RoRo revitalized itself, will continue to with grant money

Those looking for real estate in Phoenix can find historical homes in Palmcroft and Encanto Districts as well as the Warehouse District, which is close to many sports arenas. For the creative types, Roosevelt Row, or RoRo, is the artist district of downtown Phoenix. The cultural hub has world-class restaurants, art galleries, street events and plenty of live music.

The re-emerging area was one of the earliest established neighborhoods in Phoenix, with concrete sidewalks constructed three years before Arizona even become its own state in 1912. Between the 1970s and 1990s, Roosevelt Row steadily declined.

What was once an area of an estimated 30,000 residents was re-zoned with high-rise districts. The area soon became attractive to artists that hoped to have studios and art galleries at affordable rates. Crime rates began to fall and artistic inspiration flourished as the area blossomed to become what it is today.

The walkable area is highlighted with an abundance of activities and one-of-a-kind stores to find handmade crafts and unique art. RoRo starts at 7th Avenue and spans east to 16th Street, with Interstate 10 to the north and Fillmore Street to the south. It is now considered one of the most dynamic areas in downtown Phoenix.

Many cities around the country celebrate their arts once a month, but Phoenix is the home to largest First Friday event. Thousands of guests gather to view some of city’s best art galleries and entertainment, many of which are found in Roosevelt Row.

This June, the city received a $150,000 grant from ArtPlace, a collective of 11 national and regional art foundations, including the National Endowment for the arts, six banks and eight federal agencies. The money is going toward creating an outstanding community art district and several other events that will bring money and awareness to the neighborhood.

A festival in London called Feast on the Bridge will be introduced into Roosevelt Row by one of the same artists that put on the event overseas, Clare Patey, as well as local Matt Moore. Scheduled to happen in April 2013, the event will host local arts and cuisine through the area from Taylor Place to the Phoenix Arizona State University campus. The money will also be used to fund the Adaptive Reuse of Temporary Space project, and to turn shipping containers into unique art studios.

“We’re successful as a destination, but there’s just so much more it can be,” Cindy Dach, executive director of the Roosevelt Row Community Development Corp said.