By Anja Asato
Since Cindy Dach opened MADE Art Boutique in 2005, the 700 square foot home-turned-business has not only served the growth of local artisans, but fostered the growth of art, culture and community in Downtown Phoenix.
MADE is a unique store that buys art — such as pottery, stained glass, cards and clothing — from local artists. This practice helps artists get their work seen while creating a hub for the public to view and purchase it. Art is normally sold quickly, and some of the most popular items are cards, magazines and postcards.
MADE’s merchandiser Rachel Barker says the boutique attracts people who want to buy art, support the local economy or get inspiration. “We have a lot of repeat customers and [get] new ones every day,” explained Barker.
The store looks for pieces that sell in the local market, but is willing to experiment and branch out to support more local artists.
MADE and Dach play an important role in creating a community in Downtown Phoenix; after MADE opened its doors, other small businesses came to the neighborhood. Each store on the street is an old home that transformed into a business.
People will often come and visit the art store after grabbing a coffee at the shop next door. MADE took the lead in bringing small business and culture to the street.
Lawn Gnome, a bookstore across the street, is one of the newer businesses.
When asked about the impact of MADE on the community, Lawn Gnome employee Jessica Pruett, a senior majoring in creative writing and women and gender studies, said, “MADE has the same commitment to support local arts and culture with a strong DIY presence.”
MADE receives as much support from the community as it gives. Dach and the business are at the center of First Friday, a gathering of art in Downtown Phoenix on the first friday of each month.
“[Dach] organizes so much. She is always in the community helping,” said Barker.
This sense of community and culture is what keeps people going to MADE. The space also hosts exhibitions for artists and community events that are open to the public.
“I love this neighborhood because it is a group of noncorporate businesses. It is a breath of fresh air in an area that lacks culturally,” said Jordan Currier, who graduated with a degree in broadcast journalism in 2012.
The store embodies the growing culture in Phoenix that people like Currier crave. People are also eager to experience a more culturally unique shopping experience instead of the strip malls and big business that dominate most of Phoenix. This is something that appeals to a wide range of demographics from teens, young artists, and older residents.
Currently, Phoenix does not have any prominent culture, but MADE is leading the movement towards more arts, culture, and small business in Downtown Phoenix. The impact of MADE is vital to the growth of the community, and serves as an outlet for those looking to support local artists and be a part of the Phoenix culture that MADE shapes.