Experience the New Old West
| By Andrew Schaeffer
Embark on a delightful journey to the mining-turned artist
community of Bisbee. With 18 galleries, 35 restaurants and restaurants, and
more than 50 places to stay, this quirky town is perfect for an inspiring day
trip or overnight stay from Tucson.
Upon arriving in the historic
district, stroll up picturesque Main Street and be dazzled by the town’s
gorgeous 120-year-old architecture. The scenery is indeed quaint and charming,
but this is a town that takes its art seriously. With a vibrant arts community
that is continually growing, you’ll find the works of art varies greatly from
gallery to gallery. Some galleries are run by the artist themselves who exhibit
and sell their own pieces while others cater to showcasing internationally
recognized and established artists. This variety ensures you’ll have plenty of
excuses to scoop up fabulous art from one (or more) of the fine art galleries
that dot Bisbee’s delightful downtown.
To help grow the artist community,
three artist residencies are available to visual artists, writers,
photographers—really artists who work in any media. These programs help launch
young artists’ careers by providing opportunities for them to exhibit their
works without having to worry about securing their own gallery or living space.
And by embracing them within such a strong artist community, connections that
last a lifetime will be made between the fledgling artists and the
professionals, as well as to the town itself.
Bisbee’s newest gallery, located right in the heart of Old Bisbee, is easy to spot thanks to the life-size mannequin of Andy Warhol in the front window. Artemizia displays museum-quality urban and pop art—some pieces are even signed. Gallery owner Sloane Bouchever is an artist himself, but this gallery isn’t to show off his own work—this gallery showcases the art he loves. Art by internationally known and well-established artists—such as Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, and Jean-Michel Basquiat—hang alongside rising stars including The Connor Brothers, Andrea Eisenberger, and Arizona-native Chance Lovestrong.
Exclusively featuring the work of husband and wife Poe Dismuke and Sam Woolcott, SamPoe Gallery is a paradise of contemporary art. Sharing the space, you’ll bounce around from admiring Sam’s paintings and prints to pondering over Poe’s kinetic sculptures. Sam’s works—inspired by Bisbee’s architectural idiosyncrasies taken into a near-abstract form—shine new light, color, and perspective onto the old mining town’s famous style. Poe’s tabletop contraptions and mechanical marvels give new shape and form to ordinary objects and animals, and his pieces are crafted out of common materials used in ways most of us couldn’t conceive.
Broadway Stairs Gallery
Giving new life to a once-dark stairway alley off Bisbee’s
Brewery Gulch, residents created a pop-up gallery and filled the surrounding
walls with art. The Broadway Stairs Gallery is made up of funky thrift store
finds and dumpster dives, so not only is the alley getting a second chance but
the art is as well. The mix is definitely eclectic, and that just adds to the
appeal. In a town known for being artsy and being quirky, this resident-made
spontaneous gallery is the perfect representation of Bisbee.
Galleries at a Glance
Art Home 79 Main St.
Artemizia Gallery 51
Belleza Fine Art Gallery
27 Main St.
Pritchard Gallery 6
PanTerra Gallery 22
55 Main Gallery 55
Flying Lean Wine & Art
67 Main St.
J.F. Thamm Gallery 40
LOOK Vintage & Modern
38 Main St.
PSA Art Awakenings 50
Tang Gallery 32 Main
Bathtub Coffee & Art
31 Subway St.
SamPoe Gallery 33
Broadway Stairs Alley
David Kachel Photography
2 Naco Rd.
Sense of Place 63
Subway Gallery 47
Central School 43 Howell Ave.