Alleyways have gotten a bad reputation, and they usually conjure thoughts of danger. However, one couple in Phoenix is trying to remove the stigma placed on these dark and dirty corners of the city. Scott Borchardt and Anita Puntney, his wife, live in the Coronado neighborhood in central Phoenix, and they want to make their little piece of the city more beautiful.
While many residential areas are considering closing alleys to avoid trouble, Borchardt and Puntney made theirs an art gallery, and neighbors have the freedom to take a self-guided tour.
Even though the project began 10 years ago, the couple is always working to add more pieces to their collection. Some of the pieces are found, and others are donated. They try to reuse and recycle artwork. Not only are they adding a little bit of beauty to their neighborhood, but they are keeping artwork out of the trash.
One of Borchardt’s favorite pieces is a picture of a beaver. It was taken by one of the couple’s friends at a canal in downtown Phoenix.
Borchardt believes the updated alley will keep away people who want to use the area for less than noble reasons. Areas that are not visited frequently can attract those who use the place for criminal acts, but increased foot traffic, like that generated by the art gallery, keeps them away.
So far, the gallery has proved Borchardt’s hypothesis true. Those who have visited the alley have come for the beauty of the gallery.
If trouble does start in the alley, they have placed housing numbers on their neighbor’s gates. This will enable emergency personnel to find the correct home if an emergency occurs.