Just last month, the first signs of life arrived.
During the monthly First Friday artwalk, local muralist JB Snyder painted in his trademark stained-glass style at the long-vacant building at 222 E. Roosevelt Street.
Later, Arizona icon Lalo Cota’s boombox art piece was updated on the front facade of the building. Currently, aesthetic changes are being made to the space.
GreenHaus, the art gallery that will open Feb. 11 in that space, will be catering to a different audience than the building is used to.
Located next to the long-running Monorchid gallery and studios, the building has been a part of Phoenix since at least the 1950’s, when it was a bar frequented by local artists. The space gained its most famous artistic touch, an enormous mural located inside the building, by the late Native-style artist Ted DeGrazia.
His mural, called “The History of Alcohol,” is rumored to have been painted by the artist to pay off a bar tab. According to a 1990’s Rolling Stone article and some 2010 New Times photos, the mural depicts the process used to make grain alcohol.
“The mural was painted right onto the brick, so there’s no way to remove it,” said Monorchid owner and downtown resident Wayne Rainey.
In the 1970s, the bar turned into the famed 307 Lounge, a gay and drag bar known for its coolness, as well as its seediness.
“It was a cool place, (but it started) slipping a bit in the latter years. It’s the reason (the tiny building next door) is called the Dressing Room. Big guys would go in there after work, and come out in full drag,” Rainey said.
Since the 307 moved away at the turn of the century, the building has been largely empty, sub-leased by Rainey and Monorchid for three years, and serving as former mayor Phil Gordon’s campaign headquarters in 2008.
Today, partners Cole and Dayna Reed aim to open GreenHaus Gallery + Boutique gradually throughout February and March and want it to welcome students, downtown residents and art patrons.
For the past couple years, the Reeds have run Thiq Ink. gallery out of the Garfield Galleria complex on McDowell Road.
“We decided to make a leap,” Dayna Reed said. “We wanted to be downtown. Doing the hunt and finding the right building was a bit of a challenge.”
After their exhaustive search, the two arrived at the historic brick building with the one-of-a-kind mural.
“Everybody knows this building for that,” she said. “We had to cover it up (as it was) taking over the entire space. But don’t worry — it’s preserved. That’s this building’s legacy, we want to build on it.”
It will have 900 square feet of gallery space, featuring different local artists every month, plus a few regulars, Dayna Cole said.
Cole Reed will be one of those regulars. She specializes in restoration of mid-century modern furniture design, and this space will serve as the headquarters for her work.
The pair is currently working on renovating the space, which is the reason they sought out JB Snyder’s work for the main mural and another piece for the businesses dumpster.
“She (Dayna Reed) just met me at a coffee shop,” Snyder said. “I was asked to do these two murals.”
GreenHaus Gallery + Boutique will host a sneak preview during the February First Friday art walk, before holding a grand opening celebration on Feb. 11. Regular hours will begin in March.
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