Tag Archives: Mesa Contemporary Arts

Right on Target

I’m feeling the love for Target these days knowing that Valley families will be able to enjoy several museums for free thanks to the store best known for its bullseye.

The Children’s Museum of Phoenix presents “Target Free First Friday Nights” the first Friday of every month through 2012. Your next opportunity to enjoy free admission to the Children’s Museum of Phoenix is Fri, March 2 from 5-9pm.

Three venues located with three blocks of each other in Mesa are part of “Target 3 for Free” — which features free admission on the first Sunday of each month through May 2012.

Mesa Contemporary Arts, located at the Mesa Arts Center, dedicates a special area to children’s art activities and offers a free performance in MCA’s outdoor courtyard on “Target 3 for Free” days — which include Sun, March 4.

Another participant, the Arizona Museum of Natural History, has a new exhibit titled “Rulers of the Prehistoric  Skies” in addition to its permanent collection.

The “3 for Free” program in Mesa also includes the Arizona Museum for Youth, which currently features an exhibit called “Wings It! Things That Fly!” Think airplane cockpit simulator, butterfly puppet theater, paper plane launcher and more.

Big or small, it’s nice to support the businesses that supports arts and culture in our communities.

– Lynn

Note: Click here to explore Target partnerships with educators and arts organizations in your area

Coming up: Beyond paint by numbers, All aboard the digital bookmobile!

Need a film fix?

Fans of films that are a bit off the beaten path have plenty of options in coming months. Here’s a roundup for those of you needing a frequent film fix:

The Film Bar in Phoenix. Offerings include indie films, including the first screenings of “A Boy in China” Jan. 13 and 14. The film follows a boy from Phoenix who pursues Kung Fu training in China (Andre Magnum, plus his parents and coach, will attend both screenings). www.thefilmbarphx.com.

The Film Festival at Paradise Valley Community College. Offerings, focused this year on women in film, include “Catching Babies” (Feb. 2), “Caramel” (Feb. 8), “Water” (Feb. 22) and “Maria Full of Grace” (March 7). “Catching Babies” is a film about midwifery. Free. www.pvc.maricopa.edu.

The Loft Cinema in Tucson. Offerings include new indie works, mainstream and cult classics, film festival shorts, award-nominated shorts and more. Also National Theatre Live broadcasts — including “The Collaborators” (Jan. 15), “Travelling Light” (Feb. 26), “The Comedy of Errors” (March 25) and “She Stoops to Conquer” (April 15). www.loftcinema.com.

Mesa Contemporary Arts (part of the Mesa Art Center). Offerings include “Community Cinema” screenings (“Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock” by Sharon La Cruise Jan. 19). Free. www.mesaartscenter.com.

Phoenix Art Museum. Offerings include individual films, National Theatre Live broadcasts (including those noted in the Loft Cinema list above) and the Masterpiece Film Challenge (a six-week challenge in which 15 filmmaking teams create 5-7 minute films inspired by art from the museum). Also the Ab/Ex Film Series (“The New York School” Feb. 12) and filmed museum tours (“Leonardo Live” exhibit at the National Gallery of London Feb. 19). www.phxart.org.

Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. Offerings include the “Talk Cinema” series (Jan. 10, Feb. 7, March 20, April 17, May 8) and the “Discovery Film Series” (“This Way of Life” Jan. 22). “Talk Cinema” titles are announced on the center’s website just days before screenings (this month’s film is “Declaration of War,” about a couple whose baby is diagnosed with a brain tumor). www.scottsdaleperformingarts.org.

The Anti-Defamation League and Scottdale Community College. Offerings include “The Many Faces of Hate” film series at SCC (including Jay Rosenstein’s “In Whose Honor” Jan. 18). Free. www.scottsdalecc.edu.

Harkins Theatres. Offerings include various film festivals and broadcasts of  “Opera & Ballet in Cinema Series” performances — including “Le Corsaire” (March 11), “La Boheme” (March 13), “Romeo and Juliet” (March 22), “Rigoletto” (April 17), “The Bright Stream” (April 29), “La Fille Mal Gardee” (May 16) and “Raymonda” (June 24). www.harkinstheatres.com.

Many museums, performing arts centers and universities offer film screenings, so check with your local venues for additional options.

– Lynn

Note: If your venue or organization offers film fare with an arts and culture twist, please comment below to let our readers know.

Coming up: Theater meets classic literature

I-Spy: Guitars

As the “Six-String Masterpieces” exhibit enjoys its final week at the Mesa Art Center museum, I’m revisiting a few of my own guitar images — collected during travels near home and beyond.

Soft toy guitars from the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix

Neon guitar that hangs in the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square

Culinary fare from the MIM that could pass as a guitar or violin

Guitar case belonging to an Occupy Wall Street protester in NYC 

Sign for the guitar exhibit at Mesa Contemporary Arts

The “Six-String Masterpieces” exhibit, which is curated by Curse Mackey, runs through Dec. 4 in the South Gallery of the MAC museum. It’s described as “a charitable art exhibition featuring a impressive collection of Dean Electric Guitars that have been hand-painted, illustrated and sculpted by leading musicians and contemporary visual artists.”

With more than $200,000 raised to date, the exhibit “continues to evolve as an ongoing charitable exhibition that serves to raise awareness and support for music education and carries a message of anti-violence.” All proceeds from “Six-String Masterpieces” benefit a music education charity called “Little Kids Rock.”

Folks eager to enjoy guitars in the hands of those who play them can head to Tucson for an exhibition titled “Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History, 1955 to the Present.” The exhibit, organized by the Brooklyn Museum with guest curator Gail Buckland, runs through Jan 15 at the Tucson Museum of Art – and is part of a larger experience called “Tucson Rocks.”

The University of Arizona Museum of Art presents an exhibit titled “Good Vibrations: The Guitar as Design, Craft & Function” through Jan. 15, 2012. Students from the UA school of music will perform free guitar concerts Dec. 2 and Jan. 13.

Buck Owens guitar exhibited at the House of Broadcasting museum in Scottsdale

The Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix has an Artist Gallery that includes guitars used by Eric Clapton, Paul Simon and the Jonas Brothers — and will soon be adding guitars played by John Denver, Toby Keith and Buck Owens. Their museum shop is full of guitar goodies from holiday ornaments to silver earrings. Fans of Buck Owens can see his “signature guitar” displayed at the House of Broadcasting in Scottsdale.

The world’s best artwork, of course, is created by students. You can enjoy an “Art Rocks!” art show featuring works by students at Marcos de Niza and Kyrene Middle School at Hoodlums Music & Movies in Tempe Dec. 10 from 6-9pm. “Art Rocks!” music will be provided by alumni bands.

– Lynn

Note: Mesa Arts Center offers classes for adults and kids in various visual and performing arts. Click here to learn about lessons in playing guitar and other musical instruments available at the MAC.

Coming up: Use your words, I-Spy: Elvis, More music education from the MAC

The fine art of flags

Flag hung by Occupy Wall Street protestors at Zuccotti Park in New York City

After seeing the above flag flown by Occupy Wall Street protestors at Zuccotti Park in New York City last month, I felt inspired to search for other images of the American flag closer to home. Here’s a bit of what I discovered:

“Field of Blue,” a tribute to the Boy Scouts of America flag-folding ceremony, by Colorado artist George Lundeen, exhibited at Scottsdale Fine Art gallery…

Flag made of baseballs hanging in a Red Robin restaurant in Scottsdale…

Carving created in 2002 by Navajo folk artist Lorenzo Reed to depict the Navajo Code Talkers, who were instrumental to victory of the Allied forces in the Pacific theater during WWII (Part of the Heard Museum collection)…

“A New Sun Rising” by Jeanne Bonine, which will be exhibited Nov 25-27 at the Talking Stick Fine Art and Wine Festival at Salt River Fields…


Flag created by students at Herrera Elementary School in Phoenix…

LEGO flag by brick artist Nathan Sawaya of New York, currently exhibited at Mesa Contemporary Arts in the Mesa Arts Center…

“Pledge Allegiance” by James Poppitz, a gift of Mr. and Mrs. Rudy H. Turk to the ASU Art Museum at Arizona State University in Tempe…

Flag textile created by Navajo weaver Sadie Curtis and flown over both the Arizona and U.S. Capitol during bicentennial celebrations in 1976 (part of the Heard Museum collection in Phoenix)…

“Leading the Way” by Texas artist Kyle Polzin, exhibited at Legacy Gallery in Scottsdale…

“American” by California artist Robert Tate, exhibited at May Gallery in Scottsdale…

“National Unity Flag,” designed by Randy Cooney of Arizona, during a recent 9/11 exhibition at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts…

“4th of July Barn” by Cheyenne L. Rouse, exhibited at Ancient Light Gallery and available online at http://www.cheyennerouse.com/matted-prints

Thanks to all those who sent images for this post. Please stay tuned for additional works of art that I’ll be adding in the near future.

– Lynn

Note: Visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website to learn more about the history and commemoration of Veterans Day, and to find related resources for teachers and students. Click here for details about today’s 11 am Veterans Day parade in Phoenix (several groups of students are participating in the parade).

Coming up: Valley veterans find healing through the arts

Nifty photo opps

A tool of the trade for the Blue Bike Kids Show gang

Recently the Blue Bike Kids Show shared a few photos taken with their nifty Time-O-Portation device, which inspired me to go in search of photo exhibits around the Valley.

The Phoenix Art Museum presents “Pure Photography, Post Production and Mixed Media” through August 14.

Mesa Contemporary Arts at the Mesa Arts Center presents “Picturing Maricopa” through August 7. It features photographs by 15 photographers who worked with 15 non-profits to capture images of “crisis care for vulnerable populations.” If legislators continue their “slice and dice” approach to health and human services, the gallery will need a lot more exhibit space dedicated to this topic.

Dallin Branch photographed by the Blue Bike Kids Show gang

Shemer Art Center and Museum in Phoenix presents “Seeking the Source: Water in the Desert” featuring works by photographer Bryon Darby through July 28.

If art and desert environments are your thing, check out the “Desert Initiative” led by Greg Esser at the ASU Art Museum. The project supports “independent and collaborative research into desert cultures and environments through the arts and sciences.”

Ellie Branch photographed by the Blue Bike Kids Show gang

The Scottsdale Gallery Association presents a “Summer Spectacular Art Walk” Thurs, July 7, from 7-9pm — featuring artist receptions, live music and prize drawings. Several participating galleries exhibit photographic works.

Method Art Gallery, for example, specializes in “photography, contemporary art and local artists.” And “Ancient Light Gallery” features the fine art photography of Cheyenne L. Rouse, who uses digital techniques to “capture rusted, abandoned artifacts of The Old West.”

Rouse offers walking photo tours of historic Old Town Scottsdale, spending time at her gallery talking with participants about their goals for the tour before heading out for a one-hour shooting session.

Meet the Blue Bike Kids Show gang at Tempe Beach Park on Sunday

I’m still partial to photos captured in that funky Time-O-Portation thing operated by the Blue Bike Kids Show trio, but I’ll try to keep an open mind. Those of you who have yet to meet the Blue Bike Kids Show gang can head to Tempe Beach Park Sun, June 26 from 5-7pm.

They’re hosting a free picnic complete with hot dogs, root beer floats and purple cows — and tell me the BBQ will be fired up for those of you who want to bring your own fare for the grill.

Expect a celebratory vibe (and maybe even an “Old-Timey full body swim suit” sighting) since they’re off and running with production of their first full-length show. Though no RSVP is needed, you might want to let them know if you’re joining the fun. A massive run on purple cows could get ugly.

– Lynn

Note: If your venue or organization has a photography exhibit this summer, just comment below to let our readers know. And click here to learn about other exhibits in the Valley.

Coming up: Photos from Ground Zero

Big MAC attack!

Sunday is your last chance to see Mesa Encore Theatre perform The Music Man, which beat out West Side Story to win the 1958 Tony Award for best musical

Knowing the 2011 Tony Awards are right around the corner, I decided to go in search of local productions of Tony Award-winning musicals. I started with shows coming to the Mesa Arts Center after getting an e-mail alert that tickets for their 2011-2012 Broadway series, which includes four shows, start at just $95.

Watch the Tony Awards on CBS this Sunday night to see who wins best musical for 2011

The series includes “Rock of Ages,” “The Wizard of Oz,” and “The Rat Pack is Back” — plus “My Fair Lady,” winner of the 1957 Tony Award for best musical. The 1958 Tony Award for best musical went to “The Music Man,” which is being performed at MAC by Mesa Encore Theatre through June 12.

I’ll have to share other Tony Award winners coming to Valley stages in a later post, because I’m experiencing a bit of a”big MAC attack” at the moment. Turns out there’s a ton of good stuff happening at the Mesa Arts Center, so I’ve got MAC on the brain instead.

The Mesa Arts Center has offerings in four main areas — shows, classes, events and museum exhibits. Upcoming shows sound plenty intriguing. There’s “Retro,” “Live Love Dance!,” and even Steve Martin and his banjo buddies. Events to watch for include fall and spring “out to lunch” concert series, the Mesa Arts Festival and celebrations of Dia de los Muertos.

This girl should have signed up for music classes through Mesa Arts Center

Mesa Arts Center offers classes in visual and performing arts. Think blacksmithing for the grown-ups and ceramic “mud pups” for children. Also American tribal dance and belly dance classes. Plus “scenes for teens” acting classes and a “dance sampler” for kids who want to explore various dance options.

Exhibits opening today at MAC’s “Mesa Contemporary Arts” space – a collection of five galleries – include “Picturing Maricopa” and “Women’s Work.” Other current exhibits include “Chicanitas,” “Vermilion Remains,” and “Wood & Substance, Substance & Spirit.”

Another snappy dresser from the Mesa Encore Theatre production of The Music Man

That’s a lot of art for an admission fee of just $3.50. Kids age 7 & under are always free — and admission is free for all on Thursdays (the museum is closed on Mondays). I’m going to have to move this to the top of my “me time” to do list. My grown children would enjoy the works, but they’re already off and running in a million directions this summer. Bummer.

– Lynn

Note: The Theater League 2011-2012 Broadway series also performs at the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix

Coming up: Art meets science — with a twist of creative genius

Photo credit: Sarah Rodgers and Wade Moran

Sneak peeks

Looking for a taste of Valley theater? Check out these “season previews” offering a sneak peek at upcoming shows…

Trent Kowalik (Billy) and Ballet Girls-Photo by Alastair Muir

“The ASU Gammage Progressive Broadway Across America-Arizona 2010/2011 Season Preview” comes to ASU Gammage on the campus of Arizona State University in Tempe.

It’s your chance to enjoy a video presentation spotlighting 2010/2011 shows–seven offerings which range from “Hair” to “Fiddler on the Roof.”

"Hair" 2009 revival cast-Photo by Joan Marcus

ASU Gammage also presents three special engagements this season–to include the classic musical “Les Miserables.”

"Barricades" from "Les Miserables"-Photo by Michael Le Poer Trench

Their season preview event takes place Mon, Aug 2, from 6-8pm, and admission is free. They ask only that you RSVP to rsvp@asugammage.com or 480-965-5062 by Sun, Aug 1.

ASU Gammage bring Shrek, the Grinch, and Beauty and the Beast to the Valley this season

The event includes live “sneak-peek performances” from “Billy Elliot the Musical” and Dreamworks’ “Shrek the Musical”–as well as “complimentary refreshments, free food from La Bocca Pizzeria and a chance to win prizes.”

Just a few weeks later, you can enjoy a free sneak peek of Childsplay’s upcoming season at the “Childsplay 2010-2011 Preview Party.”

Childsplay presents "The Year of Frog and Toad"

It’ll be held Sat, Aug 21, from 10am-2pm at their Sybil B. Harrington Campus of Imagination and Wonder, located at 900 S. Mitchell Dr. in Tempe.

The event includes not only a sneak peek of season offerings, but also “family activities involving stagecraft, theatre games and hands-on fun.”

"Junie B. Jones" returns to Childsplay this season

What better way to discover which shows most interest your children than taking them along to sample the season’s upcoming fare?

If you go, let me know.

I’d love to hear what you and your family are looking forward to seeing this season…

–Lynn

"Go, Dog, Go!" performed by Tempe's own "Childsplay"

Note: If your arts organization or venue is holding a season preview event, drop a line to rakstagemom@gmail.com and let me know.

Coming up: Sneak peek at fall theater classes for children and teens–featuring everything from “Fancy Nancy” and “Harry Potter” to “Musical Theatre” and “Acting Technique.” As always, stay tuned to local theater companies for news of special master classes and educational programs.

Update: The Mesa Arts Center presents their season kick-off party Fri, Sept 10, from 6-10pm at Mesa Contemporary Arts, their visual arts exhibit space featuring five galleries. The event will include performances by founding resident companies, live outdoor entertainment, artist demonstrations, a Native American marketplace, a book signing by Jana Mashonee and special appearances.