Chartreuse gallery adds a splash of color to Grand Avenue’s expanding arts scene

Hot Summer Nights' art show at new Grand Avenue gallery Chartreuse admire one of Catherine Slye's photographs depicting the Lowrider Mural on Portland and Third streets. Slye and Jared Elizares showcased their work at the first art show held by Chartreuse, located at 1301 West Grand Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85007 Friday, September 4th. (Nikiana Medansky/DD)
Visitors admire Catherine Slye’s photographs at the first art show held by Chartreuse, a new gallery in the Bragg’s Pie Factory building with a Phoenix-centric approach. (Nikiana Medansky/DD)

Chartreuse, the newest art gallery on Grand Avenue, opened its doors to the public for its first art show Friday night.

A banner draped above the door reading “Chartreuse” in the gallery’s namesake color welcomed the dozens of attendees who flocked to see “Hot Summer Nights,” which showcased the photography of Catherine Slye and Jared Elizares.

Chartreuse is the work of owner Nancy Hill and curator Mike Oleskow. Hill previously operated 720 Gallery. While the gallery did not survive the closure of the SoRo business corner last year, Hill’s letterpress business Hazel & Violet did, resettling into the back of the Bragg’s Pie Factory building.

Hill heard that Beatrice Moore, who owns the building, had an open gallery space available and inquired.

Previously, the space was home to Moore’s own Frontal Lobe Community Space and Gallery for three years. However, it was only supposed to be a “temporary gallery,” and once the space was available, she and Hill began talks of starting a new gallery.

“I think it’s important to have a gallery at that site and in that building,” Moore said. “I’m glad that someone came along who wants to keep a gallery going there. I definitely think that Nancy and Mike are going to do a very professional job with the gallery, and they’re also interested in showcasing local artists, so that’s always a good thing.”

Forty-eight photographs lined the walls of the gallery, depicting Phoenix and a few locations near Arizona State University’s Tempe campus at night. Most of the images had a summary to the right, explaining the photo and its location, written by Phoenix “hipstorian” Marshall Shore.

The project took three full months to shoot, from April to June, not including the time to edit the photos. Slye shot in digital while Elizares used film.

The idea for the project came from Slye, who found inspiration while she was walking through downtown Phoenix and passed the Milum Textile Services building at Seventh Avenue and Polk Street.

The goal of the show was, “to capture historic properties, to capture places that are a little bit forgotten, are somehow overlooked … that there’s beauty out there if you look for it,” Slye said.

Elizares, who knows Slye though the online art and design school Sessions College for Professional Design, said that he wanted to show a different side of the city, one that was calmer, even “lonely and isolated.”

“In the daytime, some of these places are constantly busy: You wouldn’t be able to get there and be alone,” he said. “But after dark, it’s totally different … I just think that most people don’t even see things, most people don’t even look at things at night. Like how many people actually get out of their apartment and go for a walk, a bike ride or get from behind their computer, the TV?”

As for how she and Elizares got the spot in the first show, Slye said, “It was kind of a twist of just luck.”

“But, I’d like to feel like she thought the work was worthy of her space,” Slye added. “I feel proud and…it feels good. I’ve been here eight years. I’ve had other shows, but nothing this big. I feel like I’ve put the work into this project and created something of value.”

This was also a first major show for Elizares.

“I’m really honored,” he said. “I’ve done other shows where I’ve contributed, but I feel really great that I get to be in a show that is brand new to a new gallery. It’s really exciting, and I am fortunate.”

Annie Eldon, one of the many people who attended the new gallery, enjoyed how the pictures showed forgotten or unknown places.

“I like how it showcases the different blocks, different corners, that some of them I’ve never even heard of and it makes me want to go there and see, like, see if I can see the same thing that she does,” Eldon said. “I’d probably want to go at night, just to see if I could sort of get the same feeling and atmosphere that (the photo) has.”

Chartreuse doesn’t plan to stop showcasing art exhibitions and public events that highlight Phoenix after this first show.

“We…envision the space not only to be a gallery, but also to be active with the community and to have events in the space like our January show, which is all about cats and guitars,” Oleskow said. “So we envision the space to be used by the community, if someone wants to have there event here, a birthday party, whatever that we think would be fun to use for an event.”

“Hot Summer Nights” will reopen to attendees on Third Friday, Sept. 18. The gallery also opens by appointment, and those interested can go to the gallery’s website:

The next show, “Then, After A Lime Lollipop” by Cheryle Marine, will open Oct. 2 for First Friday and will run through Halloween.

Correction: September 15, 2015: A previous version of this article incorrectly spelled Marshall Shore’s name. It’s Shore, not Shores.

Contact the reporter at [email protected]