Friday, August 22, 2008

Burrito Files Receives Tucson Pima Arts Council Grant!

Burrito Cart Sketch

The Burrito Files was awarded an artist mini-grant by the Tucson Pima Arts Council! The funds will support the construction of a mock burrito cart that will promote the project in downtown Tucson. I worked with artist Titus Castanza on purchasing the supplies and building the cart on August 20th and 21st. We agreed on the specs and he did the work - I assisted where I could! Here are some pictures from the process.

Materials Loaded Onto Titus's Truck

Cutting the Wood

In Progress

Almost Done!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Downtown Geographical Expedition #2 - Reports from the field - Part Two

Our final exercise was a guerrilla installation at the Ronstadt Transit Center. We posted signs with the themes of "Lost," "Found," and "Wanted" - what is missing from downtown and what resources we already have here. We had a great, unanticipated response from people hanging out at the bus station, especially young people. Many approached us, curious to find out what we were doing and how they could participate.

I went back the next day (Sunday)and most of the signs were still posted (over 24 hours later). There were even a few comments written on the signs! There were even a few up on Monday morning. Here are some photos from Sunday. Pictures of the installation itself will be coming soon.

Downtown Geographical Expedition #2 - Reports from the field - Part One

The second Downtown Geographical Expedition on May 31st bore much creative fruit. Here are some of the memory maps created by the participants. Click on each map for a larger view.

Debra's map

Amy's map

Brad's map

We did a great photography exercise using historic photos of downtown Tucson. We each picked a photo and wrote a response using prompts. We then had to go to that location and take 3 pictures:
1) the same shot as the historic shot
2) a detail that reflects the historic shot
3) an image that reflects our vision for downtown

Here is one of the examples:

6th and Congress - facing north - 1941

1) The same intersection on May 31st



We then did a piece of writing about that spot.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Downtown JUNE Happenings!

There are lots of downtown events happening in June. Check them out!

SUMMER ARTS CRUISE - Saturday, June 7th

A self-guided tour of 10 Downtown galleries, with receptions between 6 and 10 p.m. at the following:
Conrad Wilde Gallery, Davis Dominguez Gallery, Dinnerware Artspace, Philabaum Glass Studio and Gallery, Platform Gallery, Raices Taller 222 Gallery, The Drawing Studio Gallery, The Gallery at 6th & 6th and Central Arts Gallery.

designcoop-open-studio- thursday, june-12/">design*coop open studio @ MOCA - June 12th

Arts Space & Community Design - a conversation with Greg Esser
- Thursday, June 12th

Tucson Digital Arts Community meetup at Dinnerware - Thursday, June 19th

Monday, June 2, 2008

the BURRITO files - DAVID

Are you a Tucson native? No. I'm from San Antonio.
What are you doing downtown today? Waiting for the trolley.
Describe downtown in 3 words or less? deep, colorful, magic
If downtown Tucson was a burrito what would be in it? The most delicious colorful burrito would be inside the burrito and inside the inside burrito would be a delicious tasty burrito and inside that burrito would be the most delicious burrito you can imagine and inside that burrito...
Have any significant events in your life happened in downtown? I grew up there.

the BURRITO files - ANNA

Are you a Tucson native? No, from Nogales, Sonora, Mexico.
What are you doing downtown today? I'm on a job interview.
Describe downtown in 3 words or less? dead, dully, really-badly-designed
If downtown Tucson was a burrito what would be in it? my ideal downtown Tucson burrito would have guacamole, tomatoes, wider sidewalks, really big trees and rainbows.
Have any significant events in your life happened in downtown? Yes, I got my first volunteer experience at Dinnerware Artspace.

the BURRITO files - ROCKY

Are you a Tucson native? Yes
What are you doing downtown today? I'm a graffiti artist. I own a shop/gallery on Congress called Art Terrain.
Describe downtown in 3 words or less? under construction
If downtown Tucson was a burrito what would be in it? mix burrito
Have any significant events in your life happened in downtown? My shop is now on Congress and I've gotten a lot more business. I started the Rialto project (mural on 5th Ave. between Congress and Broadway). I met Chris Rush downtown. I got a TPAC grant which I never thought I would get. Literally it's a family down here.

Friday, May 30, 2008


Are you a Tucson native? If not, where did you move from? New York.

What are you doing downtown today?
Working at the Central Arts Gallery

Describe downtown Tucson in 3 words or less noisy, hot, happenin'

If downtown Tucson was a burrito, what would be in it?
homeless youth, mango salsa, and steel bumpers

Have any significant events in your life happened in downtown Tucson?
I've been running Odyssey Storytelling for four years downtown.

the BURRITO files - EVA

Are you a Tucson native? If not, where did you move from?
I moved to Tucson from Rogers Park, Chicago in 2005.

Describe downtown Tucson in 3 words or less
Misfit Haven Present/Past (Okay, I cheated.)

If downtown Tucson was a burrito, what would be in it?

Simply refried beans, cheese and a little hot sauce.

Have any significant events in your life happened in downtown Tucson?
Yes. When my husband was my boyfriend, we celebrated our first anniversary of living together at a New Year's Eve party at Hotel Congress. Also, when we got married we spent our wedding night there. Awwww!

Eva writes the local blog Tucson Querido. Check it out! You can also read an interview with her at the IdeaRodeo blog.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

"You can't fake a downtown"

This article (read the full article here) was published yesterday in Inside Tucson Business. It compares Tucson with Tempe and cites Main Gate Square as a successful urban redevelopment project. It also lists the elements to make a successful downtown Tucson:

"So what lessons can be learned from downtown Tempe and the Marshall Foundation that might make downtown Tucson work as an "urban activity center"?

Here’s their advice:

• A clear long-term vision with one goal that isn’t upset by changes in elected or other city officials.
• Leadership
• Courage
• Transparency and consistency with stakeholders with no hidden agendas
• Timely decision making
• Development, decisions and implementation being performed by those with true development experience
• Commitment from the community, full support from the neighborhood; find and establish links with your stakeholders
• A public-private partnership
• A commitment to history and authenticity, particularly downtown. You can’t fake a downtown
• Build to the highest level of design

• Complete mixed-use development. Downtown can’t be a one-trick pony. It needs commercial, residential, business, recreational, entertainment and historical development. And it needs both public and private investment in an environment that is stable and encourages investment.

• Lots of reasons for people to come and be downtown. In Tempe, in addition to many residential developments and businesses, dining and arts destinations, city officials said the city also "throws a lot of parties." Buses even bring in senior citizens, who once loved their downtown, then shunned it, and now have come back to enjoy it.

• Full support from city staff, the mayor and council (In the case of the Main Gate Square project, the mayor and council voted unanimously in support of the project eight times during the development process).

• A streamlined approval process. In Tempe, a "super commission" — a one-stop shop — was set up to make regulatory hurdles less burdensome."

Good stuff here. I'm interested in Leadership and Courage. Who are the courageous leaders out there??

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

the BURRITO files - PAMELA

Are you a Tucson native?I've been in Tucson for 27 years. I moved here from Columbus, Ohio.

Describe downtown in 3 words or less. Eclectic, historic, resilient

If downtown Tucson was a burrito, what would be in it?
Heirloom beans, tofu, homemade salsa

Have any significant events in your life happened downtown?
In July 1981, my honey and I stood downtown by the old courthouse, watched a magnificent, multicolored sunset punctuated by looming monsoon storm clouds, and decided to move to Tucson.

Interview by Julie Ray
Photo by Pamela
Check out Pamela's blog.

Monday, May 26, 2008

What Are Your Thoughts About Downtown Tucson?

Since my goal is to energize the discussion about downtown Tucson's future, I want to hear your thoughts, your ideas, your opinions!

What's in your downtown Tucson burrito?

Why is downtown Tucson an adolescent instead of a fully-functioning adult? And is anything wrong with that?

What is your vision for downtown?

please respond by leaving a comment below. to read all of the burrito files click on April in the blog archive.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

More Downtown Geographical Expeditions

Here are more images from the last Downtown Geographic Expedition. We created memory maps of how we each see downtown Tucson. You can click on the maps to see larger versions.
Josh's memory map

Julie's memory map

Jill's memory map

Kimi's memory map

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Exploring and Re-Imagining Downtown

The first Downtown Geographical Expedition, led by Kimi Eisele and Josh Schachter, was an exploration of downtown using a variety of mediums and concepts - memory maps, photography using polaroid film and digital cameras, radical geography, post-it art, and walking. Here are few highlights. I'll post the memory maps and the polaroids shortly. All of the photos (except the one below) were taken by Josh Schachter.

50 Steps
We did a photo exercise in which we started at the library and took a photo at every 50 steps. The exercise challenged us to see downtown in new ways. Here are 2 of the images I shot. To see all of my 50 steps pics, click here.

Pennington Street Garage
We ventured to the top of the Pennington Street Garage and commented on what we saw below. We envisioned the abundance of rooftop space being used for performances, gatherings, gardens. The bus station - already filled with mature mesquite trees and other vegetation - could be turned into a multi-use space - a garden of local foods, a cafe serving food made from the garden's harvest, and a gathering space or community center. So many possibilities...

Post-It Notes: re:visioning the Thrifty Lot
The Thrifty Lot - sold by the city to a developer for $100 - has been empty for four years. We covered the fence with post-its imagining what this space could be used for. Among the ideas were a playground, ice cream parlor, locally-owned businesses, and a rainwater harvesting demonstration site.

Scattering of Seed Balls - Re-Greening Downtown

As we walked around downtown, we scattered balls of clay and dirt containing seeds of native plants and even some watermelon! Jill created the balls using seeds from Native Plants.

We checked out the chess event at Hotel Congress
Another Downtown Geographical Expedition will be held on Saturday, May 31st. See the previous post for sign-up information.