A Perfect Blend: Arizona Coffee Shops Showcase Local Art
Discover local artists at various coffee shops around the Valley.
By Shoshana Leon
Like most urban areas, the Valley has an array of coffee shops, many of which boast a fiercely loyal clientele. Enjoyed as a home-away-from-home, satellite office or friendly gathering spot, java lovers might dash in for a morning fix, park themselves while studying or digesting the daily news, or log long hours multiple times throughout the week. There are many reasons why a haunt becomes a favorite, including friendly baristas, specialty concoctions or tasty baked goods, but often connoisseurs are drawn in by an establishment’s overall vibe and celebration of the neighborhood in which they reside.
Josh Katz, owner of Sip Coffee and Beer, which has locations in Old Town Scottsdale and Arcadia, strongly believes in supporting the community, which includes providing an inviting environment enhanced by the work of area creatives.
“Our spaces are designed to be memorable, warm and welcoming,” says Katz. “We support local artists in many ways, from the decor to holding a weekly open mic night at both of our locations,” says Katz. “It helps strengthen the community and build relationships.”
Sip’s Old Town location features bold imagery created by Jane Goat, a lettering artist and illustrator, and Andrew Morales, a tattoo artist at Old Town Ink, who created designs for Sip that are also featured on t-shirts and mugs.
Another java hangout known for showcasing local talent is Lux, which has locations in Phoenix, Flagstaff and Scottsdale. Jeff Fischer, who has owned the brand since 2005, has a passion for creating engaging spaces through art, music and design.
The spots feature a variety of pieces from celebrated local artists including sculptor Pete Deise and Randy Slack, organizer of Phoenix’s Chaos Theory art exhibition, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2019.
“Art is an important part of who we are,” says Fischer. “We have great relationships with local artists. They help fulfill our vision of creating beautiful spaces that people want to be in and work in. The art, music and furniture cultivate an atmosphere and culture that is purposeful, and influences mood and feeling.”
One of Lux’s longtime employees, Sammy Black, has been sharing his design talents for many years by creating postcards and labels for the popular cafe.
“Whenever our regulars would travel, we would ask them to send us a postcard,” says Fischer. “We put their contributions on a door outside of our roaster room until we had no more space left. This led us to design our own postcards for our customers to send to others.”
Black creates about 15 postcard designs per year. “Our customers love to collect them,” says Fischer. “Sammy is a distinct part of our brand and our mission. He is incredibly talented and always creating.”
Another cafe that features local art is Black Cat Coffee House in Arcadia, which features rotating displays by local artists that can be purchased. One of the owners, Tanya Nygard, is a photographer, which drives her passion to share art with customers and the community.
One of the many installations that has been featured at Black Cat Coffee House is photography by Kids in Focus, a Phoenix-based nonprofit organization that empowers at-risk youth through photography and mentorships with professional photographers.
“Art connects people,” says Nygard. “Our customers enjoy it and it’s a great way to shop local and support the community.”