2018 Viola Award Finalist for Business for the Arts
Firecreek Coffee Company has become well-known in Flagstaff for their locally roasted coffee sold in their café downtown as well as in businesses throughout Northern Arizona. However, Firecreek offers more than just a great cup of coffee to our community – they also open their doors to many arts, music and cultural events. They host a plethora of local art exhibitions, poetry slams, concerts, community meetings, and special events. What makes Firecreek unique compared with other venues is the open accessibility that they offer for local talent to gain exposure.
The staff at Firecreek Coffee pride themselves on being a close-knit group, committed to serving the community, both with coffee and with unique events that reflect the arts and culture scene in Flagstaff. Their motto is “It matters to them, they matter to us” – this refers to both suppliers and customers. The coffee is purchased in micro-lots through sustainable trade practices from individual farmers.
Owner, Mike Funk, opened the original Firecreek Roastery in Sedona. After setting up several wholesale accounts in Flagstaff, he was drawn to the community and decided to open the downtown café, which was soon followed by the roastery south of the tracks.
The downtown venue boasts ample wall space for two-dimensional art and rotates local artists month to month, often participating in the first Friday ArtWalk. The gallery features many unique art exhibitions that you would not find in your typical downtown gallery or store. In December Firecreek had an installation of pieces by FALA design and photo students. Neo-contemporary Navajo artist Randy Barton in October caught the attention of Noise journalists who have an upcoming feature planned for him, but first discovered him at Firecreek.
In the rear of the venue, guests will find a new bar serving wine and beer, as well as a stage, where any number of creative events take place. Regular Poetry Slam events fill the venue to near capacity with young creatives, ready to take their turn on the stage and share their words. It is one of many other events at Firecreek that are open to all ages, which provides an important service to the youth of our community. Another literary event, Pine Stories, is a competitive story slam that happens intermittently on Sunday afternoons. Previous literary events to Firecreek such as the Something Said Only Once series, hosted several famous writers such as Buddy Wakefield and David Liebe Hart. in 2017, Firecreek hosted the NAU Book Festival and the nationally renowned author Mary Sojourner hosted a reading from her new book. Firecreek has also begun offering more comedy events, such as the Big Pine Comedy Festival, and the regular comedy open mic Flaglaffs.
Local musicians and touring groups alike can be found playing on Firecreek’s stage on a weekly basis, and they also host regular open mic events to welcome new talent to the stage. Firecreek has become one of the choice places for local bands to have their CD Releases. In 2017 they presented: Lucky Lenny, Quinn & The Confluence, Viola & The Brakemen, Jerusafunk, and the Canaries. They regularly work with Grand Canyon Guitar Society to bring world-class guitarists to Flagstaff. They have also exclusively hosted The Heartbeat, the newest iteration of Flagstaff’s downtown EDM dance parties. They also work with youth groups for performances, specifically Thomas Byers’ guitar school year- end concert.
Recently, the coffee shop has provided space for a number of cultural and educationalevents for NAU’s Department of Global Languages and Cultures. According to owner, Mike Funk, “in 2017, the NAU Global Cabaret has held three performances on Firecreek’s stage, and a recognition ceremony for the graduating students in French, which included a short theatrical performance.” Firecreek hosts a monthly French Table, which encourages community members to explore francophone cultures and practice the French language. Firecreek plays an essential role in educating both NAU’s students and the community about global cultures through art. Other community events in 2017 included: activities and speakers for the Women’s March in January, two Queers & Allies performance nights, NAU Jazz semester end concerts, climate change education events in partnership with Flagstaff CCL, and The NAU Honors Cabaret. Firecreek Coffee Company is a place that has become like home to many local artists, musicians and writers, which makes it a true example of fostering community through the arts.