A labor of love

Last week, after driving my college-age son Christopher to an appointment, I told him I was off to run errands. Bank. Drugstore. Grocery store. All the fun stuff.

I certainly meant well, but simply couldn’t resist the lure of the Scottsdale Civic Center as I drove past. There’s a library, a museum of contemporary art, winding park paths, a museum store, a performing arts center and restaurants galore.

If you can read this, thank a teacher -- and a librarian

I still had the Wickenberg Public Library, recently closed due to budget cuts, on the brain. I wanted to visit my own local libary, and pause a while to reflect by the giant quill and inkwell sculptures near the entrance.

View from a balcony that overlooks the corresponding ink well for this giant golden quill

The whole area — part of Scottsdale’s “Old Town” — is full of places for peaceful reflection. Think park benches, colorful gardens and calming water features.

Old Town Scottsdale is a no-GPS-required zone that's perfect for pedestrians

This was a favorite haunt when Christopher was first learning to take pictures

Plenty of tables and benches make this a great place to enjoy picnic meals or relaxed conversation

While walking through the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts (within easy walking distance of the library), I heard the cheerful voices of children — and soon followed the sound to a small theater where students from a nearby elementary school were about to enjoy a film about dance.

It was just steps away from the large open space where both my daughters have performed with fellow Dance Theater West summer campers.

There’s also a small art exhibit space nearby, the “young@art” gallery, which currently features an exhibit titled “Imagining Dance” — with sculpture, paintings, video of dance performance and more.

Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts presents dance on stage and on exhibit

Imagining Dance exhibit at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts

I picked up a brochure for the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts to discover diverse dance offerings coming soon — including the legendary Merce Cunningham Dance Company.

Naturally I hit the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts gift shop on the way out (there’s another gift shop just across the sidewalk at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art).

Know any dancers looking for a unique dance bag?

The best museum stores offer serious and humorous fare

It’s a fun place to find teacher gifts, unique items for children and all sorts of arts-related fare — and I love shopping where I can support local arts and culture.

But my fondest memories of Scottsdale Civic Center involve adventures with my young children — reading in the children’s section of the library, taking pictures together of flowers and public art, watching performances by artists we admire.

My son was apparently very eager to explore it even before his late August birth 21 years ago. I felt the first pangs of labor while having dinner with my husband at a joint that’s since been replaced with an Indian restaurant — and walked for some time around the grounds hoping to speed up the process.

This balcony once housed the restaurant where I felt my first labor pangs

While the walking may have helped, it wasn’t a quick fix. I didn’t head to the hospital until later that night after my water broke and the cramping grew hard to ignore.

I’d chosen a small stuffed animal — “Big Bird” of Sesame Street — for my focal point during labor (the thing that supposedly takes your mind off the pain if you stare at it hard enough).

With Jennifer, our second child, I used a giant clock. The moving hands were more distracting than the stillness of a stuffed animal.

With Lizabeth, our last, it was the row of tiny buttons on James’ shirt (by then I was too busy to think ahead in the childbirth department).

But it occurred to me as I passed the giant LOVE sculpture at the Scottsdale Civic Center, that I should have used a replica of this work (I hadn’t yet discovered them for sale at the SMOCA gift shop).

This iconic sculpture sits on a lawn at Scottsdale Civic Center

As my children continue their journey through adulthood, I suspect these detours to the places we’ve so often enjoyed together will happen more and more often.

Labors of love stay with us forever.

— Lynn

Note: The art teacher I met that day, from Zuni Hills Elementary School, recently got in touch with me — so I look forward to learning more about their art program.

Coming up: The fine art of friendship, Got graffiti?, Broadway tales, Copper rush, Three necessary things

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2 responses to “A labor of love

  1. Having grown up in Scottsdale I have spent many hours in that area and have many wonderful memories there!

  2. Mala: I’m guessing we share just a single regret. They haven’t yet found a way to grow chocolate trees there! –Lynn

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