Tag Archives: American Indian art

Bolo tales

Detail of The Arizona Bolas by Michael A. Maglich

Seems Arizona’s official state neckwear, the bolo tie, is making a fashion comeback. Or so they tell me over at the Heard Museum in Phoenix — which opens an exhibit of bolo tie art Sat. Nov. 19.

“Native American Bolo Ties: Vintage and Contemporary” features “ties from the Heard’s permanent collection of more than 170 bolo ties and from the promised gift of Chicago collector Norman L. Sandfield.”

Power Bola from The Arizona Bolas by Michael A. Maglich

The exhibit and a related book will “show the antecedents of the bolo tie including Victorian neckwear and scarf slides.” The exhibit will examine how Western wear was popularized through movies and television of the 1950s, and “showcase bolo ties created by American Indian jewelers from the late 1940s through today.”

Turns out there’s another place you can enjoy a blend of bolo tie and art. It’s along the 3rd St. and Washington light rail stop near Symphony Hall in Phoenix — where a collection of bronze sculptures by Michael A. Maglich is installed.

A sign describing “The Arizona Bolas” notes that “these sculptures use the bola as a unifying symbol.” They’re meant to represent “the many activities occuring at the Convention Center and Civic Plaza.” Think commerce, industry, recreation and entertainment.

“Also included are references to regional history, plants and animals,” notes the sign. My personal favorites include a tie sporting pine cones, but that’s only because the artist failed to forge a bronze ice cream scoop.

Scroll Bola from The Arizona Bolas by Michael A. Maglich

Seems the tie originated in Wickenberg during the 1940s, which means my children — who grew up making a McDonald’s pit stop in Wickenberg every time we visited grandparents in Las Vegas — will be puzzled by the lack of a Happy Meals bolo tie.

Also the fact that there are two ways to spell the darn thing. Seems the “bola” contingent won out when it came time to officially name the tie Arizona’s official neckwear. We added that gem to the Arizona Revised Statutes in 1971, before Texas and New Mexico decided to jump on the bandwagon (with the alternate spelling).

You say “bolo.” I say “bola.” Let’s call the whole thing “art.”

– Lynn

Note: Click here to learn more about public art in Phoenix — and here for news of a current call to artists and poets.

Coming up: My first New York Comic Con adventure

Free museum days!

Every year since 1977 museums around the globe have celebrated “International Museum Day” with free admission, special offers or admission discounts. More than 30,000 museums in more than 100 countries organize “International Museum Day” activities, according to the Central Arizona Museum Association (also known as CAMA).

CAMA describes itself as “a regional consortium of museums dedicated to fostering professional development and promoting museums in Gila, Maricopa, Pinal, and Yavapai Counties.” The CAMA website lists more than 50 museums, and lets you search museums by name, location or type.

“International Museum Day” is designed to raise awareness about the vital role museums play in their communities. As summer months with soaring temperatures loom, they’re especially important for Valley families who seek cool places to enjoy educational and entertaining experiences together.

If you’re only visiting museums when traveling other places for business or pleasure, you’re missing some of the world’s great museums right here in your own backyard — like the Musical Instrument Museum and Heard Museum, both in Phoenix. For children, we’ve got the Children’s Museum of Phoenix and the Arizona Museum for Youth.

Celebrate at the MIM with reduced ticket prices -- plus free performances and demonstrations -- May 19 from 5pm to 9pm (Photo: Lynn Trimble)

Here’s a sampling of Valley museums offering special pricing for “International Museum Day” this year (with thanks to the fine folks at CAMA for putting this list together)…

Arizona Historical Society Museum at Papago Park in Tempe offers free admission Wed, May 18 from 10am-4pm.

Arizona Military Museum in Phoenix offers free admission Wed, May 18 from 1-4pm.

Arizona Museum of Natural History in Mesa offers one free admission with the purchase of another (free admission must be equal to or less than the price of the purchased ticket) Wed, May 18 from 1-4pm.

Barbara Anderson Girl Scout Museum in Phoenix offers free admission Wed, May 18 from 9am-4pm.

Deer Valley Rock Art Center in Phoenix offers two-for-one admission Wed, May 18 from 8am-2pm.

Heard Museum in Phoenix and North Scottsdale offers two-for-one admission (for up to four people) Wed, May 18 from 9:30am-5pm.

Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix offers $5 off admission and “a range of free performances and demonstrations” Thurs, May 19 from 5-9pm.

Pueblo Grande Museum and Archeological Park in Phoenix offers free admission Wed, May 18 from 9am-4:45pm.

River of Time Museum in Fountain Hills offers free admission Wed, May 18 from 1-4pm.

Scottsdale Historical Museum in Scottsdale offers free admission Wed, May 18 from 10am-5pm.

Shemer Art Center and Museum offers free admission Wed, May 18 from 10am-3pm.

Call ahead if you plan to tour with a large group, and remember that most offers cannot be combined with other discounts or coupons. In some cases, museum gift shops are offering discounts.

Make museum visits more enjoyable by taking children when they’re well rested, letting children help decide which museums to visit and taking along items children can use to make museum visits more fun (a camera, if allowed — or paper and colored pencils for drawing what they see).

Keep visits shorter for younger children, leaving before they get too frazzled even if it means you’re unable to see everything a particular museum has to offer during a single trip. Consider buying memberships at favorite museums — which make shorter, more frequent trips economical and offer other benefits like gift shop savings.

Look for museums with hands-on activities that engage children’s bodies and minds. Choose museums for playdates, and add a picnic lunch or park time into the mix. Think museums for family get-togethers so nobody has to clean house and the turf feels neutral.

And when you need some time away from the kiddos, consider a stroll through your local museum. Museums are perfect for enjoying quiet time and peaceful reflection. Just promise me you won’t hole up there for the night…

– Lynn

Note: Always call ahead to confirm museum location/directions, days/hours of operation and ticketing information. And remember that museum exhibits are noted in both the print and online editions of the Raising Arizona Kids Magazine calendar.

Coming up: A sweet theater find

Update: The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art is also offering free admission and special activities on Wed, May 18 for International Museum Day. And the Phoenix Art Museum has announced that their members receive free admission to the Children’s Museum of Phoenix and the Arizona Science Center, also in central/downtown Phoenix, May 18-22 (just show your membership card).

Contests for kids

Every picture tells a story -- including this painting by Julie Buffalohead (Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma), which is part of a Heard Museum contest for 4th-8th grade students

I had some fun with my 17-year-old daughter Lizabeth the other day after we checked out a picture posted on the Heard Museum’s website, then tried to craft a story using the various elements in the picture — which include a twisted balloon dog, a tiny house, a young girl donning a crown, a caged bird and several other items.

Weaving all these pieces together was much harder than I expected. I’m guessing that the 4th through 8th graders for whom the Heard’s “Tell Me a Story” contest was designed will have an easier time of it, though some might be truly startled to see a collection of people and objects devoid of superstars or cell phones.

The Heard Museum invites 4th-8th graders to write their best story about what is happening in a painting by Julie Buffalohead (Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma) — which can be found on the Heard Museum website by clicking here.

The winning story (and those of several runner-ups) will be posted on the Heard Museum website, and the winner will receive a gift from the Heard Museum Gift Shop.

Stories, which must be under 1,000 words, are due no later than midnight on May 1, 2011. It’s a one entry per person contest, and each entry must include the writer’s name, school, grade and city/state.

Entries must be submitted to: TellUsAStory@Heard.org. Submissions will be judged by Julie Buffalohead (Ponca artist), Janet Cantley (Heard Museum Curator), Gina Laczko (Director of Education), Susan McMichael (Author and Guild volunteer) and Noelle Bowman (Newspaper reporter).

Students eager to enter the “Dear Aliens” contest sponsored by the “ASU Origins Project” will have to hustle a whole lot faster to meet their deadline. Submissions to the “Dear Aliens” contest are due April 1, 2011 – and are being accepted via good old-fashioned snail mail.

The contest ponders what we might say if aliens somehow tuned into Earth and said “Hello.” “We’re asking you,” say contest organizers, “to write in and tell us: If you had to speak for humanity, what would you say?

K-12 students in Maricopa County are eligible to submit entries (though maximum word counts vary by age) — and must follow several guidelines you can read by clicking here.

Entries should be mailed to: Dear Aliens, ASU Origins Project, Arizona State University, P.O. Box 871902, Tempe, AZ 85287-1902. Alas — no extra points will be awarded for using outer space-related stamps or including Halloween photos depicting babies or pets in alien theme costumes.

Submissions will be reviewed by a panel of alien experts including writers, scientists and scholars. “Winning entries,” I’m told, “will be bounced off the moon.” Winners will be announced early in April and at a special (and free) ceremony on April 9 at the ASU campus in Tempe. The aliens, I suspect, will need to participate via Skype.

– Lynn

Note: Please consult contest sponsors for all contest details, including eligibility, guidelines, deadlines and such.

Coming up: More contests for kids — from the Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence and The Phoenix Symphony

Let me call you sweet art

Artist Kit Carson created this bracelet for the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix

Enough with the chocolates and flowers already. Enough with holidays that tell us when, where and how to express our love. Enough with token gifts fraught with misgivings rather than meaning.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day if you must, but get your heart on with gifts that truly matter — enriching experiences and choices that enhance our communities — instead of mere bon bons or bling.

Choosing Valentine’s Day gifts for children? Support our local hospitals and medical centers by hitting their gift shops for playful presents like games, stuffed animals and craft kits.

I’m eagerly awaiting the opening of the new Phoenix Children’s Hospital gift shop in their stunning 11-story tower, but I’m enjoying hunting in the meantime for treasures in the east building’s gift shop.

There’s plenty to choose from in all price ranges — including jewelry, clothing with an artsy feel, art activities and board games you might not find in your typical toy store.

Museum gift shops offer lots of fun finds for children and adults. Think the Heard Museum for gifts with an American Indian theme. The Musical Instrument Museum for all things music-related. The Phoenix Art Museum for sweethearts who appreciate art in every nook and cranny, even the kitchen.

Plenty of performing arts venues have gift shops full of unique fare with an artistic flair. Think Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Mesa Arts Center, Tempe Center for the Arts and more.

Watch for gift boutiques when you attend performances by Valley arts organizations. I often encounter fun goodies when seeing the Phoenix Symphony, the Arizona Opera or Ballet Arizona perform at Symphony Hall in Phoenix.

Some arts organizations, including the Great Arizona Puppet Theater in Phoenix, have their own on-site gift shops — and invite folks to stop and shop even when they’re not there for a performance.

There are plenty of options for those of you still rushing to put together that perfect Valentine’s Day experience. No need to panic with those pesky pajama grams.

Instead of dinner and a movie, treat your beloved to a film festival (perhaps a romantic trip to the Sedona International Film Festival) or a night out to enjoy art, dance, music or theater. (Better yet: Pop for season tickets.)

I suppose I won’t reject any bon bons or bling that might come my way this year, but I’ll have to fight the urge to turn everything over and search for evidence it came from one of the community causes I so love to support — even in small ways.

– Lynn

Note: Don’t forget the charm of homemade gifts of art with heart — your local bead shop or pottery painting store can help with ideas, materials and even execution of your project

Coming up: The fine art of daily blogging

Walk a mile in my shoes

Yesterday was a half-day for my youngest daughter, Lizabeth, who attends a school for the arts in downtown Phoenix, so I decided to hit the area a bit early with my son, Christopher, and his nifty camera.

We've long enjoyed this sculpture located near Phoenix Theatre

I ended up covering only a mile or so in distance, yet I managed to explore all sorts of art offerings. As we approached the Phoenix Art Museum, we saw a sculpture that’s been located for some time near Phoenix Theatre.

This sculpture joined the Phoenix Art Museum collection on Dec 12

It’s quite different from the sculpture that recently took up residence on the lawn outside the Phoenix Art Museum. You can see it up close as you enter the museum or find it by looking through a peek-a-boo window of sorts along a wall that faces Central Ave.

Kids will love playing 'peek-a-boo' with this giant red dinosaur

Walk just across the street and you’ll discover a charming performing arts venue — the “Playhouse on the Park” located in the towering Viad Corporate Center. It’s used by several community groups for an interesting assortment of theater productions and other performance fare.

The Viad tower is home to Playhouse on the Park

Hop on the metro or stoll just a few blocks north and you’re at the Heard Museum – where I always seem to find both plenty of diverse exhibits and oodles of interesting events. Think hoop dancing contests, Indian markets, student art shows, films and more.

I've always enjoyed the architecture of the Heard Museum

This weekend it’s the “NU (Native + You)” event, taking place on “Free 3rd Friday Evening,” Dec 17 — from 6-9pm. The spacious grounds of the Heard Museum will be “filled with light from luminaria and candles” and guests can enjoy both music and traditional Apache storytelling (by Ken Duncan).

One of many sculptures you'll find in and around the Heard Museum courtyard

Cash bar. $5 taco bar. Classical guitar music. Vocal performance by the Xavier College Preparatory Honor Choir. There’s plenty to enjoy — just check the Heard Museum website for the fine print on what happens at which times. And, says the Heard, feel free to bring the kiddos.

Heard Museum grounds are especially lovely when bathed in luminaria and candlelight

There’s free admission to the museum and Berlin Gallery, and the gift shop will be open for those still doing their holiday shopping. Think rugs, jewelry, folk art, baskets, children’s books, holiday ornaments and more. Or shop for yourself –the good folks at the museum store won’t blow your cover.

This time of year, the Heard Museum gift shop features Christmas trees with ornaments crafted by American Indian artists

The Valley has several cities where walking just a mile or so will take you all kinds of exciting places. Watch for future art adventures as I head east, and west, in search of more places you can enjoy music, dance, theater and art.

– Lynn

Note: Stay tuned for more photos of our adventures at the Phoenix Art Museum and the Heard Museum in Phoenix (the Heard Museum also has a Scottsdale site). If your child loves dinosaurs, check out the Arizona Museum of Natural History in Mesa.

Coming up: New Year’s celebrations — some for families, some for grown-ups — but all with an arts twist, The fine art of dinosaurs, Growing up with Childsplay, “New Kid” comes to the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, Walk a mile — Mesa style

Photos: Lynn Trimble

Black Friday – Arts & culture style

When I think “Black Friday,” I picture stage managers and techies running around backstage on opening night — donning their black from head to toe so as not to be seen working their magic in the wings.

But for others, who value shopping above showtime this time of year, it’s that hallowed day reserved for parking lot scrambles, shopping cart bumper cars and all sorts of sale “strategery.”

The Arizona arts world has taken notice, jumping on the bargain bandwagon with various “Black Friday” offerings on everything from trinkets to tickets.

Fond as I am of hauling out all those handmade ornaments from Christmases past, I do sometimes long for a fresh but simple take on decorating the tree.

The Heard Museum offers lots of holiday happenings in addition to their "Ornament Marketplace"

So I was thrilled to learn of the Heard Museum “Ornament Marketplace” taking place Fri, Nov 26 through Sun, Nov 28 at both the Heard Museum in Phoenix and the Heard Museum North is Scottsdale.

It’s free to attend, and features Native-themed ornaments hand-crafted by American Indian artists. What a great way to support the arts while enjoying unique holiday fare.

The Valley is full of truly spectacular museum gift shops, including those at the Phoenix Art Museum, Taliesin West and the Musical Instrument Museum.

Offerings are unique, available in all price ranges and include items for children and adults with all sorts of interests.

Most museum gift shops welcome shoppers whether or not they’re also purchasing tickets to see museum exhibits.

Hit the mall if you must, but my idea of a “Black Friday” bonanza is hitting several museum gift shops. For those who prefer cyber-shopping, many museums feature an online option.

Valley theater companies are also working the “Black Friday” tradition, offering special pricing or ticket packaging.

Desert Stages Theatre has a special "Black Friday" ticket offer

Desert Stages Theatre in Scottsdale will take $5 off the ticket price for their production of “On Golden Pond” for shoppers who hit the theater Friday night with receipts from the day’s earlier exploits of Scottsdale Fashion Square (while supplies last).

While you’re there, you can shop the Desert Stages “Holiday Boutique,” which runs on select days/times between now and Dec 19.

Remember too that plenty of other arts organizations feature holiday boutiques at their performances this time of year. 

I’ve enjoyed shopping at Phoenix Symphony, Arizona Opera and Ballet Arizona boutiques for years.

Arizona Theatre Company is offering those who purchase four tickets through their in-person, phone or online box office on Fri, Nov 26, an additional two tickets.

Arizona Theatre Company has a special "Black Friday" ticket offer

Upcoming shows included in this “Black Friday” ticket offer are “Woody Guthrie’s American Song,” “Ten Chimneys” (a world premiere), “Lost in Yonkers” and “The Mystery of Irma Vep.”

If you’re not on the e-alert list of your favorite arts organizations, now would be a great time to sign up.

Several performing arts venues, such as ASU Gammage in Tempe, alert readers to special offers through e-letters and/or social media alerts.

Yesterday I received an e-mail alert about saving 10% on jewelry purchases made at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts and Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art gift shops on “Black Friday.”

I opened my e-mail this morning to find an e-alert from Actors Theatre of Phoenix, offering 25% savings on adults tickets for the first three performances of “A Christmas Carol” with the special code “EBBACK.”

Actors Theatre e-letter subscribers awoke this morning to a special ticket offer for "A Christmas Carol" at the Herberger Theater Center

Actors Theatre is also encouraging folks to support “Small Business Saturday” by shopping with local, community-based businesses on Sat, Nov 27.

Raising Arizona Kids is proud to be a member of “Local First Arizona” — and especially grateful this Thanksgiving for our many readers and supporters. (And yes, we do offer gift subscriptions.)

Finishing your holiday shopping early with Valley arts organizations will leave you with more time to savor the season — which means more time to enjoy all the arts and culture Arizona has to offer.

– Lynn

Note: If your Arizona-based visual or performing arts organization has a “Black Friday” sale/special this year, please add a brief comment below to let our readers know.

Coming up: Call the babysitter — it’s theater for grown-ups time!

Photo Credit: “Ten Chimneys” photo by Ed Flores

Must-see museums for holiday visitors

Visit the Arizona Museum for Youth in Mesa to enjoy this bead exhibit, a special NASA exhibition and plenty of hands-on activities

Truth be told, I never met a museum I didn’t like — and Arizona is home to plenty of them, many with very focused collections ranging from beads to military memorobilia.

When friends and family visit for the holidays, it’s hard to hit them all.  So here’s a roundup of some of my favorite Valley museums…

First, in the East Valley, a double whammy of sorts…

The Arizona Museum for Youth is Mesa features permanent and visiting exhibits that are especially hands-on and child-friendly. 

It’s right next door to the Arizona Natural History Museum, which sports the best dinosuars in town as well as plenty of other kid-pleasing exhibits.

Our children couldn't get enough of the Arizona Museum of Natural History in Mesa when they were younger

With the Mesa Arts Center and so many shops and cafes nearby, this neck of the woods makes for a lovely outing for hometown and out-of-town folks alike.

Our newest museum is truly global in nature — featuring musical instruments and music-related artifacts from more than 50 countries and regions around the world.

The Musical Instrument Museum, or MIM, is located in north Phoenix but close to many Scottsdale shopping and entertainment destinations. Still, it’s located in a serene desert setting that features the beauty of open sky and native plants.

This global Musical Instrument Museum features hands-on activities, wireless audio guides, video of instruments being played in their settings of origin, a music theater and more

Here, musical instruments are coupled with the sights and sounds of people making music in their home countries and natural environments — so you enjoy a visual feast of history, culture, religion, art and more.

There’s even a large “Experience Gallery” full of diverse types of instruments, big and small, that beckon visitors to play them. It’s a refreshing change from the ‘don’t touch’ policies of so many of the museums I grew up with — and a sure way to convert folks of all ages who insist that all museums are bound to be boring.

The Heard Museum has Phoenix and Scottsdale locations that feature artwork with appeal to visitors of all ages

Arizona boasts many museums that exhibit the works of native peoples, but the single largest collection of American Indian arts and culture is housed in the Heard Museum in downtown Phoenix.

It too features lovely, open outdoor spaces and items of interest to folks of all ages (including animal depictions favored by the younger set).

Thanks to the light rail system, it’s easy to travel from the Heard Museum to other downtown destinations — including performing arts venues like the Herberger Theater Center and Symphony Hall.

The Phoenix Art Museum is full of nooks and crannies that make exploring especially fun, and it features all sorts of modern technology that will update your perspective on how modern art is being created and delivered.

The RACE Exhibit at the Arizona Science Center is full of hands-on activities and interactive features

The Phoenix Art Museum is at one end of a grassy courtyard that’s also home to Arcadia Farms resturant and Phoenix Theatre — so a trip the this museum is easily coupled with taking in a show or enjoying some lovely time outdoors.

Downtown Phoenix is home to two especially family-friendly museums, the Arizona Science Center and the Children’s Museum of Phoenix — plus smaller museums like the Arizona Latino Arts and Culture Center.

The Arizona Science Center features many diverse exhibits, including one titled “RACE: Are We So Different?” All are hands-on and intriguing for both children and adults.

The Arizona Science Center is located at Phoenix’s Heritage and Science Park, home to the historic Rosson House and other smaller specialty museums. It’s also within walking distance of the Children’s Museum of Phoenix.

The Shuff-Perini Climber is one of many kid-friendly, hands-on adventures that await you at the Children's Museum of Phoenix

The Children’s Museum of Phoenix features hands-on exhibits and activities that are fun for even the very young.

Newer installations include a giant climber that gives children plenty of ways to use both mind and muscles.

Two other destinations of note if art adventures strike your fancy…

 There’s Old Town Scottsdale, featuring art galleries, quaint shops and plenty of restaurant choices.

Old Town is near the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts and the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art – so it makes for a full day of visual and performing arts adventures.

The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art is one of many places to enjoy art in Old Town Scottsdale

And there’s Arizona State University, home to several museums and performing arts venues both big and small.

There’s plenty of greenery and open space at the center of campus, so you can explore various attractions while enjoying the outdoors — and find several places for food and drink.

Which museums you choose will reflect your own interests and geographical preferences, but I’m especially grateful this holiday season to live in a metropolis with ready access to arts and culture for folks of all ages.

– Lynn

Note: Learn about Arizona’s diverse museums by exploring the Central Arizona Museum Association website here. Always call ahead for days/times of operation, locations/directions and costs of exhibits/special events.

Coming up: Black Friday and beyond — arts & culture style; Art activities for airline travel with kids; Celebrating the holidays — chorale and symphony style

A yen for multicultural art?

We enjoyed a lovely dinner last night with our children and James’ parents, who share our penchant for Italian fare despite extensive world travels.

My only experience with Japanese food was during graduate school, when I had a roomate who often shared family recipes featuring Japanese flair.

It’s unlikely I’ll ever be able to duplicate them — but I’m always on the lookout for opportunities to explore the culture of Japan and other countries.

Head to the Arizona Museum for Youth in Mesa today for a free Japanese-style celebration of Grandparents Day

So I’m excited about today’s (Sept. 5) noon to 5 p.m. “Passport to Japan: Grandparents Day” event at the Arizona Museum for Youth in Mesa.

Admission to museum exhibits, including “Jump to Japan,” is free today (Sept 5) — and museum visitors can explore a wealth of Japanese art and culture. Think kimonos and origami. Swordsmanship and cuisine. Calligraphy and storytelling.

Here’s a look ahead to other multicultural events and experiences coming to the Valley and other parts of Arizona…


Calo Flamenco CUADRO at Chandler Center for the Performing Arts. Sept 19 (3pm; free). Features music and dance following traditional themes and elements of this folk art form. www.caloflamenco.com.

Calo Flamenco performs Sept 19 at Chandler Center for the Arts

The Power of You at ASU Kerr Cultural Center in Scottsdale. Oct 2 (5-9pm; free). Features a thematic dance performance in the Indian classical style of Bharata Natyam by Stage Sanchar (presented by Arizona South Asians for Safe Families). www.asukerr.com.

Japanese Folk Dance at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Phoenix. Nov 15 (1pm; free with admission). Features Japanese music and folk dance. www.japanesefriendshipgarden.org.


Celtic Harvest Festival at Tequa Plaza in Oak Creek (near Sedona). Sept 24 & 25 (hours; ticket prices vary). Features art workshops and demonstrations, music and dancing, children’s activities, and vendors selling items from Ireland, Scotland and Wales. www.celticharvestfestival.com.

Celebraciones de la Gente at the Museum of Northern Arizona. Oct 24 & 25 (9am-5pm; free with museum admission of $4 to $7). Features opportunity to learn about the traditions and culture of people from Mexico and Latin America. www.musnaz.org.

The Arizona Irish Festival at Margaret T. Hance Park in Phoenix. Oct 31 (10am-8pm; free). Features Celtic music and dance, along with kids’ activities. www.festival.azirish.org.


Jump to Japan: Discovering Culture Through Popular Art at the Arizona Museum for Youth in Mesa. Through Oct 10 (times vary; $6.50/ages 1 & up). Features both traditional art forms and pop icons in a fun and educational exhibit. www.arizonamuseumforyouth.com.

Community Second Sunday at the Heard Museum (Phoenix and Scottsdale). Sept 12 (11am-5pm; free for Arizona residents). Features free admission to all exhibits at both Heard Museum locations (presented by Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort and Spa). www.heard.org.


Spirit of Nature at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix. Sept 25 (7pm; $25-$30). Features acclaimed Chinese flutist Chen Tao and ‘mistress of the pipa’ Gao Hong. www.themim.org.

Gao Hong (above) performs with Chen Tao Sept 25 at the Musical Instrument Museum

A Mexican Celebration at the University of Arizona Music Building (Chowder Hall) in Tucson. Sept 25 (7:30pm; $9/general admission). www.cfa.arizona.edu/music.

Pops Adventures Around the World at Phoenix Symphony Hall. Oct 1-3 (times vary; $18-$83). Features Phoenix Symphony conducted by Jack Everly performing music from Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States and Italy. www.phoenixsymphony.org.

Doc Severinsen & El Ritmo de la Vida at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. Oct 14 (7:30pm; $49-$59). Features trio performing Latino music, along with the blues, played in a European style. www.sccarts.org.


Multilingual Reading at the University of Arizona Poetry Center in Tucson. Sept 10 (8pm; free). Poets Sherwin Bitsui, Alberto Rios, Natalia Toldeo and Ofelia Zepeda read from their work. Features a chainlink of translations in Zapotec, Spanish, Tohono O’odham and Navajo. www.poetrycenter.arizona.edu.

Visual Arts

Kimono Evolution: The Japanese Character of Silk at the Phoenix Art Museum. Sept 8 (12:30pm; free with admission). Features rare opportunity to view exquisite objects from a private collection not previously displayed publicly (presented by members of the Japanese Culture Club of Arizona). www.phxart.org.

La Phoeniquera art exhibit at the Arizona Latino Arts & Culture Center in Phoenix. Through Oct 29. Features an examination of urban Phoenix by Latino artists who are experiencing the cultural changes firsthand. www.alacaz.org.

I’m always looking — so please share what you’ve found on the multicultural front in Arizona arts and culture in the comment section below.

– Lynn

Note: Many of the venues/organizations noted above offer additional multicultural fare, so please visit their websites to learn more.

Coming up: Trumpet tales, Art & animals, Poetry perspectives, Making magic in Tucson


No cost/low cost museum adventures

When in doubt, hit your local museum. There’s always something new to see, do or learn. Just this weekend alone, you have oodles of options. Here’s the scoop…

Arizona Museum for Youth offers an “Artful Tales” event that’s free with paid museum admission. It runs 11am-noon July 30 and 31, but space is limited.

“Artful Tales” pairs an interactive storytime with an art activity based on the theme of the book (something it’s also fun to try at home). Go, play, watch, learn.

On July 31, the Arizona Museum for Youth also offers an “Anime Watercolors” activity tied into the animation art featured in their current exhibit titled “Jump to Japan!”

“Anime Watercolors” is for the 8-12 set (adults needn’t attend the class with them), and the cost is just $5 for museum members ($10 for non-members).

Saturday marks your final opportunity to enjoy a free day of play at the Heard Museum, thanks to Target. Their “Sizzlin’ Summer Saturdays” program ends July 31, so don’t miss this chance to enjoy free museum admission plus plenty of hands-on activities and entertainment.

Sunday museum offerings include a 1 p.m. presentation of the 1968 film “Funny Girl” at the Phoenix Art Museum. The screening will feature a Q & A with an expert from Arizona State University.

There’s also something called “Magic Writing Bags” happening at the Children’s Museum of Phoenix that day.

On the non-museum front, you’ll find several events around the Valley — such as “Wire Tap Live” at Mesa Arts Center (July 31) and the “Miss Gay Arizona America 2010 Pageant” at the Tempe Center for the Arts (Aug 1).

To get the scoop on family-friendly exhibits and theater productions, check out Raising Arizona Kids magazine’s online calendar.

Zap the remote control. Forget the drive-through dining. Get out there and introduce your kids to something new and exciting.

Chances are, you’ll have just as much fun as they do…


Note: Always confirm event details (date/time, location, ages, costs, etc.) before attending

Coming up: Visual arts classes coming your way this fall, Superintendent candidates forum highlights, Shakespeare and SB 1070, Valley theaters earn 2010 National Youth Theatre awards, Lynn and Liz on “Ramona and Beezus.”

Pop goes the easel!

Sometimes pop art isn't pretty

Lest you think my fascination with pop culture extends only as far as the green room, I thought I’d treat you to a taste of Valley venues featuring pop art of the visual variety.

The Heard Museum in Phoenix (there’s another location in Scottsdale) currently features four “changing exhibits,” including one titled “Pop! Popular Culture in American Indian Art.”

It’s described by the Heard as a collison of pop culture and innovation with traditional art forms and cultures.

Works include fashion, graffiti art, comics, pottery and beadwork–reflecting “contemporary issues and imagery in an often comedic, tongue-in-cheek way.”

Let your kids believe you're reading it because they like it

The wonderful thing about most museums is that they feature multiple exhibits, so there’s often a little something (or a lot of somethings) for everyone in the family.

Other kid-friendly changing exhibitions currently at the Heard Museum include “Hopi Katsina Dolls: 1oo Years of Carving” and “Arctic Spirit: Inuit Art from the Albrecht Collection.”

Who doesn’t love dolls and animals?

Ask yourself: What would Warhol do?

There’s also the “Allan Houser: Tradition to Abstraction” exhibit featuring large sculptures, paintings, drawings and more by “one of the most important artists of the 20th century.”

Art critics could give you lots of reasons to check it out but I just think Houser’s work is cool.

It’s smooth, clean, tranquil. All the things I have a hard time finding at home some days.

If you have a chance, explore a bit of the museum’s “About the Exhibit” section on the “Pop!” portion of their website. You’ll enjoy a mini-tour through the origins and evolution of pop art–which blossomed during the ’60s, a “decade of social change in which questions of identity, civic roles and political authority were paramount.”

Can pop art ever heal a broken heart?

Your teens might think they’re the only ones who wrestle with such issues, but art is your living proof that we all share the questions of the ages. Exhibits such as these can encourage young people to make the creation and enjoyment of art a part of piecing together their own answers–or fashioning their own questions.

Check out the “music playlists” featured on the “Pop!” portion of the Heard Museum website.

“Pop!” curator Diana Pardue favors everything from the Rascals and Jimi Hendrix to Jefferson Airplane and Otis Redding.

Pick pop art for playtime

Caesar Chaves, creative director and graphic designer for “Pop!,” says his mix includes everything from David Bowie to Petula Clark–end even added a Miley Cyrus tune for his daughter.

Senior exhibit designer and mannequin dresser for “Pop!,” Melissa Martinez, wins the contest for one name favorites–which include Elvis, Madonna, Nirvana, Aqua and Nelly. (And hey, how cool does that job sound?)

I’m feeling rather inspired to visit with one or more of my young adult children so I can challenge them to develop an apres-viewing playlist that reflects their impressions of the exhibit. No doubt at least one of them will open their set with “Pop Goes the Weasel!”

Even the peace sign has gone pop art!

I’d have a harder time designing a playlist for “Jump to Japan: Discovering Culture Through Popular Art,” currently on exhibit at the Arizona Museum for Youth in Mesa.

I’d simply default to searching for a live recording of a Bruce Springsteen concert in Japan and call it a day. Any child from preschool age up could run circles around me when it comes to breadth and depth of knowledge about anime (animation art), manga (comic art) and other popular art forms of Japan.

I suppose that means that I need to visit the exhibit myself just to broaden my own horizons–and to try and keep up. Just so you know, I’m waiting for cell phone technology out of any country that’ll allow me to do everything by voice. I’m so over typing text messages on those teensy little toy-like keypads.

Pop art can make for a pleasing pet

In any event, these exhibits won’t last forever. So hop online to learn more about specific dates/times and costs. During recessionary times, you may not have the ability to shop until you drop. But never fear–I find that it’s equally satisfying to “pop until you drop!”


Note: If you really want to “click to look inside” the pop art books pictured here, you’ll have to visit www.amazon.com or another online book source. To learn more about pop art exhibits in the Valley, check out “Pop Art” by Niki D’Andrea in the July 24-30, 2010 issue of “Phoenix New Times.” Or click here to see an article about a Valley exhibit by an artist whose big brother battled schizophrenia.

Coming up: Fundraisers for Valley arts organizations (feel free to send your info to rakstagemom@gmail.com)