

By: Carlos Dragonné

I’ve gone around to several cities in the last few months in the united States and I have found a common denominator that ends up connecting the dots slopes and point towards what may be a future interesting. And that is that I have always been a faithful convinced that the tip of the spear is in education and the hope hidden in art. Then, when I come to these places and observe the corners that are filled with artistic expressions in real -out of the snobbery of the so-called “contemporary art” and that won’t tell you my opinion because this is a family friendly site, is that I recover a little confidence. At least that is the feeling in Roosevelt Park. Welcome to Phoenix.

Phoenix is a destination that we do not have in our mind immediately, I know that. This has as a result that we are wasting the fifth largest city in the united States and one of those places that’s hard to define in such a short time traveled. But in the walls of the center of the city we can observe a historical evolution and social, that gives meaning to a destination full of contrasts.

The sunrise gives us one of those images that we carry in the memory forever and while we have breakfast at the Residence Inn downtown, just a block from the arena where they play the Suns and in the midst of business area, the morning we headed to the Phoenix Convention Center, through alleys where the latino artists have left the footprint is most important and that will be echoing between the walls, concepts and free spaces.

The art, as I say, it is a sign of hope. The artists have taken to the streets to get to see and hear, in the manner of a constant resistance that allows never to forget the origins of this city, with a rich history and that it takes its name, precisely, of the need for the rebirth of constant to which it has been faced, since the disappearance of the Hohokam tribe until the new revival of cultural and architectural which, for many years, it seemed like a huge site with few settlements, and today, thanks to the establishment of technological companies, hospitals and university campuses, breathes and shows a life that is based on the constant cycle.

While I aim for in my calendar next January 20 to return to Phoenix to the presentation of Ira Glass with your conference Seven Things I’ve Learned at the convention center, cross the street to get to the one that was the first basilica established in the american west in honor of the Virgin Mary. And paste here the first breath of reality that is hidden behind discourses and conceptions preset: Mexico and the hispanic influence that gave life to the city you can’t hide it.

There are murals in which, through the water, the artists connect the strength of nations and the understanding of what we can do and must do. It is in these walls in which recognizes those who have always been and to those who have gone. But it seems also a search for an identity joint, something that combine to create a sense of belonging, a kind of declaration of sovereignty, ideological in a land that, for years, it was rough for them.

Then, walk to Roosevelt Park we went by the new Campus of Arizona State University (ASU), created to house the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, “Walter Cronkite” and I can get an idea that borders on utopia, but not for this reason, it lists impossible, but, perhaps naively, feasible. Because in the communication of diverse ideas has always been the foundation of a society full. That thought comes to me when I watch students walk the corridors, talking at the tables, ordering a coffee, read the most recent copy of the Arizona Republic, and smile wearing proud the colors Ochre and Gold of the Sundevils.

As I’m going away from the university Campus the art of the city will be opening its theme towards the universality of what we are. From murals in homage to Margaret Kilgallen -find your name, read your story – up to repetitions of artistic patterns that reiterate the social fabric that we built, I come to the that, in the last trips that I have done, is the piece of urban art that has most stuck in the emotion overall.

I don’t remember the name of the artist and I promise to look for it soon. The mural is a boy watering the garden with water that does not reach the floor by turning into birds that rise and create a wave of harmonic motion toward better skies, disappearing in the distance and that makes us eternal. A tribute in Phoenix to the homeless people who have died homeless and without a name. A declaration of hope on your next scale, and a frank reminder of what has failed us here and that we still have pending.

I will be finishing the first day in this city and as I walk through the center, thinking back to my hotel, I feel that there is something that I have not understood at all about Phoenix. Then, just in the 1a. Avenue, I stop to observe for a moment and I open my notebook to review my notes from the day. Return mentally to the Convention Center and to the piece of art that we look impressive from the ground, converted on the second piece of public art’s largest city.

Louise Bourgeois created a super mirror in which we see ourselves reflected – but never to the center – to remind us in this era of anthropocentrism, that is not all you should focus on us, but on what is around us. And, in that greatness there is a phrase that, in addition, gives name to the work: Art is Guaranty of Sanity. “Art is a guarantee of sanity”.

Then I close my eyes and I look at that phoenix built from an intricate system of forms that are connected to one another. I also remember the murals of Cesar Chavez and the catrinas that guide you through the alley to those who seek the history hispanic in Arizona. I see art as the reflection of sanity, which gives the city a touch of authentic calm and I step into the place that is waiting for me to close the night. It is called Bitter & Twisted and their menu is a homage to Lewis Carroll and other storytellers who hide behind the children’s story as a mockery towards the parameters of what we believe is normal. I think that, as it says in Bourgeois ‘ art is a guarantee of sanity, and I laugh… in the end, as was said by the Cheshire cat sitting on a tree in the forest while Alice was trying to understand where to go, “Here we are all a little bit crazy…”

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