Tag Archives: owls

Gifts of art

James told me a proper "Stage Mom" needs a Broadway Cares tote bag

The arts were front and center as we celebrated Christmas this year. Everyone got books — and mine included Stephen Sondheim’s “Finishing the Hat.” There were Broadway Cares T-shirts, totes and such — all in support of Equity Fights AIDS.

My son Christopher gave me a nifty camera that’ll fit in my pocket or purse for those times I find myself unexpectedly at the scene of an arts adventure — whether a street fair, a gallery collection, a museum exhibit or a student performance.

Jennifer made me a lovely piece of original art — an homage of sorts to my “Stage Mom” blog. It’s a twist on an IOU for a notebook she’s putting together with copies of each of my nearly 500 posts.

Since so many of my art musings double as miniature memoirs, I want to be sure my children have them to read once I’m farther along in the circle of life.

The Sondheim, of course, was a gift from Lizabeth — who is enjoying her last Christmas living at home before heading off to college in the fall.

This gift spent plenty of time in others' hands before I got to really enjoy it

I called that one before I even unwrapped the box, since the book has a rather distinctive size and shape — and since I’d just seen a Sondheim appearance on “The Colbert Report.”

I held the wrapped book up to my forehead a la Johnny Carson’s “Carnac the Magnificent” from “The Tonight Show” of so many years ago — predicting that it contained Stephen Sondheim.

The Carnac bit went over the heads of everyone in the room except my hubby and his parents as Lizabeth assured me that she had not, in fact, stuffed Sondheim into the package. Alas.

My in-laws gave me a lovely piece of garden art and other treasures — including a tote bag from the National Audubon Society, which I dearly love because it pictures two owls. My mother collected owls for many years and they remind me of her still. (Figurines, not live birds.)

Apparently friends and family prefer that I write about art rather than making it myself. No fingerpaints. No canvas. No clay. It would be enough for them, I suppose, if I could master the art of taking a really good photo.

A very special friend thought to hunt down a book I adore but haven’t been able to locate in town — “The Day Our World Changed: Children’s Art of 9/11.” That darling child caught on video snubbing a book he got from Santa has much to learn.

Several of the gifts we exchanged, like this 2010 Tony T-shirt, support Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS

I have much to be grateful for this holiday season — including the opportunity to experience the riches of art, music, theater and dance in a world where so many people don’t even have a roof over their heads or food to feed their families.

If you’ve been especially moved by an arts experience in your community, consider giving something of yourself to assure that Arizona arts and culture remain vibrant for future generations.

A financial gift before the end of the year. A regular committment of volunteer service during the New Year. A resolution to spend more time enjoying the arts with friends and family.

With all the arts have given us, now is the perfect time of year to give back…

– Lynn

Note: To learn more about the arts scene in Arizona and ways you can get involved, visit the Arizona Commission on the Arts, Arizona Citizens Action for the Arts and the Arizona Humanities Council.

Coming up: Stage Mom’s “Best of Broadway” quotes, Music & memories, Outdoor concert fun

Art adventures: Heard Museum North

When I was a little girl, my mother used to collect owls. I suspect it started with a simple gift from a friend, but you can imagine how it grew through the years as I got my hands on various pins, figurines and art supplies.

At some point, her interest shifted to American Indian art — often acquired during trips to or through Arizona. I know very little about the pieces she gathered, but I learn a little bit more each time I visit the Heard Museum in either Phoenix or Scottsdale.

Recently I explored the Heard Museum North in Scottsdale with my son Christopher, who was in grade school when my mother died. Together we’re learning about and enjoying the art that “Nana” so dearly loved.

We took along a camera, but have since discovered that the manual focus on one of our lenses needs repair — so you’ll have to forgive some of the fuzziness in  the photos that follow.

Still, I hope you’ll get a good feel for the museum’s many offerings — and feel inspired to do some exploring of your own.

The Heard Museum North welcomes visitors with a lovely garden complete with desert plants, a water feature and statuary

The Heard Museum North Cafe features a patio where you can enjoy roasted pear salad, a hummus veggie wrap and more

The Heard Museum North features a warm and welcoming gift shop full of books, jewelry, music, artwork and more

This "Chicken Coop" display in the gift shop features Navajo Folk Art that rivals my mom's owl collection

One of the first works we encountered after entering the museum's exhibit space

This display features Hopi katsina dolls and a Hopi ceremonial calendar

Items on exhibit include baskets, paintings, prints, sculpture, rugs, katsina dolls and much more

Heard Museum North presents diverse educational programming and special events

Children will enjoy the museum’s collection of art objects featuring animals such as horses, birds and bears

It’s a particularly lovely time of year to visit the Heard Museum North in Scottsdale because the weather is perfect for enjoying the museum’s outdoor elements and other destinations in the area.

A very kind and knowledgable woman at the museum’s welcome desk told us about the Cave Creek Museum just up the road.

Some folks from Ohio  suggested we make special note of the Heard’s jewelry selection, best described as one-of-a-kind wearable art.

Take your holiday shopping list if you have one since the museum gift shop offers a wealth of unique items in all price ranges. Think teachers, children, family and friends.

Take your camera too, but make sure all the parts are in good working order.  There’s nothing like a good shot of a cactus in bloom, or a flowing rather than frozen water feature, for the front of custom holiday cards going to snowbound family and friends.

Saguaros are like snowflakes — no two are ever the same.

– Lynn

Note: Learn more about museums in the North Scottsdale area at the Central Arizona Museum Association website.

Coming up: Lynn and Christopher explore one of his early childhood favorites — the Arizona Science Center – which currently features an exhibit titled “RACE: Are We So Different?”