Metro Arts museum tales

A Gretta Wallace work from the IMAGINING DANCE exhibit by Metropolitan Arts Institute students. The exhibit runs through May 1 at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.

I often attend performing arts events at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, so I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy the current art exhibit in the young@art gallery several times already — though this Sunday will be my last chance.

The young@art gallery is housed in the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, though it’s a part of the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art just across the walkway.

One of my favorite pieces of artwork — a glass house of sorts — lives just outside the gallery’s entrance, and I look forward to sharing pictures with you in a future post.

But today the spotlight is on the Metropolitan Arts Institute in Phoenix. It’s a charter school, serving students in grades 7-12, which offers academic classes as well as diverse performing, literary and visual arts.

Think theater, dance and music. Film and creative writing. Drawing, painting, 2D/3D design and photography. And other fun stuff like algebra, geometry, calculus, biology, chemistry, anatomy, English, history and Spanish. 

The “Imagining Dance” exhibit includes paintings, sculpture, video imagery and more. There’s a large dancing dinosaur suspended from the ceiling, a whimsical birdcage housing colorful birds and other works easy for folks of all ages to appreciate.

The young@art gallery is a single room, making it a manageable way to introduce art to the very young. It’s in a venue that’s part of Scottsdale Civic Center — which features outdoor sculpture, colorful gardens and tables perfect for picnicing. Also water features, fun paths for exploring and more.

It’s all located near Old Town Scottsdale — home to plenty of galleries, shops and eateries. And just across the street from the Scottsdale Public Library, which has an engaging children’s area with lots of places to relax and read.

But the “Imagining Dance” exhibit alone is worthy of a trip to this neck of the woods. It runs through May 1, so don’t delay if you’re eager to check it out.

Laura Hales, associate curator of education for SMoCA, says the students’ work “suggests to me that they were very comfortable working with this theme.”

“Much of it shows humor,” adds Hales. “It is easy to see when teens are grappling to make sense of something: the work looks angst-y, dark, emotional.”

“This work,” reflects Hales, “looks light, humorous and inventive. I think working with dance as a subject was a good fit, met their interests and really did inspire them.”

Like all young@art gallery exhibitions, “Imagining Dance” works were created as part of the SMoCA education program — which has been in place (at different locations) for 21 years.

The gallery’s mission is “to showcase, celebrate and inspire the artwork of youth” and “promote strong youth art education programs around the Valley.”

The many exhibits we’ve enjoyed there through the years have been meaningful — and often magical.

It’s a lovely space to explore when you’re nearby for SMoCA or Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts events, or anytime you feel the need for a bit of art inspiration created by and for the young.

— Lynn

Coming up: Musings on “Billy Elliot,” Nursing tales, Mothers who write


One response to “Metro Arts museum tales

  1. I’m so flattered that you chose to show my piece! I’m glad you enjoyed the exhibit. All the students had a really wonderful experience with it.

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