Phoenix artist Blu Errand nurtures community in the art world.

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Phoenix artist Blu Errand nurtures community in the art world.
Blu Erran, 23, was born and raised in South Phoenix. Here, she poses in front of South Plaza’s iconic South Side landmark.
Rafael Romero Ruiz

Banda music comes out of the Chevrolet Tahoe in South Plaza. 5 p.m. traffic slowly builds up on Central Avenue as people do their best to avoid crashes due to light rail construction. Then Blu Erran parked in the square.

Erran was born and raised in South Phoenix, a rarity in a city that is constantly changing rapidly. Erran spent their youth on this side of town and their teenage years at their Nana’s home.

“I hope she still lives here,” Elland said. “I want to buy this house.”

Erran, 23, is part of an ambitious generation of artists and entrepreneurs looking to leave their mark on Phoenix’s identity and culture.

Building community and building relationships with like-minded people came naturally to Erran.

This is the neighborhood where Blu Erran grew up west of Central Avenue. Behind her is her Nana's home, where they spent most of her youth. Although her Nana no longer lives there, Ellen recalls memories of her walks around the block and her teenage years.
This is the neighborhood where Blu Erran grew up west of Central Avenue. Behind her is her Nana’s home, where they spent most of her youth. Although her Nana no longer lives there, Ellen recalls memories of her walks around the block and her teenage years.
Rafael Romero Ruiz

Highlighting Phoenix’s hidden talents

Erran has held many roles over the past 5 years, but they are best described as event coordinators and art curators, managing over 20 events during this time.

“I’ve done ‘Players Ball,’ ‘Localization,’ ‘Second Earth Experience,’ ‘Under Pressure,'” Elland said. “That one was completely done and created, but because of COVID, I never shared it with the public.”

highlighted person The events, mostly Erran’s friends, collaborators and local musicians, say it’s important because they’ve seen Phoenix arts institutions often overlook local talent.

“I love the art world. I love everything about the art world, and the talent of the people. I find it very inspiring for me to be around artists,” Erran said.

They see these events as opportunities to curate their own art using space as a medium for creativity.

Brueland, artist
There are many people who are afraid and go through hard times. We’re building spaces where you can rest.

Shared vision of the community

So far, Erran has worked odd jobs, sometimes multiple times, to make ends meet, and spends some of that funding on creative work.

“When I first started this, it was difficult because things were so tightly controlled.” They describe many in her community as an inaccessible landscape: “If it was someone in my community Love their art and you they need money and they don’t even know where to look.”

This barrier has become an inspiration for Phoenix artists to self-fund, creating a do-it-yourself mentality.

Liz Medrano is another artist at this DIY art school, getting involved through painting, sketching and her own performances. She first met Erran online, and they both shared their work. Later, they got in touch at the gallery they showed in Phoenix last summer, and they clicked on their similar vision for the community.

This is the neighborhood where Blu Erran grew up west of Central Avenue. Behind her is her Nana's home, where they spent most of her youth. Although her Nana no longer lives there, Ellen recalls memories of her walks around the block and her teenage years.
This is the neighborhood where Blu Erran grew up west of Central Avenue. Behind her is her Nana’s home, where they spent most of her youth. Although her Nana no longer lives there, Ellen recalls memories of her walks around the block and her teenage years.
Rafael Romero Ruiz

“Like we’ve known each other for years,” Medrano said, “it’s very rare because I’m a bit introverted as a person.”

Medrano recently hosted an exhibit at The Greater Good Barbershop, allowing her to explore more behind the scenes of organising the event.

The desire to be successful at doing what they love increases their friendship and respect for each other’s work.

“I think we have the same excitement in bringing people together or bringing the same types of energies under one roof,” Medrano said, noting that Elam’s face glows when they talk about it.

Leave a mark on the Phoenix art world

Erran has no plans to slow down. Later this year, a festival will be held in downtown Phoenix. For each new event, Erran seeks a bigger footprint.

While Erran doesn’t often think about how to remember them, they want people to acknowledge the effort.

“I want to be a good person. My values ​​are very strong,” they said. “Whenever I think about making money from big festivals, I also think, ‘Okay, what types of nonprofits are there around my community that I can donate to too?'”

The community Erran wanted to leave had more opportunities than the one in which they grew up.

“Even though a lot has changed in South Phoenix,” they said, “there are still a lot of people who are scared and going through a tough time. We’re building spaces where you can take a break and for those on the south side.”

Do you have questions that need to be answered? Contact reporters at [email protected] him on twitter @raphaeldelag.

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