The fine art of New Year’s Eve

Watching television coverage of a giant apple a la disco ball drop in Times Square was never really my cup of tea, so I’m pleased to report that Arizona art-lovers have plenty of other options for celebrating New Year’s Eve this year.

Here’s a brief sampling of offerings, but remember to check your local performing arts venues, museums and galleries for additional festivities…

“Chicago” performed at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Mesa. Includes production, champagne toast, party favors, dancing and an upscale buffet. Dinner 7pm/Curtain 9pm. $99 (before gratuity).

“From Venice with Love!” performed by the Phoenix Symphony at Symphony Hall in Phoenix. Features Loras John Schissel, conductor, and Anna-Lisa Hackett, soprano. Includes the works of seven composers, from Strauss to Sousa. $27-$83.

“New Year’s Eve Bash” at the Tempe Center for the Performing Arts. Features performance by Sherry Petta (jazz vocalist, pianist) with Doug Mann (guitar). Also includes dancing, heavy appetizers and no-host bar. Presented by Friends of TCA. 7:30pm-12:30am. Free parking. Fireworks at 1opm and midnight.

“Noon Year’s Eve” at the Phoenix Zoo. Features music, fun and games with Radio Disney. Includes tons of snow (with a special snow area for toddlers), a snowball target practice area, prize drawings and giveaways. 9am-Noon (event closes with a special cider toast for the kids). Free with regular Zoo admission.

“Zoppe: An Italian Family Circus Since 1842” performs on the West Lawn of the Chandler Center for the Arts. Includes a one-ring circus performance with a central story featuring acrobatics, equestrian showmanship, clowning and audience participation. Noon, 4pm and 7:30pm (evening show includes party favors). $20-$35.

Also be on the lookout for events celebrating New Year’s that take place sometime other than the night of Dec 31, 2010. Several child-centered activities are taking place during the day on or around New Year’s Eve. A few examples…

“Celebrate with SOUND!: Noisemakers for New Year’s Eve” at the Musical Instrument Museum (the MIM) in Phoenix. Parents and children work together to make three festive instruments perfect for ringing in the New Year. Includes short visits to MIM exhibits that’ll teach kids more about these instruments and their cultures of origin.

The workshop culminates with a “sound check” parade. Wed, Dec 29 10:30am-noon or 1:30-3pm. $15 per child (1 adult can attend free and bring up to three children) in the Experience Gallery classroom. Museum admission can be purchased for those wishing to experience the museum as well.

“Come Play Today!” at the Children’s Museum of Phoenix. Includes a “Noisemakers” art activity from 2-4pm. Free with museum admission. The museum presents “Winterfest” art activities in their Art Studio 10am-3pm Dec 26-31 — with various projects kids and parents can enjoy together.

This month, children continue to decorate a “Puppet Theater Barn” and paint a “Castle Playhouse.” Those who visit Dec 26-31 can help create a museum “Giving Tree,” based on Shel Silverstein’s book, composed of handprints with messages about ways to help others in the New Year — and make a “Dove of Peace” to nest in the tree.

Of course, plenty of partying takes place in Phoenix throughout the year — much of it meant to support good causes, like increasing the availability and accessibility of Arizona arts and culture.

So watch for a future post on upcoming galas that’ll raise your spirits — as well as critical funding for all that art, dance, music and theater we enjoy in the Valley of the Sun.

— Lynn

Note: If your arts organization has a New Year’s Eve event or 2011 gala fundraiser on the books, please drop me a line at rakstagemom@gmail.com so we can share the news with our readers.

Coming up: The Phoenix Metro as mobile museum

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