ArtelPHX brings multimedia art exhibition to the Clarendon Hotel

September 5th 2013 Dancer Lisa Chow performances an intricate routine in front of a spotlight at Clarendon Hotel and Spa's debut night of Artel 2013 (Gabriel Radley/DD)
Dancer Lisa Chow dances in front of a spotlight at Clarendon Hotel’s debut night of ArtelPhx’s first event on Sept. 5, 2013. The showcase returns this weekend with the largest number of artists yet. (Gabriel Radley/DD)

ArtelPhx returns to the Clarendon Hotel this weekend for its third and largest iteration yet.

The event will showcase a variety of art ranging from dance performances to video installations to multimedia pieces throughout the hotel, including in the rooms, on the patios, in the lobby, and in and around the outdoor pool.

The inspiration for the show came to ArtelPhx director Tara Sharpe from her experience working in the art world.

“When I was a lot younger, I worked at an art gallery and I became exposed to specific art,” Sharpe said. “I started to realize that art doesn’t have to just hang on a wall or match the couch for your house, and I’ve always been really adamant about trying to get people to understand that.”

ArtelPhx aims to inspire the local art scene in Phoenix.

“Art and culture is really where a foundation is laid for a city,” Sharpe said. “There is a lot of culture here, and a lot of fine art, and I hope that Phoenix is able to retain all the talent that it has, and to encourage artists and creative people to come to Phoenix.”

However, Sharpe is also working to expand the show’s reach.

“I would like to expand it to other cities. I would like to start connecting Phoenix with more of an international art scene,” Sharpe said.

Applicants submit proposals and Sharpe decides if their ideas are realistic and fitting with the show. After selecting the artists, Sharpe works with them to bring the idea to life and make a successful installation.

“I guide them through what’s possible and then they execute their vision from there,” Sharpe said.

Twenty-five artists are participating in this fall’s event, the largest number yet. Twenty-three are from Phoenix and two are from Tucson. The youngest participant is a 13-year-old dancer, while others have years of experience and are looking to expand their horizons, such as artist Amanda Phipps.

Phipps is a Phoenix-based artist and a first-time participant in ArtelPhx. For her and many other local artists, ArtelPhx presents an opportunity to develop their skills, explore new mediums and engage in the art scene.

“I like to participate and add to the art community in Phoenix as much as I can,” Phipps said. “I like to challenge myself to do new things. I predominately do abstract oil paintings, but I am starting to pursue installation work and this was the perfect opportunity for that.”

The process of transforming the hotel into a living work of art is challenging and rewarding for the participants and the viewers. Artists have a limited amount of time to create their installations, but their efforts pay off and “you get obsessed with your project,” said Denise Yaghmourian, one participating artist.

The host location and its atmosphere are also important factors.

“The Clarendon is a great hotel, with an eclectic mix of everything … the restaurant, the food, the mix of people coming from out of town,” Yaghmourian said.

A boutique hotel like the Clarendon allows for a more intimate experience and a more complete transformation of the space.

“It has to be in a setting that makes sense, in a boutique hotel or another place where it’s able to transform an entire space,” Sharpe said. “It might become more difficult in a large hotel, because it would seem like it’s only part of the hotel.”

Regardless of where visitors are in the hotel, it will appear as if they are surrounded by art installations of varying mediums and designs on every level and side of the building. People are free to move from installation to installation as they wish, making ArtelPhx an opportunity for the public to “curate their own experience,” Sharpe said.

ArtelPhx will take place from 7-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday night at the Clarendon Hotel, located at Clarendon and Fourth avenues. Entry is free.

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