Tag Archives: Metropolitan Museum of Art

Going rogue?

I've always got my eye out for art -- like this "Right Eye from an Arthropoid Coffin" (1539-30 B.C., Egypt) recently spotted at the Brooklyn Museum in NYC

I feel a bit rogue sometimes — writing for an Arizona magazine, but finding such delight in covering NYC arts and culture. So I decided maybe it was time to share with readers in both states, plus others, my rationale for marrying the two. The initial lure, of course, was our youngest daughter Lizabeth. Like many born and raised in Arizona, she’s chosen to further her arts education in NYC — so I visit several times a year in “mom mode.”

But the bridge between Arizona and NYC (plus Chicago and other communities with a heavy arts footprint) is a two-way street. Many who teach and create art in Arizona communities hail from NYC or other parts of the country, and I enjoy giving voice to the places and spaces that’ve nurtured the gifts enjoyed by Arizona art lovers.

Art is all around and deep within us. Traveling without covering regional arts and culture would be like refusing to breath another city’s air. Suffocating. Rather than distracting Arizona readers from the beauty of our own arts bounty, I hope my writing “on the road” inspires a greater appreciation for the multitude of marvels here at home. Photos from a children’s museum in Manhattan or Las Vegas might inspire a family to visit the Children’s Museum of Phoenix or the Tucson Children’s Museum. So it’s all good.

Sometimes it feels like the art is keeping an eye on you -- like "Curious and Curiouser" by Mary Lucking and David Tinapple in the Arizona Science Center lobby

I’m fortunate to have lots of “Stage Mom” readers in NYC, and hope my blogging on both states’ offerings inspires them to consider the depth and breadth of Arizona arts and culture. We get plenty of bad press, and I’m privileged to cover what’s best about our state. Young poets, skilled playwrights, talented musicians, inspiring dancers, gifted actors. Also arts educators in our schools, museums and various community venues. Tourism takes place in both directions — and I’m an unapologetic missionary for the Arizona arts scene.

I suppose some of my kinship with NYC was born of years attending touring Broadway productions at ASU Gammage. I take special delight on reporting from NYC about shows I’ve seen on Valley stages — plus shows that’ll likely head our way during future tours. Only seeing “War Horse” performed at Lincoln Center in NYC enabled me to appreciate how fortunate we are that it’ll gallop into ASU Gammage during their 2012-13 season.

Some people seem to spy art wherever they go -- like this "Untitled" (1961) by Lee Bontecou that's exhibited at the Phoenix Art Museum

Some assume that Arizonans are settling for mediocre on-stage and museum fare, but trips to NYC have heightened my appreciation for local offerings. Sometimes I find things that Arizona could use a lot more of — like arts and culture originating in Africa. Other times, I find modest NYC exhibits of Native American or Latino artworks that make clear the excellence of Arizona collections.

Stumbling on the Brooklyn Children’s Museum’s “Pattern Wizardry” in NYC years after I’d taken my children to enjoy the traveling exhibit at Mesa’s Arizona Museum for Youth reminded me, like Dorothy in her ruby red slippers, that you needn’t head over the rainbow to find what’s good and right in the world.

Still, we know that plenty of Arizona families travel — making choices when they do about where to invest precious resources like time and money. In an amusement park world, I’m keen on reminding parents to consider arts and cultural destinations too. Youth theater in San Diego. Orchestral concerts in Los Angeles. Public art in Las Vegas. Dance performance in Orlando. It’s all part of upping their appreciation for aesthetics, and the arts and culture industry so critical to a healthy American economy.

Teach your kids to look for art wherever they go -- like this eye detail on the glass house by Therman Statom located just outside the SMoCA young@art gallery in Scottsdale

It’s easy to take Arizona arts and culture for granted, forgetting just how exceptional our own theater companies from Childsplay to Valley Youth Theatre can be. Seeing touring productions from other parts of the country often reminds me that some of the country’s best artists live right here among us. Wowed as I was by a touring Kennedy Center production of “Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical” performed a while back at Higley Center for the Performing Arts, it confirmed my suspicion that Childsplay in Tempe routinely achieves the same high quality of theater performance for students and families.

Seeing works performed during the Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City each summer always makes me more committed to attending Southwest Shakespeare Company productions here at home. Admiring works of glass art at the Brooklyn Museum last week left me eager to explore more glass art here at home. Similarly, performances enjoyed here in the Valley up my appreciation for works by artists in other places. During my last trip to NYC, I spent an evening watching local arts programming from Thirteen WNET New York Public Media — eager to watch a show about young poets after covering state Poetry Out Loud finals here in the Valley.

Comparing and contrasting are essential to the craft of theater criticism and other elements of arts reporting, so I’d be foolish to check my memories of places like the Louvre, the British Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art at the door when entering “Stage Mom” mode. The more I experience, the more I have to share with Arizona readers. “Going rogue” has a lovely ring to it, but there’s a circle to what I do — and Arizona will always be my center.

– Lynn

Coming up: Let’s talk “Bully”

Faces of diversity

Today Muslims the world over are observing Eid al-Adha, which commemorates Abraham’s selfless devotion to God. Valley mosques are hosting special morning prayers, and local Muslims will be gathering with family and friends to celebrate at Encanto Park, Castles N’ Coasters and other child-friendly venues.

The occasion got me thinking a bit more about Islamic arts and culture. I’ve long admired the architecture of the mosque in Tempe located near the little theater that was once home to Childsplay. It’s right next to Salam’s Market & Deli – where I sometimes join my daughter Jennifer, a cultural anthroplogy major at ASU, for lunch.

I’m looking forward to exploring the Metropolitan Museum of Art next time I’m in New York City visiting my other daughter Lizabeth, an acting major at Pace University. The museum recently opened fifteen new galleries, which now house more than 1,000 items from its extensive collection of Islamic art.

During my last trip to NYC, I viewed an exhibit titled “NYChildren,” which runs through Dec. 21. It features “a salon-style presentation of over 160 beautiful color portraits of children.” Each hails from a different country, and each lives in NYC.

The exhibit is located at Park51 Community Center, a site some of the more fearful among us once dubbed “the mosque at Ground Zero.” It sits on the same unassuming street as the Amish Market and The Anne Frank Center USA. Visitors pass a small room filled with prayer rugs as they enter the exhibit, but otherwise it looks like any other gallery space.

The following photos include a couple I took that day, plus three sent to me by the center. Each photograph in the exhibit is the work of artist Danny Goldfield, who shares that NYChildren “was inspired by the idea that the better we know our neighbors, the more open and healthy our lives become.”

Park51 Community Center in New York City

One portion of the NYChildren exhibit at Park51 in New York City

Danny Goldfield photograph of an NYC child from Afganistan

Danny Goldfield photograph of an NYC child from Ireland

Danny Goldfield photo of an NYC child from Mali

Every culture gives us children, and children are the future. Love them, cherish them, respect them and appreciate them.

– Lynn

Note: Click here to enjoy the faces and artwork of children closer to home. Click here to learn about a companion book to the NYChildren exhibit.

Coming up: Anne Frank exhibit returns to Arizona

Update: The Islamic Center of Tucson has rescheduled its Eid Al-Adha picnic due to anticipated poor weather. It’s now scheduled to take place Sun, Nov. 20 from 1-5pm at McCormick Park in Tucson.

Kids remember 9/11

This 9/11 Peace Story Quilt on exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art was designed by Faith Ringgold. It features three panels created by NYC students ages 8-19.

Folks in NYC have plenty of art-related opportunities to reflect on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 this week. An art installation “made from 9/11 dust” and paintings “which contain ash from ground zero.” A quilt featuring NYC’s skyline and a quilt with three panels crafted by NYC students (pictured above). www.metmuseum.org.

A roving memorial called “Dances for Airports.” A concert for peace featuring the Juilliard String Quartet. A release of balloons inscribed with poetry in several languages. Even a human chain open to anyone who wants to join hands in Battery Park at 8:46am on Sept 10.

Work by a student from the Calhoun School class of 2006

My favorite events and exhibits feature the words and works of youth — like a series of collages created by 31 thirteen year olds who started 8th grade together at Calhoun School that tragic day. Their “9/11: Through Young Eyes,” a project coordinated by teachers Helen Bruno and Jessica Houston, will be exhibited at the D C Moore Gallery in Chelsea Sept 8 – Oct 8. www.dcmooregallery.com.

Several Arizona youth are participating in a community memorial service called “Moving Memories — Moving Forward.” The Sun, Sept 11 event is being presented by the Arizona Interfaith Movement, which seeks to “build bridges…through dialogue, service and the implementation of the Golden Rule.”

It’s taking place from 11:30am-12:30pm at the 9/11 memorial located at Wesley Bolin Plaza. The plaza is adjacent to the Arizona State Capitol at 17th Avenue and Adams Street just west of downtown Phoenix. Program highlights include remarks by Donna Killoughey Bird, a mother of two whose husband Gary Bird (a UA grad and longtime resident of Tempe) died in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

High school student Kris Curtis will play the national anthem on trumpet after emcee Pat McMahon opens the ceremony. Following several prayers and speakers, ten children will “say the Golden Rule from ten different faith traditions.” www.azifm.org.

Eighth grade students from the Temple Emanu-El Kurn Religious School in Tucson will lead a “9/11 Interfaith Memorial Service” Sun, Sept 11 (10am) at Handmaker Jewish Services for the Aging. www.handmaker.org.

A new book titled “Art for Heart: Remembering 9/11″ (with introduction by Alice M. Greenwald) features drawings, murals, paintings and poems by children who were affected by the terrorist attack.

“The Day Our World Changed: Children’s Art of 9/11″ (by Robin F. Goodman, Ph.D. and Andrea Henderson Fahnestock) began as a project of the New York Child Study Center in NYC. It was published several years ago, but it’s every bit as compelling today.

Many of the works featured in “The Day Our World Changed” have been donated to the 9/11 Memorial Museum in Lower Manhattan, which first opens for families on 9/11 this year. The general public can visit the museum (with pre-purchased tickets due to high demand) starting 9/12. My daughter Lizabeth plans to tour the museum this week with other students from Pace University. www.911memorial.org.

NBC airs a Darlow Smithson Productions documentary titled “Children of 9/11″ tonight, Sept 5, but folks who miss it can watch local listings for rebroadcast information. More than 3,000 children lost a parent on 9/11, and this special follows 11 of them for a period of one year.

The Day Our World Changed includes this work by Matthew Sussman

If you missed the Sept 1 broadcast of “What Happened? The Story of September 11, 2001,” a 30-minute Nickelodeon program geared for younger viewers, you can watch it online — then read an online discussion guide created by psychologist Robin H. Gurwitch, Ph.D. for Nickelodeon and the American Psychological Association. www.nicknews.com and www.parentsconnect.com.

Stories of more than 40 twins who lost a sibling on 9/11 are the subject of a BBC Wales documentary titled “Twins of the Twin Towers.” It’s being broadcast on Sun, Sept 11 on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).

Be thoughtful, in the days ahead, about how much time you spend watching programs that show the traumatic events of 9/11 in graphic detail. Most aren’t suitable for children, and even kids who didn’t lose a loved one on 9/11 can feel traumatized by exposure to the events of that day.

– Lynn

Note: Donna Killoughey Bird will share her story several times in comings days. Hear her speak Tues, Sept 6 (noon) at the Mustang Library auditorium or Thurs, Sept 15 (6pm) at the Civic Center Library auditorium in Scottsdale (Register at www.scottsdaleaz.gov). Or meet her Sun, Sept 11 (3pm) at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, where she’ll be signing “Nothing Will Separate Us” (part of the proceeds go to scholarships, service awards and educational support for young adults). www.changinghands.com/event.

Coming up: 9/11 takes center stage, Children’s books inspired by 9/11

Update: Find a collection of children’s drawings from “The Day Our World Changed” at www.pbs.org/newshour/multimedia/911children

First chance, last chance

Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre performs "Joseph" through Aug 21

Though summer heat means thinner event calendars for some Valley venues, there’s still plenty to do. Every weekend seems to have its own flavor, and this weekend–which features your first and last chance to see several community theater productions–is no exception.

One of my all-time favorite musicals, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” opened last night at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Mesa. It’s fun for all ages and features an interesting mix of upbeat tunes like “Any Dream Will Do” with more soulful selections such as “Close Every Door.”

Last Chance: "Forever Plaid" at Hale Centre Theatre closes Saturday

Desert Stages Theatre in Scottsdale opens “The Wedding Singer” today, July 9. Though it runs through Aug 1, you might want to see it sooner rather than later. Their shows often sell out, especially when adoring family and friends pack the house to enjoy the show and show their support.

Also opening today is the 13th Annual “Hormel New Works Festival” at Phoenix Theatre, which features staged readings of new works by emerging and established playwrights. It’s a solid out-of-the-ordinary choice for date night or a get-together with friends.

Moira Smiley plays the Musical Instrument Museum on July 9

Music lovers of all ages have a friend in the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, which presents diverse musical performers on a regular basis. Tonight it’s Moira Smiley and VOCO, who specialize in “vocal harmonies and vaudevillian accompaniment.” It’s a one time deal, so head out to the MIM tonight if you can still get tickets and find the vocals/vaudeville combo intriguing. Sat, July 10, kids 8-11 can enjoy “Build a Rhythm Workshop: Making Drums From Around the World” from 10am-noon. $35. Preregister.

On the family-friendly front there’s the “Off the Cuff” Comedy Improv Show” at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe (near other treasures like Hoodlum’s Music & Movies, Wildflower Bread Company and more). The 7pm show features a comedy troupe performing “family-friendly improv created from audience member suggestions.”

Free "Cars & Guitars" opens in Tempe

High on the list of “last chance” shows worth seeing is the Hale Centre Theatre production of “Forever Plaid,” a musical featuring 28 songs steeped in ’50s harmonies, which closes at the Gilbert theater after its final July 10 performance. Their children’s theater will open “The Little Mermaid” that same day, and it’ll run through Nov 27. I’m looking forward to reviewing it once my summer settles down a bit.

Saturday is your first chance to enjoy a unique collection of Fender-theme musical instruments (the company is based in Scottsdale), cars and memorabilia at Tempe Center for the Arts (the exhibit runs through Oct 16). This baby isn’t just fun, it’s free.

"Yellow Bird Dancers" perform Saturday at the Heard Museum in Phoenix

So is the Heard Museum’s “Sizzlin’ Summer Saturday” complete with entry to the Phoenix museum’s 10 exhibits, kids’ activities, music, dance performance and more. Not visiting the Heard Museum is like living a lifetime in NYC but never making it to the MoMA or the Met.

Who would do such a thing?

Another local treasure offering free festivities this Saturday, July 10, is the ASU Art Museum in Tempe. Their 11th Annual “Family Fun Day” from 10am-2pm includes 11am-noon activities with CONDER/dance.

First chance: "The Little Mermaid" opens at Hale this weekend

You can wind down your weekend with a Sunday afternoon performance by a sax quartet and harpist as part of the Phoenix Art Museum’s “Downtown Chamber Series,” for which advance reservations are recommended.

And finally, Sunday is your last chance to see the Great Arizona Puppet Theater perform “Goldilocks,” which they describe as “a slapstick version of the traditional tale.”

Go ahead, explore more than one. You deserve that much happiness this weekend…

–Lynn

Great Arizona Puppet Theater presents "Goldilocks"

Note: Always call ahead to confirm dates, times, location, ages, ticket requirements and such. For more family-friendly fare, start each day with a visit to our online calendar of events and activities happening around the Valley and state (or subscribe to the monthly magazine so you have a calendar to keep in your diaper bag, planner or glove box).

Coming up: Lynn reads a lot into “Despicable Me,” a new movie her daughter Lizabeth prefers to think of as simply fun. Also playing in Phoenix for just a few days this week is “Grease: Sing-A-Long.” Showings in other cities are selling out quickly so don’t delay if you want to join the fun. The PG-13 movie comes to the AMC Esplanade 14 on July 15-18. For times and tickets, visit www.greasemovie.com.

Photos courtesy of artists/venues (Hale Centre Theatre photos by Wade Moran)

The fine art of flooding

Much of life is more interesting, and inspiring, when passed through a prism of art…

So when the offices for Raising Arizona Kids magazine flooded recently, my mind turned to musing about floods of recent times, such as the New Orleans flood of 2005. 

"Flood-Marker" Sculpture in New Orleans

While meandering with my mouse, I happened upon a sculpture called “Flood-Marker,” shown on the Arts Council of New Orleans website with an artist’s statement saying the work is “intended to memorialize…without overt judgment.” 

The approach seemed a stark contrast to a profound work of art I’d listened to earlier that morning, the cast recording for the new Broadway musical “American Idiot”–in which Green Day’s lyrics combine with every pounding note to pass judgment on American ignorance and idolatry. 

I also discovered Robert Polidori’s “After the Flood.” It’s a book of photographs Polidori captured in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, some of which were exhibited by The Metropolitan Museum of Art on the first anniversary of that devastating deluge, and will soon find a home in my own little library (where I now do my daily blogging free of humming appliances). 

Photo from The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Soon I learned of a lovely little event in Nashville that sounds akin to Phoenix’s own First Fridays Art Walk. Seems they do a first Saturdays “Art Crawl” that was impacted by torrential storms during May festivities. Their gallery community has already come together to help raise funds for flood relief efforts through a special gallery opening titled “We Art Nashville.” 

But why, you might wonder, would these things be of any interest to readers living in the Arizona desert? They serve, I think, as a powerful reminder of the absolute need for art as a means of private and public expression of our deepest feelings—from grief and loss to shame and solidarity. 

We’re truly fortunate, as a magazine family, to have the luxury of learning to let go. The flooded office space may be helping us along, but it’s something I suspect many of us—especially the midlife moms in our midst—were already tackling. It’s a far cry from having the people and places we love wrenched from us with true fury.

Still, the letting go is a good thing. 

Painting exhibited at Treadway Gallery

I chatted with some very generous-of-spirit folks yesterday as I sought out Arizona connections between art and flooding. They reminded me that some of the things we don’t often think about can happen, and have happened, here (reminding me further of RAK writer/producer Vicki Louk Balint’s latest post on mold amidst the dry desert Southwest). 

When an amazing archivist with ASU Libraries called and began to rattle off all the floods Arizona has experienced during the last decade or so (by city and year), I knew I was swirling in waters way over my head. I wasn’t raised in Arizona, so I don’t have the benefit of all those Arizona history lessons recounting the ways our rivers, and sometime flooding, have impacted our geography and our people. 

I’d hoped to head out to at least one of the many Arizona museums that might shed light on this topic for me, but ended up at home with a daughter who wasn’t feeling all that well. Instead, I assembled my “floods and field trips” notes so we can up our FQ (flood quotient) during future adventures. 

"Flood Waters" by Monet

I’m eager to tackle the Deer Valley Rock Art Center in Phoenix. I’ve been there many times, but never connected the dots about how flooding in the region was actually responsible for the center’s development. I’ll also hit the Arizona Museum of Natural History and the SRP Heritage History Center to learn more about the impact of water on the development of Arizona’s natural resources. 

Also on my list of things to explore while in FSI (flood scene investigation) mode: Arizona Historical Society Museum at Papago Park in Phoenix, Tempe Historical Museum (once it reopens following renovations), River of Time Museum in Fountain Hills and Heard Museum (in Phoenix and Scottsdale). 

I’ll pop in to Hayden Library at ASU to check out archived photos of flood waters from various times in Arizona history, and hit Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix to check their related offerings. While at ASU, by the way, I’m going to check out the “Trading Cloth and Culture Exhibit” at the ASU Museum of Anthropology (through June 30 only).

"Flood and Waters Subsiding" by Uccello

If these don’t quench my thirst for art and flooding FAQs, I can try exploring a whole other area noted by one of the museum curators I spoke with yesterday—the tragedy of art damaged and destroyed by flooding and some of the remarkable ways Arizona has helped other states preserve their treasures. 

Just be glad I’m no longer homeschooling my children. I’d be all over flooding as a theme to carry across disciplines. Don’t even get me started… 

–Lynn 

1970s "The Flood" by Norman Adams RA

Coming up: AriZoni winners reflect on what the awards have meant to them personally and professionally, Spotlight on Childsplay’s first international tour, Opportunity to create art for the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, Awards for businesses that support the arts in Arizona, Update from the Arizona Commission on the Arts

Update: Our hearts go out to families affected by recent flooding in Arkansas. To learn more about emergency preparedness, visit www.redcross.org, www.fema.gov or www.noaa.gov.