Celebrating the Connection of Art and Economy: A Recap of Artlink’s Annual Gala

Published: 03/25/2024
Updated: 04/29/2024

Artlink’s 11th Annual Art d’Core Gala intertwined Greater Phoenix arts and business leaders

Hundreds of patrons and creatives behind Greater Phoenix’s bustling art community came together at Phoenix Art Museum on March 16 for the arts and culture party of the year — Artlink’s 11th Annual Art d’Core Gala. The evening served as a showcase of the region’s range of artistic talent spanning visual, performance, culinary and winemaking arts, convening those who shape the region’s identity through their craft.  

Founded in 1989, Artlink has been instrumental in connecting the arts with Greater Phoenix’s business community by spearheading initiatives like the original art walk, the iconic Art Detour, Artinerary and various artist grants and exhibitions that serve as a catalyst for the creative economy. This year’s Art d’Core Gala was hosted by Artlink CEO Catrina Kahler, Artlink Board Chair and GPEC Ambassador Oscar De las salas, and Honorary Gala Chair and President & CEO of GPEC Chris Camacho.  

Catrina Kahler and Oscar De las salas with Honoree Mayor Kate Gallego. Photo courtesy of Artlink.

The evening, themed “P A N O R A M A,” presented a full spectrum of the creative economy with 18 visual and performing artists, nine culinary artists and five winemakers transforming the Phoenix Art Museum for one night only to unify the region’s artistic talent. The Art d’Core Gala is a highlight of the annual Art Detour, which is in its 36th year. The two events culminate each March to celebrate all who actively, purposefully and powerfully contribute to the arts and culture community.

“Each spring, this duo of Artlink events presents a gateway to discover and appreciate the arts in Arizona,” said Kahler. “Our local artistic talent grows in tandem with our population, adding an immense amount of energy and beauty to our communities. Artlink exists to keep the arts integral to development and support artists in building successful careers in Arizona.” 

In 2022, the arts and culture sector represented 3% of Arizona’s GDP, adding $14.2B to the economy. This impact not only contributes to the vibrant lifestyle and livability Greater Phoenix is known for, but also employs more than 84,000 individuals statewide. 

“The Art d’Core Gala elevates the importance of art in the community, and this year’s event narrated Greater Phoenix’s vast creative economy through dance, performance, sculpture, visual, written and even culinary arts,” said De las salas. “Artlink’s work of bringing together artists and the larger economy ensures art is recognized as part of the region’s social DNA. The arts are the journal of our society’s advancement and a historical tracing of our contributions to our landscape.”

Artists Laura Spalding Best and Heidi Dauphin. Photo courtesy of Artlink.

Throughout the gala, attendees were enveloped in an expanse of visual and interactive displays and performances dotting the museum’s Dorrance Sculpture Garden and Cummings Great Hall. Featured pairs of artists collaborated on installations for the evening by Kenaim Al-Shatti and Chiung Fang Chang, Laura Spalding Best and Heidi Dauphin, Ruby Farias and Janel Garza, Magda Gluszek and Christine Golden, Liliana Gomez and Leonor Aispuro, Abbey Messmer and Craig Randich, Nicole Lyn Olson and Tara Sharpe, Rembrant Quiballo and Regan Henly, and Patricia Sannit and Sam Arrow. Notable regional restaurants shared creative bites by Chefs Adam Allison, Tom Baumbauch, Devan Cunningham, Micki Hudson, Gregory James, Stephen Jones, Brent Kille, Jeff Kraus and Dom Ruggiero, while Arizona winemakers James Callahan, Jules Dixon, Pavle Milic, Emil Molin and Corey Turnbull showcased sips of local terroir.

The evening also recognized four iconic individuals who have shaped the region’s cultural landscape:  

  • Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, affectionately known by Artlink as the “Arts Mayor” who continuously speaks to the importance of supporting arts and culture 
  • Bentley Calverley, owner of Bentley Gallery which has been synonymous with contemporary painting and sculpture in the southwest for more than 35 years 
  • Doris Ong, a photographer and painter who serves on the boards of Phoenix Art Museum and Phoenix Symphony while connecting and supporting the entire arts community 
  • Rick Naimark, former City of Phoenix Deputy City Manager and current ASU associate vice president for program development and planning who is involved in numerous local nonprofits

Chef Stephen Jones. Photo courtesy of Artlink.

The energetic celebration and impactful honorees made it evident that the arts are both a creative and economic force with the immersive experience of the gala as a testament to the transformative power of creativity.

“By incorporating the arts into the development of Greater Phoenix, the rich history and unique stories of our culture and communities becomes interwoven into economic growth,” said Camacho. “This not only creates opportunities for employment within the arts and culture sector, but prosperity for the region which elevates and celebrates creative talent.” 

Learn how you can link up with the arts during Art Detour, which runs through March 31, at artdetour.com.


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