Tag Archives: art museum

Let the Sun Devils shine in

The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company performs "Body Against Body" at ASU Gammage March 6 (Photo: New York Live Arts)

As proud Sun Devil parents, we often enjoy arts and culture on the Tempe campus where our daughter Jennifer studies cultural anthroplogy. Touring Broadway productions at ASU Gammage. Art exhibits at the ASU Art Museum and assorted galleries. Theater, dance and music productions at various on-campus venues. And festivals held outdoors where sunshine meets Sun Devil.

But ASU arts and culture is also easy to find in all sorts of community settings, from the ASU Kerr Cultural Center in Scottsdale to the ASU Night Gallery at Tempe Marketplace. Each offers a host of no-cost and low-cost arts experiences that make family explorations of art easy and affordable.

An exhibition featuring works by feminist artists runs March 5-16 at ASU in Tempe (Photo: Rosalind Shipley)

ASU faculty and students also perform at various venues throughout the Valley, including the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix — which presents musical offerings from UA as well as part of its “University Series.” Let the atheletes do their rivalry thing. In the world of music, it’s all good.

Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts presents “ASU Concerts at the Center” — featuring band, choral, symphonic and chamber music. Informal pre-concert talks are held before each concert, and tickets run just $10 (though all students can attend for free). This season’s remaining concerts are “Trumpet Festival” on March 5 and “Ocotillo Winds” on April 2.

You’ll find all sorts of arts and culture by exploring Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts events— or any given’s days listing of ASU events on the university calendar. Just this weekend, you can enjoy their “Night of the Open Door” festival, a Lyric Opera Theatre preformance of “Ainadamar,” a “Dance Annual” performance and a theater work titled “American Victory.”

The Herberger Institute also offers several community programs — in art, dance, design and music. And if you head to ASU’s Tempe campus on Mon, March 5, you can enjoy a reception for Jack Gantos, author of “Dead End in Norvelt” and recipient of the 2012 Newbury Medal.

A member of the ASU faculty performs March 11 at Tempe Center for the Arts’ “Sonoran Chamber Music Series: Violinist Stephanie Chase, Cellist Thomas Landschoot and Pianist Doris Stevenson” — and the seventh annual “ASU Student Film Festival” takes place April 23 & 24 at Harkins Theatres’ Valley Art Theatre in downtown Tempe.

Those of you with high school students exploring college options can click here to learn more about ASU offerings in art, dance, design, music, theatre and film — as well as arts. media + engineering.

— Lynn

Note: Click here to learn more about “Body Against Body” and here for information on “Troubling the Archive.” ASU in Tempe is also home to the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, which offers workshops, readings and more.

Coming up: It’s finally here!


Words of Art

View of the ASU Art Museum from inside the ASU campus

While strolling the campus of ASU Saturday afternoon, I decided to pop into the ASU Art Museum, where I promptly explored a table of $2 offerings (from posters to books) outside the museum’s gift shop.

Then, with just 20 minutes left on my parking meter, I took a left turn so I could take in an exhibit that ends Sept 3 — the 12th annual family exhibition titled “Words of Art: Selections from the ASU Art Museum Collection.”

It’s housed in a single room, making it the perfect taste of art when you’re pressed for time or eager to introduce your children to works of art without overwhelming them.

As I entered the exhibit, I spied a square work on the floor. It’s about the size of a card table and comprised of red painted objects, many looking like lacquered stones or pine cones. Some are carved with words like “pollute.”

The exhibit includes a piece of clothing, a page of historical text and other items that make for an eclectic mix. There’s even a low bright blue table with three chairs. On top sits a silver laptop with a screensaver featuring colors in motion.

Double Column Ring Triangle by Fletcher Benton (1994) is located near the ASU Art Museum

“Words of Art” is plenty fun to simply look at. But older kids will enjoy reading short descriptions of works, themes or genres found on wall-mounted plaques highlighted by a yellow star. My favorite dealt with art and social justice.

Many of the items are exhibited at the height of a young child, making them feel more whimsical to adults and more accessible to kids. Time with such exhibits makes kids look at, and think about, objects differently.

If I had my way, we’d assign fewer worksheets and more art outings. The “Words of Art” exhibit is free, as is admission to the museum — which has lots of other areas featuring art that’s intriguing to young and old alike.

Two exhibitions end their run on Aug 27, giving you less than a week to enjoy them. They’re “Self-Referential: Art Looking at Art” and “By myself and with my friends….” The latter, which includes video, features six artists exploring things humans and animals have in common.

The ASU Art Museum is open Tues-Sat, though hours vary by day — so check details online before you go. No need to thank me when your child comes home and paints a pile of rocks red. But do give yourself a pat on the back.

— Lynn

Coming up: Review: “Oedipus for Kids”

Art meets spaghetti?

When the Blue Bike Kids Show gang premiered their “Hall of Art-O-Vation” at a recent ASU Art Museum Family Fun Day, proud parent Kimberly Flack was busy snapping photos.

Kimberly Flack snapped this photo of the Blue Bike Kids Show at work

Flack is the associate general manager of educational outreach for Eight, Arizona PBS — something I find especially nifty given that the Blue Bike Kids Show would make for a lovely public television offering.

Steve Wilcox of Blue Bike taking photos at ASU Art Museum

The Bike Bike Kids Show brought along “four new art tools invented in the Blue Bike labs” — including the “Brushghetti Brush,” created by “binding a handful of spaghetti with rubber bands and boiling the ends” to make a paintbrush.

A young artist tests the Blue Bike method for mixing art and spaghetti

Also their “Ye-Old-Chalk-Mill” (a chalk-filled pepper grinder for making art with glue stick drawings), “Roll-O-Writer” (a toy truck with marker attached so kids can race and draw at the same time) and “Drizzle Drawer” (a straw for blowing ink to make interesting patterns).

Folks who stay tuned to the Blue Bike Kids Show website can learn of other public appearances featuring the gang’s interactive installations. The Blue Bike Kids Show gang consists of three Valley artists and teachers with ties to ASU.

When I think of the Blue Bike Kids Show, I think curiosity, creativity and collaboration. Also imagination and innovation. I’m starting to wish they’d jump on those blue bikes of theirs and head to Capitol Hill, where problem-solving and playing nice seem in short supply.

This Blue Bike image reminds me of politicians facing off over raising the debt ceiling

The next First Saturdays for Families at ASU Art Museum (Sat, Aug 6 from 11am-2pm), inspired by their popular video exhibition titled “By myself and with my friends,” features all sorts of animal crafts.

Another Blue Bike photo with a science and art history twist

Also animal-inspired dancing with dancer/choreographer Elizabeth Johnson and a visit from some animal friends courtesy of the Arizona Animal Welfare League. The event is free and open to kids of all ages.

More art & photography magic from the Blue Bike Kids Show gang

And it has me wondering how the family cat Pinky might look in one of the Blue Bike Kids Show’s old-timey photos.

— Lynn

Coming up: Oh-My-Oz!

This is one “groovy” weekend…

I feel like I might need a translator on this one. When I began thinking about how to characterize this weekend’s arts scene in the Valley, these are the words that came to mind—hip, groovy and cool.

"Hoodlums" welcomes M-Trio

Were my kids not studying or sleeping at this moment (my blogs are often written in the wee hours of the night before you read them online), I’d ask their help in updating my lingo.

No matter, I suppose, since the latest fads will likely change many times over before I catch on to any of them.

I might be able to up my cool factor by attending one of this weekend’s arts-related events that my 18-year-old daughter Jennifer enthusiastically told me about several weeks ago. (This girl would so rock in the world of marketing!)

It’s the ASU Art Museum “Street Party,” a second annual event to support museum exhibits. But don’t race down to ASU in Tempe to catch it. The party—taking place from 4-10pm on Sat., April 10—happens at Hoskin-Ryan Building & Grounds in Phoenix.

I’ve never heard of the place, which is part of its appeal. We can enjoy a whole lot of weekend whimsy and wonder without ever leaving the Valley. Why should tourists have all the fun?

The street party is free for kids, and entry for adults is just $5. The event features live bands (Dry River Yacht Club, The Market, SourceVictoria and the ASU Latin Jazz Combo), food and drink, an “Indie Chic” craft fair, a “kidzone” and art exhibits curated by the ASU Art Museum.

Admit it. You think it sounds pretty cool too.

Free Kids Event at Film Festival

For the film buff, there’s the Phoenix Film Festival taking place this weekend at Harkins Scottsdale 101 Theatres. For the alternative and experimental performance buff, there’s the Phoenix Fringe Festival happening in and around downtown Phoenix.

Theater aficionados will have a hard time narrowing down choices from this weekend’s offerings, which include: “Forbidden Broadway” by Mesa Encore Theatre, “The Diviners” by Scottsdale Community College Theatre Arts, “All the More to Love” by Phoenix Theatre and “Jesus Christ Superstar” (with Ted Neeley) at ASU Gammage.

There’s also “Tomato Plant Girl” by Childsplay, “The Who’s Tommy” by Scottsdale Desert Stages Theatre, “The Frog Prince” by Starlight Community Theater, “Stuart Little” by Theater Works and “Rapunzel” by Great Arizona Puppet Theater.

This is when a copy of our monthly magazine, complete with daily calendar of entertaining and educational events from concerts and sporting events to puppet shows and story times, comes in handy. Happily, you can also jump online now or any day of the week to get a full-serving of family fun.

Dance devotees can experience “Ballet Hispanico” at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts this weekend, a venue where I often run into families and mother/daughter duos enjoying evenings of dance and theater together.

AZDance performs this weekend

There’s also “AZ Dance Group” performing at Paradise Valley Community College, one of many Valley community colleges offering diverse visual and performing arts both weekends and weekdays.

Visual arts fans can marvel at the glorious glass works on display starting Friday, April 9, when the recently-expanded “Glass Studio” reopens at the Mesa Arts Center. I’ll have to check with my teens to see which adjective—“groovy” or “glorious”—best pegs me as a middle-age mama.

Someone must be on to me since I only heard about the free preview of “O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show” being presented by ASU Lyric Opera Theater about 17 minutes before it started Friday night. Of course, that one’s not for the kiddies.

A tamer show–featuring “the canvas of album covers”–hits Hoodlums Music & Movies (a funky little Local First joint that originated at ASU) in Tempe Sat., April 10. Their opening party for “The Lost Album Art Show” runs from 7-9pm, complete with live jazz music.

Ballet Hispanico performs in Scottsdale

In the meantime, I’ll keep searching for arts-related events and activities. There’s always something new in the Valley of the Sun—and I love the chase.


Note: If your weekend arts-related event is family-friendly but not featured here, feel free to comment briefly below to let our readers know about it. Suggestions for tasteful post-1970s words are also welcome. “Snaps” to Buzzberry’s at Granite Reef and McDonald in Scottsdale (just west of the 101) for supporting their local schools–I was delighted earlier this week, while grabbing my daily iced Americano, to learn of a PTO movie night happening Saturday to benefit Navajo Elementary in Scottsdale! Way to Buzz!

Coming up: Reflections on art honoring Holocaust Days of Remembrance (April 11-18, 2010)

Crepes, jarring journalism and resources for writers

Jennifer and I discovered a lovely little crepe joint in Tempe a few years ago when she had an overnight birthday party at the Tempe Mission Palms Hotel (we took a couple crates of craft supplies along and had a giant arts fest between trips to the rooftop swimming pool).

Recently Lizabeth and I headed out on a frosty morning to read our newspapers and enjoy toasty drinks. Liz recalled the lovely artwork and comfy couches at the Mill’s End Café and Creperie on Mill Avenue, so that’s where we headed.

When we got there, a copy of the New Times—strewn with other reading materials atop a two-tiered metal cart near the cash register—grabbed Lizabeth’s attention.

The otherwise stark white cover featured a broken piece of glass covered in blood. A bit jarring for morning reading, but then, sometimes the best reading gives us a jolt. The lead story, by managing editor Amy Silverman, was titled “Suicidal Tendencies.”

Silverman’s story, part of an ongoing series called “Lost Kids,” recounts harrowing tales of youth with serious mental illness within Arizona’s juvenile justice system. (I use the word “justice” here with more than a tad of trepidation.)

Later that day I hit my pile of yet-to-be-read newspapers in search of earlier pieces in Silverman’s series—including “Saving Alex” and “Losing Erica.” They were near the top, and I set about reading them right away.

The series was reading to remember. It was writing that reverberated. It may well be the single best collection of Arizona journalism I’ve read all year. Not surprising, I suppose, when you consider that Silverman has twice been honored as “Journalist of the Year” by the Arizona Press Club.

Work for consideration for the 2009 awards must be submitted per Arizona Press Club guidelines and postmarked no later than Jan. 20th of 2010. Award categories have been modified somewhat to reflect growing trends in journalism such as increased news content on the Internet.

I last saw Silverman at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. She was there with Deborah Sussman Susser, co-instructor for Mothers Who Write—an enterprise that engages writers in developing their craft while sharing feedback on each other’s work.

We’re proud to count one of their alumni—Debra Rich Gettleman—among our fellow writers at Raising Arizona Kids magazine. Gettleman never fails to deliver a lively read, so check the magazine’s online archives when you’re craving a kernel of controversy.

Several of the women who participated in the last Mothers Who Write workshop were at SMOCA with Silverman and Susser to read portions of their work aloud from behind a humble podium located adjacent to a magnificent museum exhibit of Nick Cave “soundsuits.” 

Listening to their works conjured memories and musings—of things simple, scary, sentimental and strong—much like a magical night at the symphony or the theater.

Mothers Who Write is a testament to the power of the pen.

Their next 10-week workshop begins Feb. 25th and I must admit that I’m toying with taking part. (First I have to quell the intimidation factor.) Registration for the workshop, which often fills quickly, begins Jan. 4th. 

We’re partial to parents who write around here, but equally fond of youth who commit pen to paper—so I’m always on the lookout for events that engage children and teens in reading and/or writing. Here’s one that recently caught my eye…

Changing Hands Bookstore and Hoodlums Music and Movies present “YAllapalooza! 2010” from 4-7pm on Saturday, Jan. 9th. They’re located side by side on the corner of S. McClintock Dr. and E. Guadalupe Rd. in Tempe. (The fact that Wildflower Bread Company is next door is an added bonus—especially when you have a hankering for breakfast on a budget.)

The event is described as “a literary musical extravaganza featuring live bands, pizza, games, prizes, and a chance to mix and mingle with your favorite YA authors and get books signed.” (YA is bookstore speak for “young adult.”)

As the proud parent of an ASU student and “indie-minded” consumer, I often hear of these events firsthand. But it doesn’t hurt that I’m on the e-mail alerts for both Hoodlums and Changing Hands.

The Changing Hands e-newsletter alerted me to several writing-related events scheduled for January—some for grown-ups, some for tweens and teens—covering everything from poetry and journaling to how to get published and how to beat writer’s block.

A teen workshop titled “Indie Mini-Comics” (for ages 13 and up) will take place at Changing Hands on Saturday, Jan. 16th. Check the store’s website for event and registration information.

Every author I’ve ever spoken with offers the same advice to potential writers: The best way to improve your writing is simply to write—and write, and write. The most proficient writers are often the most prolific readers, so blossoming writers do well to have their nose in a book when there’s no pen in their hand.

Anyone witnessing the recent exchange of gifts at our house might suspect that we’re destined to become a writing version of the famous singing von Trapp family (whose story is loosely told in the movie “The Sound of Music”). If you can’t eat it, listen to it or read it, it probably wasn’t on any of our holiday wish lists.

The bookseller to whom I handed Jennifer’s list was especially surprised to see one of Freud’s works on the list. I thought I’d get a good chuckle when I mentioned I had one daughter who planned to give it to another, but no—just a blank stare. He wouldn’t have had any fun celebrating the holidays at our house.

If you want your teen to love reading and writing, expose them early and often to good books and writing opportunities.

Aspiring teen writers can learn a thing or two from “how-to” books like “A Teen’s Guide to Getting Published: Publishing for Profit, Recognition and Academic Success” (Jessica Dunn and Danielle Dunn), “The Young Writer’s Guide to Getting Published” (Kathy Henderson) and “Screen Teen Writers: How Young Screenwriters Can Find Success” (Christina Hamlett).

Still, nothing replaces the acts of reading and writing. When you can share them with others—especially while enjoying crepes and coffee or cocoa together—so much the better.


Note: When last I visited the Stone Soup magazine website, it announced blogging opportunities for creative writing teachers. If you’re interested in learning more, check it out at www.stonesoup.com

Coming soon: The Young Writers Program at ASU, Upcoming community college theater productions, Youth symphonies in the Valley of the Sun