My father has a rather interesting decorating style that reflects his small town upbringing in South Dakota farm country — and his years of buying and selling land in Colorado.
He has a fondness for farm implements and tools, which have adorned several walls and other spaces in his various homes through the years.
I can still picture the authentic wagon wheel suspended on a wall, the heavy black anvil sitting atop his cream-colored carpet and the assortment of rusty old parts he managed to display with a true measure of good taste.
I was reminded of his collection when I took my 21-year-old son Christopher on a bit of an art adventure last week. We went to Queen Creek, which is about an hour drive from our Scottsdale home.
The weather has finally turned tolerable, and we’re making the most of it. I was lured to Queen Creek by the prospect of exploring the Queen Creek Performing Arts Center — and the nearby San Tan Historical Society Museum.
The museum is located at the southwest corner of Queen Creek and Ellsworth. During your visit, you’ll learn about Frank Lloyd Wright’s connection to the San Tan area, as well as how this community benefited from the German POWs.
The drive to Queen Creek reminded me of bygone field trip days when I used to have the kids and their friends play “I-Spy” for sights along the streets and freeways.
There were no video players in cars, or portable DVD players, back then. I consider it a good thing — because it gave us more time for observation and conversation.
Were Christopher younger, I’d have broken the drive into two smaller jaunts by stopping along the way to explore the airport and museum at Falcon Field in Mesa. (Were I younger, we wouldn’t have needed the pit stop at McDonald’s.)
We headed to the San Tan Historical Society Museum first, since it’s open just one morning during the week (plus Saturday). It’s a red brick building from the mid-1920s that’s listed on a national registry of historic buildings.
Behind the museum sits a small yard with a half dozen or so pieces of weathered farm equipment once used in the area, which still sports impressive citrus groves.
It took me right back to those weekend visits with dad — and made me wish I’d packed a picnic basket to enjoy on the building’s short stack of steps.
Next we hit the the performing arts center, which is adjacent to Queen Creek High School — home of the mighty Bulldogs. A bronze bulldog statue sits atop the overhang you pass under to reach the school office.
I’m eager to return to the center to enjoy a live performance — and it looks like I’ll have plenty of options to choose from. They have a main theatre series, a family theatre series and a special events series.
I have my eye on “Tap Kids,” billed as a “joyous celebration of youth culture” featuring “eight of the nation’s most talented tap dancers.” It’s coming up on Nov 6.
Emmy Award winner Robert Wuhl performs “Assume the Position” on Feb 5. I’m told it “delivers an imaginative, irreverent comedic history lesson” that includes a look at “facts, myths and myths-that-became-facts.”
I’m going to start warming up my smile muscles now.
“One Man Star Wars” hits Queen Creek on Oct 30 and contemporary country group “Gloriana” takes the stage Dec 3.
This weekend you can enjoy one of two remaining performances of “The Brothers Grimm: Out of Order” — either Sat, Oct 23 at 2pm or Mon, Oct 25 at 7pm.
Upcoming family theatre productions include “Disney’s Alice in Wonderland Jr.” (Nov 20), “Unstoppable Me!” (Mar 12, 2011) and “Hairspray” (April 9, 2011).
When you head to Queen Creek to take in a show, consider making a day (or even weekend) of it. And tell the fine folks at Eddie Maroni’s pizza joint that we loved the lunch special.
Driving in and around Queen Creek, we spotted all sorts of fun sights — including cattle, horses and sheep. (Alas — my son has little patience for me stopping to photograph every cute animal that crosses my path.)
Being a bit of a sign fanatic, I also took note of the cardboard sign advertising “fresh organic milk” and the yellow diamond-shaped traffic sign with the cattle icon.
As we headed home for dinner, I was reminded of why I spent so much time on similar adventures when my three kids were younger. It was something Christopher said as we left Queen Creek…
“There’s a whole lot of world out there.”
Note: To suggest a Valley city for an upcoming “Art adventures” post, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coming up: Pirates meet opera, Once upon “The Wiz,” Stop the “Glee” bashing!