Despite deep roots in the East Valley, Xico Arte and Cultura art gallery is relocating from downtown Chandler to Phoenix at the end of the month and leaving behind its signature patchwork “rug.”
The gallery’s floor features more than 30 3-foot-by-3-foot painted slabs, each a small masterpiece by an Arizona painter, printmaker, sculptor or other artist. The floor became an unexpected showcase for homegrown artwork.
“We value our community rug and leaving it behind, that’s the thing that hurts,” said Donna Valdez, Xico executive director. “That was the centerpiece of our involvement with local artists. It brought everyone together.”
Xico — a multidisciplinary arts nonprofit started in Mesa in 1975 to promote indigenous culture through community arts programs — is relocating in part because of increasing rent in downtown Chandler and the availability of more space at a facility on Buckeye Road in Phoenix. The gallery will reopen in its new location in November.
“It gives us more space to more heavily focus on education,” Valdes said. “We’ll have gallery space and classroom space. There will be room for two artists in residence, meeting space and office space.”
Xico had been among the annual sponsors of Chandler’s Dia de los Muertos/Celebration of Life festival, which will not take place this year. Valdez emphasized that while her group will not have a physical presence in the East Valley anymore the gallery will not simply fade away here.
“We have outgrown the Chandler location. But we will still participate in the East Valley, through education, through the schools,” Valdez said. “We’ve always worked Valley-wide and will continue to do that.”
A project similar to the Chandler location’s rug already is in the works for the gallery’s new home.
“I have ideas for something that will be as interesting,” said Valdez, who said that project likely won’t commence until January.
As for the existing rug, Valdez hopes the next tenants will keep it and maybe even finish it.
Representatives for the 100-year-old building’s owners said they expect to announce the next tenant in a couple weeks and they do not know at this time what that group plans to do with the floor.