Concert wraps up Civic Space opening

The 2.77-acre Civic Space Park opened on April 16 as a recreational spot for the Phoenix community and ASU students. (Stephanie Snyder/DD)

The last of a series of free public events will take place at the Civic Space Friday night, concluding a run of community-driven activities new to the city.

Since the park’s opening on April 16, the Downtown campus has partnered with the Phoenix Public Safety Advisory Committee to host a grand opening celebration, two movie nights and Friday’s 7 o’clock concert. Local bands What Laura Says and Kinch will perform a free show organized by Local First Arizona Director Kimber Lanning.

“I think that it’s incredibly important to have free events out in the community,” said Lanning, who owns the Phoenix venue Modified and a record store, Stinkweeds. She added later that she would like to use the Civic Space for future shows.

ASU’s student government funded the events and approached Lanning about organizing a public concert. Public administration graduate student Sam Feldman was one of a few in charge of the planning.

“These events were a catalyst to show what free community events can do,” Feldman said. “We want to get people excited about downtown.”

Feldman said that his organizing team, led by professor Ariel Rodriguez, has seen extremely positive feedback.

After Saturday’s showing of “Wall-E,” the team had measured results.

“About 350 people came, a large increase from the 230 that came [to] the first movie night,” Feldman said.

“I’ve only been [to the Civic Space] a few times,” Kinch drummer Jake Malone, 23, said. “It looks like a great place to see or play a show.”

Malone, who grew up in Phoenix, says he is happy to see the city progress in its music scene and community.

“I love the downtown area, but I think it’s been overlooked in past years,” he said. “It looks like that’s changing, so we’re happy to help by playing shows like this.”

Lanning said she has also noticed a change, having promoted shows in downtown Phoenix for the past 15 years.

“It’s like night and day,” she said, referring to 1999 when she opened her small venue nearby. “When I opened the Modified it was a rough neighborhood. It’s changed 110 percent for the better.”

As students leave for the summer, the future for Civic Space events, Feldman said, is sponsorship. He said his goal is to draw community partners and people from other parts of Phoenix to help fund events like this one that get the community together.

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