Tag Archives: native american 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

Arts in Education Week

During a recent episode of “Jeopardy,” the final question required knowledge of both children’s literature and opera. Think Milne’s “Winnie the Pooh” meets Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Mikado.” Only one contestant seemed to know much about either — and he walked away with the cash. I’m guessing there’s an art teacher he ought to be thanking back home.

It’s been heartening to see arts and culture play such a pivotal role in 9/11 anniversary ceremonies. Sunday’s event at the newly opened 9/11 Memorial in NYC featured Yo-Yo Ma, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Emi Ferguson, Paul Simon and James Taylor. Opening remarks by Michael Bloomberg quoted Shakespeare, and poetry was prevalent throughout.

The Pushcart Players perform one of five school shows offered by Mesa Arts Center this season

Too often our nation forgets all that has been forged by arts and culture, and fails to appreciate the role they can play in moving us forward. So I’m delighted that Congress passed a bill last year designating the second week of September “National Arts in Education Week.”

For those who love the arts, no explanation of their impact or importance is needed. Art is an instinct, in impulse. An adventure of imagination as necessary as air. For others, they seem a mere nicety at best — perhaps because the joys of art never touched their lives as children.

But those unmoved by art’s aesthetic power should recognize its more tangible benefits. Art creates jobs. Creates cities where people want to live. Creates schools full of innovators and imaginators. Maybe even the “creative class” touted by a presidential candidate in his stump speeches.

Ninety percent of Arizonans believe that arts education is either important or very important, according to results of a public opinion poll conducted by ASU in May 2009 — a poll cited in the background report for this year’s Arizona Town Hall, the first of 98 Arizona Town Halls to focus on Arizona arts and culture. www.aztownhall.org.

The Arizona Arts Education section of the report was authored by Mandy Buscas (then director of arts learning for the Arizona Commission on the Arts, now the arts education outreach coordinator for Mesa Arts Center) and Lynn Tuttle (director of arts education for the Arizona Department of Education).

MAC presents Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters for grades K-6

Their work considers results of the 2009 Arts Education Census. It also looks at federal, state and local educational policies — noting that state support for arts in education has suffered significant losses of late due to “efforts to close significant stage budget shortfalls.”

Their reporting on the arts census notes that “20% of schools offered no courses in any arts discipline” and that “79% of schools spend less than $1 per year per student for arts instruction.” This despite the fact that U.S. employers rank creativity/innovation among the top five skills growing in importance.

So what can be done to move Arizona forward? A report issued after the Arizona Town Hall on arts and culture says that “Arizona residents need to speak up, stand for what we support, and make that support known at the ballot box at all levels, from the legislature, to the superintendent of public instruction, and to local school boards.”

It sounds rather daunting if you’re not accustomed to advocating for issues with local and stage officials, but there are plenty of resources to help you get started — including Arizona Citizens Action for the Arts. www.azcitizensforthearts.org.

The report also urges the arts and culture community to partner with the business community to “lobby for improved arts education” — and calls on nonprofit organizations and arts professionals in our communities to “continue augmenting arts education in the schools.” Think artist residencies, school field trips and such.

There’s plenty we can do as parents. Volunteer to help with art projects in the classroom. Coordinate field trips to places like libraries, performing arts venues, museums and exhibit spaces. Donate art-related supplies to local schools. Urge schools to integrate arts learning into other subjects. Vote art at every opportunity.

MAC presents Native American Song & Dance for grades K-12

Folks who separate art from the other disciplines, orchestrating false dichotomies that pit science and math against music and theater should learn more about artists like Emi Ferguson, a distinguished student of both music and epidemiology. Or scientists like Oliver Sacks.

To learn more about arts and education in Arizona, sign up for the free arts learning newsletter from the Arizona Commission on the Arts. www.azarts.gov.

The latest issue features details on the Poetry Out Loud program, a student art competition, an opportunity to participate in the Kennedy Center Partners in Education program, Target field trip grants, teacher workshops and more.

As for the “Jeopardy” answer that won the big bucks, it was “Pooh-bah.”

– Lynn

Note: Additional arts in education resources include the President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities (www.pcah.gov), Americans for the Arts (www.artsusa.org) and the Arts Education Partnership (www.aep-arts.org). Learn more about Mesa Arts Center arts education programs at www.mesaartscenter.com.

Coming up: Country music meets arts and culture, Art meets airport, Who let the cats out?, Shakespeare meets Sweeney Todd

Get out, get art!

Perhaps this painting will inspire you to enjoy some art fun under the Arizona sun

Families eager to enjoy outdoor adventures this weekend can add a little art to the mix by attending “The Gathering” in Lichtfield Park. It’s a Native American art festival taking place at Scout Park — with free admission for children 12 and under.

Never fear if you missed the event on Saturday. It also runs Sunday, Jan 9, from 10am to 5pm. “The Gathering” features artists who specialize in painting, sculpture, beadwork, carving, basketry, pottery, photography and more.

Main stage performers include hoop dancer Tony Duncan and guitarist Anthony Wakefield — in addition to Grammy Award nominee and Native American Music Award winner Aaron Winter. Click here for details and a discount coupon for adult tickets.

Those of you who missed Saturday’s “MACFEST,” presented by the Mesa Arts and Cultural Festival, will have plenty of other opportunities to experience this free celebration featuring live music, works of local artists and more.

“MACFEST” takes place each Saturday this year through April 30, from 10am to 4pm, in downtown Mesa on Main and Macdonald Streets. This puts you within walking distance of two of Mesa’s kid-friendly museums — the Arizona Museum of Natural History and the Arizona Museum for Youth.

Remember too that you can always find indoor fun at the Mesa Arts Center, which is home to several performing arts companies who offer a diverse assortment of music, dance and theater (including the Southwest Shakespeare Company).

To enjoy an outdoor all-arts weekend, couple a Saturday “MACFEST” with a “Sunday A’Fair” in Old Town Scottsdale. “Sunday A’Fair” takes place Sun, Jan 9, from noon to 4pm at the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall — as well as nine other Sundays through April 3.

Each “Sunday A’Fair” features a free outdoor concert and the opportunity to enjoy a wide range of arts and crafts made by local artists — as well as hands-on art activities for children and families. You can purchase food there, or bring your own picnic basket (with blanket/lawn chair) along.

Admission to the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, which I often enjoyed with my three young children (now young adults), is free during “Sunday A’Fair” — and you can also enjoy the eclectic gift shop at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. 

Treat your children to the artwork of fellow youth by taking them to explore the “Bridges: Connecting Earth to Sky” exhibit at the “young @ art Gallery” located inside the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. It runs through Mon, Jan 17.

The Scottsdale Civic Center Library is also located at the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall, and is open Sundays from 1-5pm. The library is a lovely bit of architecture to behold, and features a giant fountain pen and ink well sculpture just outside the entrance. It’s a fun way to introduce your children to the quills used long before texting messages by cell phone took hold.

The “Sunday A’Fair” on Jan 16 is part of Scottsdale’s 2011 celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day — which they’ve dubbed “Peace & Community Day.” Featured entertainers will include Walt Richardson & The Peaceful Warriors, who promise a “classy mix of folk, rock and reggae,” and Nancy Gee, performing “sultry ballads and classic standards” from the world of jazz.

Stay tuned for word of other MLK Day celebrations, and drop me a line if your community offers outdoor art adventures that you’d like to share with our readers.

– Lynn

Note: For a comprehensive listing of family-friendly events throughout the Valley, visit the daily calendar of Raising Arizona Kids magazine online. Always check event details — including dates/times, locations, admission fees and such — before attending.

Coming up: Conversations with a 5th grade arts advocate

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

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.

Sexy in the city?

I was thrilled to discover yesterday that fellow RAK blogger Debra Rich Gettleman—who writes “Unmotherly Insights” amidst other gigs that include parenting, acting, playwriting and more—made the daily ‘best of blogs’ for WordPress for the second time.

Big '80s hair is back...But is it sexy?

I shared the news with my husband and daughters over dinner as we celebrated Jennifer’s move to on-campus housing, and we got to wondering whether a “Stage Mom” post might fare as well if I jazzed up some of my titles (as if yesterday’s “potluck” teaser wasn’t exciting enough).

Debra’s post (titled “Sexy mama!”) features a photo of the orange and pink Dunkin’ Donuts logo. Jennifer suggested I try a little “social experiment”–punctuating my posts with words like “sexy” for a week or so to see what happens.

I started wondering whether any of my upcoming topics might actually warrant this description. Classes offered by private performing arts studios? Nope. Museum-related careers? Nope. Teaching tolerance through the arts? Nope.

Then it came to me…

The Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts recently announced their upcoming season. If you think of “sexy” as intriguing, exciting and provocative, this venue clearly qualifies. Those who consider the brain a bonafide erogenous zone may be especially inclined to agree.

One of King Tut's sexier moments?

For the ‘smart equals sexy’ crowd, they’ll present the likes of singer-songwriter Lyle Lovett, comedian and banjoist Steve Martin, and Tony-Award winning actor John Lithgow (known to fans of Showtime’s “Dexter” as “The Trinity Killer”).

For the ‘exotic is sexy’ arts lover, there’s the taiko drummers of Kodo—and The Mystical Arts of Tibet.

If jazz is what turns you on, get ready for jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis, trumpeter Doc Severinsen & El Ritmo de la Vida, the Count Basie Orchestra and The Manhattan Transfer.

Sexy covered by a cat suit

Broadway buffs will delight in performances by Tony Award winners Bernadette Peters (who’ll grace the stage of the Virginia G. Piper Theater for the ARTrageous celebration in December) and Betty Buckley of CATS fame.

Fans of “Seth’s Big Fat Broadway” on SIRIUS XM are no doubt wondering whether the “a-mah-zing” Seth Rudetsky might accompany Buckley on piano, which would merit a “sexy” and “donuts” designation from some theater folk.

If you’ve read a good sampling of my 200 + “Stage Mom” posts (I never miss a day), you can likely guess what my personal favorite for the Center’s upcoming season might be…

It’s the Merce Cunningham Dance Company “Legacy Tour,” which offers your “last opportunity to see this great American dance company perform the choreography of the late Merce Cunningham before it disbands.”

My mother told me long ago that you don’t have to reveal everything to be sexy. And so I’ll offer just a few more peeks at what the Scottsdale Center for the Arts has in store…

Sexy in a Shakespearean sort of way

Film screenings. Holiday shows. Family fare. Classical music. Shakespeare. Rock opera. Political humor. Best-selling authors. Acting workshops. Hispanic heritage celebrations. Native American song and dance. And Scottsdale traditions including “Sunday A’Fair” and the “Scottsdale Arts Festival.”

Holding back a bit also gives me another excuse to go “sexy” with future posts. So stay tuned, and check the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts website in the meantime for more juicy details about all things “sexy” in their upcoming season.

When it comes to the Arizona arts scene, Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts brings “sexy” to the city…

–Lynn

Military matters

I was struck Tuesday afternoon by two sentences from a press release sent by the Arizona Commission on the Arts

The first sentence read as follows: Six Arizona museums will offer free admission to all active duty personnel and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day 2010…. 

The final sentence read like this: We imagine an Arizona where everyone can participate in and experience the arts. 

I began to consider for the first time the many challenges that military families must face in enjoying the arts and culture that’s such an integral part of the country they serve and defend each day. The limits that tours of duty place on their together time. The economic hardship of wages way beneath their worth. 

I also wondered about the ways many of America’s military members and artists might be similar. Both bring passion, dedication and immeasurable hard work to their craft. Both are essential to promoting and supporting the many freedoms we enjoy as Americans—including our rights to self-expression. 

Yet both are woefully under-appreciated, often working with too few resources amidst intolerable apathy. 

Desert Caballeros exhibit features 'cowgirl' art

So I was delighted to learn that military families across the country can enjoy free admission to more than 600 participating museums thanks to the “Blue Star Museum Initiative”–a partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts with Blue Star Families, a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit network of families from all ranks and services including guard and reserve who work to “support, connect and empower military families.” 

Arizona museums participating in the program are: 

Arizona State Museum in Tucson. This museum, located at the University of Arizona, notes that it “holds the largest whole vessel collection of Southwestern Indian pottery in the world”–and is “the primary repository for archeological materials excavated on Arizona’s state lands.” www.statemuseum.arizona.edu 

Desert Caballeros Western Museum in Wickenberg. The museum’s permanent collection features Native American arts and artifacts, gems and minerals, early Arizona street scenes and period rooms, and history dioramas. Current exhibitions include “Cowgirl Up!” featuring “art from the other half of the West” and “Snapshots of Early Twentieth Century Arizona: A Postcard Legacy” featuring the art of Jeremy Rowe. www.westernmuseum.org 

Heard Museum in Phoenix. This museum is “dedicated to the sensitive and accurate portrayal of Native arts and cultures” through combining the “stories of American Indian people from a personal perspective with the beauty of art.” Their collection features “art ranging from ancestral artifacts to contemporary paintings and jewelry.” www.heard.org  

Phoenix Art Museum presents "In the Mood"

Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff. The museum features exhibits in four main disciplines: anthropology, biology, geology and fine art. It showcases the land and people of the Colorado Plateau with permanent exhibits in five galleries and changing exhibits in three additional galleries. www.musnaz.org 

Phoenix Art Museum in Phoenix. This museum offers diverse collections including American, Asian, European, Latin American, Western American art and much more (fashion, photography, etc.). Current exhibitions include “Ansel Adams,” “Sumatra,” “Exposing Time” and “In the Mood.” www.phxart.org 

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art in Scottsdale. The museum features innovative programming that currently includes an exhibit called “Text Messages” developed through the museum’s teen “Visions” program. Other current exhibits include “Architecture + Art: 90 Days Over 100 degrees” and “Spyhopping: Adventures with Sue Chenoweth and the permanent collection.” www.smoca.org 

Mini-Time Machine Museum. This museum displays “an entertaining and interactive array of antique and contemporary miniatures as well as enchanting artifacts” and features “over 275 miniature houses and room boxes.” The museum “styles itself as a miniature time machine” in which visitors explore “different lands and times both real and imagined.” www.theminitimemachine.org 

Sue Chenoweth work on exhibit at SMOCA

If you know of a military family who might enjoy these museum adventures, please share the word. Remember too that all Arizona families are welcome to explore the arts and culture on exhibit at diverse museums throughout our state

We could all use a little more gratitude for both the women and men who serve our country in the military and the artists who further the ideas and conversations so crucial to the freedoms we all hold dear. 

–Lynn 

Note: Click here to find a list of all museums throughout the country participating in this program

Coming up: Museum-related careers, More Valley venues unveil upcoming seasons