One of a kind

The 2012 Arizona Governor’s Arts Awards, an event hailed as the state’s largest annual gathering of folks who support arts and culture, takes place Tues, March 27 at the Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix.

It’s presented by Arizona Citizens Action for the Arts, the Arizona Commission on the Arts and the Office of the Governor — and celebrates “the extraordinary contributions of artists, arts organizations, businesses, educators and individuals to the quality of life in our state.” Each award recipient will receive a one-of-a-kind work created by an Arizona artist (you can enjoy a sneak peek below).

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We pause too infrequently to appreciate the value of arts and culture in our everyday lives. I chatted with Rusty Foley, executive director for Arizona Citizens Action for the Arts, during the opening of an exhibition of works by Arizona artists at the Arizona House of Representatives — and she shared a stunning insight.

Imagine a world, she suggested, devoid of arts and culture. Imagine that every work of art encountered in the course of a day was no longer there. Sculptures gone. Paintings gone. Crayon masterpieces hung on refrigerators gone. School plays gone. Outdoor concerts gone. Dance performances gone. It’s not a pretty picture.

So I’m especially grateful for those nominated in six categories for this year’s awards — who remind us to use it lest we lose it. In a world of competing interests, those of us who recognize the value of arts and culture in building strong economies, sustaining creative communities, developing well-rounded students and such can’t sit idly by and expect others to champion the cause. We must advocate for the art we wish to see in the world.

One very special individual will receive the 7th annual Shelley Award for “advancing the arts through strategic and innovative leadership to create and support public policy beneficial to the arts in Arizona.” The award is named for Shelley Cohn, who spent more than 25 years as executive director of the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

Tuesday’s shindig begins with a 5pm reception featuring a silent auction — a great opportunity to support local arts and culture while shopping for teacher gifts, Mother’s Day gifts and such. Honorees will be recognized at an Academy Award style ceremony at 7pm, followed by an 8pm dessert reception — so wear the swanky outfit that’ll leave a bit of room for sampling sweets.

Click here to read the list of this year’s nominees — which includes many names familiar to those of you whose children are involved in dance, music, theater or visual arts. Attending the Arizona Governor’s Arts Awards is a great way to laud their efforts while getting to know more of the folks who make Arizona arts and culture sing.

— Lynn

Note: You can purchase tickets by clicking here.

Coming up: Raising children who care

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