Recognizing that small, local businesses could use an assist, Phoenix Suns Charities enlisted the help of six local artists to collaborate on a special t-shirt design that benefits Local First Arizona, a nonprofit that champions locally owned Arizona businesses. According to Local First Arizona, 25 percent of small businesses in Arizona may be in danger of closing due to the loss of revenue caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The artist-designed WE ARE THE VALLEY t-shirt celebrates the place we call home and hopes to inspire unity and teamwork during a time of social distancing and calls for social change. All proceeds from the limited-edition t-shirts will benefit Local First Arizona, cost $35 each and can be purchased at Shop.Suns.com. The t-shirts were produced in collaboration with Tempe-based apparel brand Sportiqe.
“Some describe the artistry of basketball as poetry in motion, so we thought an assist from the lineup of talented artists in our community would be a perfect fit for this collective cause,” said Sarah Krahenbuhl, Executive Director for Phoenix Suns Charities. “As the home team, we understand the importance of supporting local. Independent, small businesses add so much to our community and we want to do our part to assist during this critical time of need.”
Basketball is more than a game, it has a distinct culture that can seamlessly connect street ball with street art. Utilizing the talents of the Valley arts scene, Suns Charities collaborated with six different local artists to contribute their unique styles and inspiration to each letter of the design for “valley” on the t-shirt – Pablo Luna (V), Spawk (A), Breeze (L), Lalo Cota (L), Savannah Stegall (E) and Tato Caraveo (Y).
“Local First is beyond excited to team up with Suns Charities and support the small business community,” said Thomas Barr, Executive Director for Local First Arizona. “We're thrilled to have local artists, whose murals you can find on the walls of some of our favorite downtown businesses, represent our valley and also help drive dollars back into our local economy.”
Suns Charities had previously teamed up with Local First Arizona to support downtown Phoenix-area restaurants and food vendors with more than $100,000 in funding to help feed the hungry in the community. As part of the Suns’ Small Business Assist program, participating businesses received at least $5,000 to underwrite meals that were distributed to non-profits helping feed those in need.