What do saws, ribbons and pianos have in common?

I stumbled on some interesting lists while surfing the websites of Valley arts organizations the other day. I’m always amazed at what I find when I take even a few minutes to check up on music, dance, theater and other arts organizations that feature family-friendly fare.

Did you know that the Children’s Museum of Phoenix has an emergency need for a working wheelchair of any size? Or that Free Arts of Arizona is seeking Polaroid 600 film? Or that the Phoenix Boys Choir hopes to secure a cherry picker?

I certainly didn’t—until I discovered these items listed on their respective online ‘wish lists.’ It turns out that several Valley arts organizations have them, but too often the lists seem like ‘best kept secrets.’ That seems a pity, really, so I’m going to spread the word.

The following are partial or complete ‘wish lists’ from a sampling of Valley arts organizations serving youth and families. I hoped to find more, but it appears that many arts organizations don’t have them or haven’t yet put them online. Perhaps this post will help change that.

The Children’s Museum of Phoenix needs changing table pads, laptop computers, ceramic condiment jars and receptacles from other countries, flashlights and batteries, flower pots (terra cotta and ceramic), toy building blocks (all shapes and sizes) and other items. See www.childrensmuseumofphoenix.org to learn more.

Free Arts of Arizona needs good quality paint brushes, gift cards (for craft stores, home improvement stores, discount stores, etc.), 8” wooden embroidery hoops, new white t-shirts (adult, youth and children’s sizes), clay (Sculpey and Model Magic) and other supplies. See www.freeartsaz.org to learn more.

Greasepaint Youtheatre needs power tools (saws, drills, a gas type welder with wire feed), house paint and brushes (for murals), graphic design and printing services, repair services for their building marquee, office supplies, a color printer, black foam poster boards and other materials. Visit www.phoenixtheatre.com to learn more.

The Phoenix Boys Choir needs a new or gently used computer monitor, pianos for rehearsal rooms, American Express points (in groups of 20,000 points), a Yamaha P85 88-key digital piano and a $1,000 sponsor for a Clear Channel Billboard production (plus that fabulous cherry picker). See www.boyschoir.org to learn more.

I love the ‘wish list’ concept because it allows me to give and get involved in meaningful ways in lots of different places. You’ll never see my name on the side of an arts venue, but that’s okay—because my contributions are made in smaller ways. Still, I love to make them.

I remember going with my 18-year-old daughter to get Post-It notes for a political campaign office not so very long ago (the brownies we baked never made it because they were on her dad’s ‘wish list’). We didn’t have tons of time or money to give, but we made time to help fill a simple need.

There isn’t a doubt in my mind that if we all took some time this week to buy and share some construction paper, some paint brushes, some scissors or some glue sticks—we’d make the world a better place. (And if ever there was a week to deliver wiggly eyes and sequins to Capitol Hill, this might be it.)

Every dollar an arts organization saves through donations like these is another dollar they have for programs that teach our children to enjoy and experience a myriad of art forms—from music and dance to painting and poetry.

So make time for ‘wish lists’—they really do matter.


Note: My 16-year-old daughter is touring Washington, D.C. and NYC with some schoolmates this week. If they wander past any offices strewn with brightly colored feathers or pipe cleaners, they’ll know who sent them…


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