Tag Archives: Art Awakenings

Little bits of Broadway

“Punk Dudes Go to see Sound of Music” by Lori Wilson (formerly exhibited by Art Awakenings at the ASU Kerr Cultural Center in Scottsdale)

The 2012 Tony Awards are fast approaching, so it’s the perfect time to enjoy a bit of Broadway close to home. Here’s a sampling of weekend options, plus news of a few shows coming down the road…

  • The Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix presents “Sing-a-long-a Sound of Music” Fri, May 18 at 7pm. It’s hosted by Jan D’Atri, and Dee Dee Wood (who choreographed dance scenes for the film) will be in the house. Folks are invited to wear costumes and participate in an on-stage costume contest, so haul out those lederhosen and draperies stitched into playclothes.
  • Arizona Broadway Theatre presents “Tarzan: The Broadway Musical” through Sun, May 20. It’s the work of Disney and Phil Collins, and features several songs not included in the movie soundtrack. (Watch for “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” during their 2012-2013 series.)
  • “La Cage Aux Folles” continues through May 20 at ASU Gammage (mature content/recommended for ages 13 & up).
  • Fathom Events presents two Broadway shows on film at theaters in Glendale, Green Valley, Mesa, Phoenix, Sierra Vista and Tucson — “The Phantom of the Opera” (Mon, May 21 at 7:30pm) and “Love Never Dies” (Wed, May 23 at 7:30pm).
  • Mesa Encore Theatre presents “Hairspray” at Mesa Arts Center May 25-June 3.
  • Valley Youth Theatre opens its 2012-2013 season with “Legally Blonde the Musical” at the Herberger Theater Center on Aug. 10, then presents the Arizona premiere of “How I Became a Pirate” (based on the children’s book by Melinda Long) at VYT in October. They’ll open “The Wiz” this June.
  • Fountain Hills Theater opens its 2012-13 season with “Sunset Boulevard.” Their next season also includes “The Full Monty” and four additional shows. Also watch for “The Soul of Broadway” coming to FHT Aug. 17-26.
  • The Sun City Grand Drama and Comedy Club presents “Little Shop of Horrors,” along with four other shows, as part of its 2012-2013 season.

You’ll find additional Broadway shows, and other performing arts events, in the daily calendar from Raising Arizona Kids magazine. Click here to explore offerings from other Arizona theater companies and learn more about the Arizoni Awards.

— Lynn

Note: Click here to learn more about Art Awakenings, which provides art opportunities for youth and adults living with mental illness.

Coming up: Once upon a Broadway binge


Heroes of Hope

Folks who hit First Friday in Phoenix tonight can enjoy a “Heroes of Hope” exhibit being held in honor of National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day (May 9). “Heroes of Hope” exhibits in Arizona represent a collaboration between the Arizona Art Therapy Association, Art Awakenings and Marana Health — plus participating families and youth. The Phoenix exhibit will be open during May at the Art Awakenings gallery located at 1014 N. 2nd St. Gallery hours are 6-9pm during this month’s First Friday.

Participating youth created works of art “representing heroes in their lives and how they have been helped in times of stress.” May’s First Friday event at the Art Awakenings gallery includes “a multimedia presentation with art imagery and facts about children’s mental health.”

A “Heroes of Hope” art fair taking place May 11 at the Marana Health Center ” will be formatted much like a science fair” and feature art created by K-12 students. Children who attend will be invited to create hand and footprints with paint for a “Wall of Heroes” being sent to service men and women deployed from Davis-Monathan Air Force Base. I’m told the event also features “interactive stations and information.”

Click here to learn more about National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day — a program of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. I’m one taxpayer who’s perfectly happy to support programs that help families living with depression and other devastating mental health disorders.

— Lynn

Note: Click here to explore “Facts for Families” from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Click here to explore explore a piece from The Guardian featuring artwork created by participants in London’s CoolTan Arts programs.

Coming up: Silver linings, Dance meets documentary

Art awakenings

Works created through the Art Awakenings program which are being exhibited at the ASU Kerr Cultural Center in Scottdale through Feb. 28

I headed up to the ASU Kerr Cultural Center in Scottsdale Thursday morning to enjoy an exhibit of art works created through Art Awakenings, a program of the PSA Behavioral Health Agency that’s designed to “promote empowerment and recovery through the power of creative expression with adults and youth who face behavioral health challenges.”

Works by adult artists in the Arts Awakening program are being exhibited at ASU Kerr Cultural Center through Feb. 28 — and you can enjoy additional works, created by young and adult artists at several Art Awakenings studios, at various venues throughout the Valley. Enjoy these photos of works exhibited at ASU Kerr Cultural Center…

“Broken Pieces of Happiness” by Chris Valdez, who wrote: I had a dream that I was walking along a beautiful landscape, and as I walked it started to crack.

“Seeking Enlightenment” (detail) by Eeny Hamlin, who wrote: Between the sea and sky she meditates to connect her mind with the powers of the universe…The artist was striving for serenity, strength, and hope.

“Donkey on the Roof” by Alfred Mendoza

“Enigma V” (detail) by B Hill

“Fire” by Ignacio Biancas, who wrote: The painting represents me being bold and strong, it represents me expressing the intensity and passion I have within, and the expression that I feel I need to get out.

“Guardian of the Path to the Crescent” by Vincent Cienfuegos

” Inner Worlds” by Amy B. Young

“Jesus and His Horse” (detail) by Alfred Mendoza

“Guardian of the Path to the Crescent” by Vincent Cienfuegos (left), “Pristine Ocean” by Jayne Kerr Turconi (top), “Arctic Adventure” by Cheryl (bottom) and “King Kong” (right) by Kendall Tewers

“Pequento Rio Colorado” by Jon Hansen

“Sunflower” by Tammy Palomino, who wrote: I have been painting flowers for many years…I love to paint them up close, to show not just the colors but the workings of a flower. The stamen, pollen and insects, which are necessary for their existence.

“Willie Nelson” by Jayne Kerr Turconi

“Punk Dudes Go to see Sound of Music” by Lori Wilson

“Sunset Kokopelli” by B Hill, who wrote: My paintings reflect the joy, excitement and satisfaction that I experience while creating. I live to paint, each painting is an original one of a kind investment in happiness.

Most of the works pictured above are for sale. Click here to learn more about Art Awakenings, find additional exhibits of Art Awakenings works or get details about donating supplies or purchasing pieces of art. Click here for information on upcoming exhibits and performances at the ASU Kerr Cultural Center.

— Lynn

Coming up: Finding art in Fountain Hills, Festival celebrates Black History Month, Cholla meets cherry blossom

What’s in a weekend?

I hardly know where to start…

This is one of those way-beyond-wonderful weekends when just about everything I’ve ever wanted to experience is here in all its splendor—an art gallery opening, a teen poetry competition, an annual dance event, a school musical, a movie ala ‘wonderland,’ a classic piece of social justice theater, a festival featuring all things native.

If I can’t make it to everything, I plan to at least have one heck of a good time trying—all the while saving a bit of energy for the equally exciting week ahead, featuring other fun happenings like the Arizona premiere of “Avenue Q” at ASU Gammage (remember, parents, that this one contains mature content and language).

If you read my ‘weekend wish list’ below and feel I’ve overlooked something, please share your arts-related plans in the comment section below. I’d love to hear how you and your family plan to enjoy the weekend together.

Alice in Wonderland. This 3-D Disney movie—featuring the work of writers Lewis Carroll and Linda Woolverton, director Tim Burton, and actors Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter—opens Friday, March 5th. The film spans three genres—action/adventure, family and science fiction/fantasy—and has a “PG” rating due to “violence involving scary images and situations, and for a smoking caterpillar.” It follows Alice, now 19, as she “embarks on a fantastical journey to find her destiny and end the Red Queen’s reign of terror.” (Check future posts for my review—or let me know what you think if you’re lucky enough to see it before I do.)

Sweeney Todd. This production—the spring musical presented by Verde Valley School in Sedona—is free and open to the public. It’s being performed twice at VVS’s Brady Hall: Saturday, March 6th at 7pm and Sunday, March 7th at 3pm. The original Broadway production of Sweeney Todd opened in 1979 with Sweeney Todd (a bitter barber bent on revenge) played by Len Cariou and Mrs. Lovett (a brazen baker bent on bolstering business) played by Angela Lansbury. If you’re only seen the 2007 film version (rated R for “bloody violence”)—directed by Tim Burton and featuring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter—you really should see a live production. The original Broadway run garnered seven Tony Awards, including best musical book (Hugh Wheeler) and best score (Stephen Sondheim).

Warehouse 1005. This studio and gallery opening—featuring works by artists affiliated with Art Awakenings—takes place Friday, March 5th, between 9am and 4pm. Art Awakenings is a program of PSA behavioral health agency focusing on “empowerment and recovery through creativity.” Established in 1971, Art Awakenings seeks to “enhance and empower the mental health community through creativity, innovation, and diversity.” Their studios and galleries, including the new site at 1005 N. 1st St. in Phoenix, serve more than 800 artists annually. Friday’s events at Warehouse 1005 include a meet and greet from 9-10am, opening ceremonies and reception from 10am to 1pm, and an open house from 1-4pm. From 6-10pm, they’ll participate in the First Friday Art Walk.

Target Day of Music. This event–featuring The Phoenix Symphony–takes place Sunday, March 7th at Phoenix Symphony Hall. The event is free, and designed for “families and music lovers of all ages.” Highlights include “festival activities” (such as an “instrument petting zoo”) starting at 1pm and “a special performance by The Phoenix Symphony” beginning at 3pm.

Pirates of Penzance. This production–the spring musical presented by Chandler-Gilbert Community College–takes place March 4th-6th, 8th and 12th at 7:30pm (plus 2pm show on March 6th) at the CGCC Annette Scott Ward Performing Arts Center in Chandler.  The work, originally a late 19th century opera by Gilbert and Sullivan (libretto by W.S. Gilbert, music by Arthur Sullivan), has been adapted through the years. The 1981 Joseph Papp production on Broadway–featuring Rex Smith, Linda Ronstadt and Kevin Kiline–earned a Tony Award for best revival. The 1983 film version featured the original Broadway cast with one exception: Angela Lansbury (currently in “A Little Night Music”) replaced Estelle Parsons (currently in “August: Osage County”) as Ruth. For tickets (general: $10, student: $7, matinee: $5), call 480-732-7343.

Remember too that there are plenty of other fun things going on this weekend—many of which have been featured in previous posts. Here’s a brief sampling, complete with links to the organizations sponsoring them and our earlier posts with additional details.

ASU Dance Annual. Features the “best works created by the ASU dance department.” March 5th to 7th at the Paul V. Galvin Playhouse on the Tempe campus. Friday: 6:30-8:30pm, Saturday: 7:30-9:30pm and Sunday 2-4pm. $7-$20.
Poetry Out Loud. State finals in the national Poetry Out Loud recitation competition. March 5th from 7-9pm at the Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix. Free.
Indian Fair & Market. Features the works of more than 700 top American Indian artists at the Heard Museum in Phoenix. $15/day includes admission to museum exhibits.
The Laramie Project. A “breathtaking theatrical collage developed from interviews surrounding the Matthew Shepard murder in Laramie, Wyoming.” (Recommended for ages 13 & up.) Presented by QSpeak/Greasepaint Youtheatre March 5th-14th at Stagebrush Theatre in Scottsdale. $12.

For an ongoing list of fun activities for families, visit the Raising Arizona Kids magazine online calendar at www.raisingarizonakids.com.

Have fun out there!


Musings on art and mental illness

I remember a particularly moving art exhibit I saw many years ago at the Arizona Science Center in Phoenix. I was attending a reception celebrating the development of the Arizona Child Study Center at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, which works to “improve the quality of life for children, adolescents and families affected by mental, emotional, behavioral or developmental disorders.”

The exhibit featured artwork by youth who’ve experienced trauma. The works were gathered by the NYU Child Study Center, on which the Arizona Child Study Center is modeled, and are part of a collection gathered for a book titled “Childhood Revealed: Art Expressing Pain, Discovery and Hope.” I’m not sure where I first stumbled upon this book, but once I did, I was mesmerized. The young artists’ stories were compelling, their artwork complex and strangely stirring.

The book may have had special appeal because I was already familiar with one of its authors, Harold S. Koplewicz, M.D., who co-authored a book called “It’s Nobody’s Fault: New Hope and Help for Difficult Children and Their Parents.” (The co-author is Robin F. Goodman.) In an age when blame and shame too often haunt those living with mental illness, this work makes clear the biological basis of depression and other conditions that affect our youth.

With greater understanding comes greater acceptance.

Art Awakenings is a program that fosters and features the artwork of Arizona youth and adults living with various types of mental illness—from anxiety to schizophrenia. It was established in 2000 by the PSA (People Service Action) Behavioral Health Agency and has the following mission: “To promote empowerment and recovery through the power of creative expression with adults and youth who face behavioral health challenges.”

Art Awakenings works are displayed at various locations throughout the Valley—and well worth experiencing.

While advocates for youth with autism are making great strides, many families living with childhood mental illness feel their struggles too often go unnoticed or ignored. Autism advocates note that approximately 1 in 100 youth are affected, while mental health advocates note that about 1 in 5 children experience a mental illness.

I’m not sure why the one cause elicits more attention than the other. Both are way-beyond-worthy. If art can help us understand any of these conditions better, or open the hearts of relatives, neighbors, teacher, policy makers and others to those living with these challenges, I’m all for it.

Especially knowing the genuine risks facing youth with depression, including suicide, we can no longer be complacent about the 1 in 10 amongst us who live with symptoms serious enough to cause significant impairment in home, school and community settings.

Some find parallels between the minds of those living with mental illness and those gifted with exceptional creativity. The book “Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament” isn’t an easy read, but it’s a satisfying one. Author Kay Redfield Jamison, M.D., who disclosed her own battle with bipolar depression only many years after this scholarly work on the subject, looks at the possible connections between what was once termed manic depression and creativity in a variety of the arts. I leave it to you to consider whether and what the association.

Maybe your child is wrestling with emotions you find it hard to understand. Maybe your child is facing a possible mental health diagnosis. Maybe your child’s life has never been personally punctuated by mental illness. Maybe you’ve lived for years with the unique lessons, strengths and puzzlements that life with mental illness can bring.

Whatever your own story, I suspect you’ll find the artwork in “Childhood Revealed,” and in the Valley’s many Art Awakenings exhibits, evocative and provocative.

Go there.