Tag Archives: arts advocacy

16 ways to celebrate museum day

After drawing a picture at the Tucson Children’s Museum, this child decided to hang it on the museum’s bulletin board.

Plenty of museums are celebrating International Museum Day on May 18 with free admission and/or other special offers. Check out these ideas for exploring and supporting museums with your family and friends…

Visit children’s museums with your family. Arizona options include the Arizona Museum for Youth, Children’s Museum of Phoenix and Tucson Children’s Museum.

Plan a family vacation to a museum-rich region. Treat your kids to a weekend exploring museums in Prescott, Tucson or Phoenix. Head to museums in other parts of the country — Chicago, New York, San Francisco or Washington, D.C. Or enjoy time together in Florence, Paris or London.

Introduce your kids to museum-sponsored events. Tell your teens about this weekend’s “Teen Night Out” at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. Take your children to see exhibits featuring works by youth, like “Visions” at SMoCA’s young@art gallery.

Make a donation to your favorite museum. Even small gifts are welcome because they add up to big results for museum goers as donations make new programs, events and exhibits possible.

Write letters in support of local museums. Send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper in praise of museums, or to a local legislator who supports museums and other homes for Arizona arts and culture.

Shop for gifts, games and more at your local museum. Visit the Musical Instrument Museum for child-friendly instruments, the Heard Museum for artwork by American Indian artists or the Arizona Science Center for hands-on activities.

Sign up to get museum e-newsletters. Request e-alerts from your favorite museums so you’ll be the first to know about new programs, family-friendly events, special exhibits and more.

Take friends to see a museum film screening. Catch “Gerard Richter Painting” (May 30) at the Tucson Museum of Art or “Between the Folds” (June 2, featuring ten paper artists) at the Phoenix Art Museum.

Enroll your kids in museum classes or summer camps. Check out offerings at the Arizona Museum of Natural HistoryShemer Art Center and Museum and other museums.

See an arts-related musical or play. Take older teens or friends to see Arizona Theatre Company’s production of “Red” (a John Logan play exploring Mark Rothko’s work) at the Herberger Theater Center.

Read books about great artists and museums. Pick up a couple of art books at your local museum shop or head to the library for titles about artists exhibited in the world’s famous museums and galleries.

Explore museum galleries online. Spend some time enjoying Google Art, or visiting online exhibitions from local and international museums so your children can see works by diverse artists.

Get a culture pass from your local library. Head to participating libraries to snag passes for free admission, and watch for museums offering free/discounted admission as part of International Museum Day.

Invite friends to dine at a local museum cafe. Enjoy lunch at the Phoenix Art Museum’s Palette, the MIM Cafe, the Heard Museum North Cafe or another museum restaurant.

Sign up to volunteer with a local museum. Train to be a docent, help with kids’ art classes or greet museum visitors.

Help your child’s teacher arrange a museum field trip. Suggest a few of your favorite museums for class field trips, and offer to help with legwork or actual field trip planning.

Learn more about Arizona museums from the Central Arizona Museum Association and the Arizona Museum Association. Click here explore Blue Star Museums, a national program that provides free summer admission to participating museums for active duty military personnel and their families.

— Lynn

Note: Click here to read a list of Arizona museums offering free admission compiled by the Scottsdale Public Library. Always check museum hours, admission costs and such before attending.

Coming up: Art from a recent United Nations exhibition of works by women

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I’m just a bill…

Arts advocates gathered at the Arizona Capitol yesterday for the 2012 Arts Congress.

First, a heartfelt thanks to all of you who made it to yesterday’s Arizona Arts Congress — and to the legislators who took time to meet with all the lovely folks who care about arts and culture, and the role it plays in our economy, community, schools and everyday lives.

Thankfully, those of us who couldn’t make it can still weigh in with our legislators about just how much we value arts and culture. Arizona Citizens/Action for the Arts has details about three issues noted on its website — and makes it easy for folks to send e-mails to the folks who vote on such things.

Arizona Representative Steve Farley meeting with arts advocates during the 2011 Arts Congress at the Arizona State Capitol

Seems there’s already a bit of good news on that front. Today the Arizona House of Representatives committee considering HB 2265 decided to move it forward for consideration by the larger legislative body. HB 2265 authorizes the continuation, for another ten years, of the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

This makes me a happy camper, because they’re an invaluable resource for artists, educators and citizens. If you’re not getting their newsletters, you’re missing the latest and greatest news about arts-related events, arts education, funding opportunities, calls for student artwork and much more.

Arizona Representative Ruben Gallego meeting with David Hemphill of the Black Theatre Troupe during the 2011 Arts Congress attended by more than 200 advocates

But HB 2265 is just one of three arts-related issues working its way through this legislative session. Another, SB 1348, would establish an Arizona poet laureate. We need a state poet; don’t I know it. Finally, there’s a section of the governor’s proposed budget that would further cut funding for arts — and advocates can still weigh in on that prospect.

Those of you who remember the musical “Schoolhouse Rock” can probably still sing David Frishberg’s lyrics for “I’m Just a Bill.” But nothing is ever “just a bill.” Every piece of legislation working its way through both the Arizona House of Representatives and the Arizona Senate has the potential to impact our daily lives. Click here to join fellow citizens championing the arts in Arizona.

— Lynn

Note: If you have photos from this year’s Arizona Arts Congress to share, I’d love to see them — and you may find them featured in a future post. Click here to learn more about this weekend’s “Arizona Best Fest” Phoenix taking place at, and around, the Arizona Capitol Mall (and watch for a future post highlighting monuments your family can explore during your visit).

Coming up: Reflections from Catherine “Rusty” Foley, executive director for Arizona Citizens/Action for the Arts

Photos: 2011 Arts Congress photos courtesy of Arizona Citizens/Action for the Arts

Top ten signs you’re an arts advocate

Liz Trimble pauses to enjoy artwork during a college admissions tour

10. You attend arts advocacy events like the Arizona Arts Congress 2012 (taking place Feb. 7 — and yes, there’s still time to get involved).

9. You talk with education leaders (school board members, principals and others) about the importance of funding and supporting art in schools and classrooms.

8. You troll publications like Arizona Capitol Times looking for arts-related news and legislation (like a recent issue noting bills about renewing the Arizona Commission on the Arts and creating an Arizona Poet Laureate).

7. You attend diverse art-related exhibitions and events in your community — and choose art-related events for time with family and friends.

6. You support local arts venues and museums by doing your gift shopping in their gift shops (there’s still time to gather art-related Valentine’s Day fare).

5. You write letters to the editor sharing evidence for the role of arts in building strong communities, economies, schools and families.

4. You curl up at night with reports like “Capitalizing on Arizona’s Arts & Culture” (prepared in conjunction with the 98th Arizona Town Hall).

3. You enroll your children in arts-related programs that foster their love and familiarity with visual art, dance, film, music, poetry, theater and other art forms.

2. You donate money or time to at least one local arts organization (even small gifts of time, talent and financial resources are appreciated and make a difference).

1. You take time to thank legislators, businesses and others who support arts on a national, state and local level.

— Lynn

Note: To learn more about arts and culture in Arizona, visit www.azarts.gov and www.azcitizensforthearts.org.

Coming up: Moving beyond tragedy through a community art project

Student choreographer soars

Rehearsal for Violet Flight: Pursuit of Significance choreographed by Britta Joy Peterson (Photo: Hayley Brunetto)

Britta Joy Peterson, one of several student choreographers whose work will be featured during this weekend’s Breaking Ground student showcase at Tempe Center for the Arts, started tap and ballet classes in Minnesota when she was just seven years old. She moved to Arizona after earning an undergraduate degree in dance, and is now enrolled in ASU’s M.F.A. in dance program.

Peterson credits her parents with launching her love of the arts. Seems her mother enjoyed painting “natural things” in watercolor, and her father was a musician. Peterson is the youngest of three siblings, and all were expected growing up to be active in one arts activity and athletic activity. Dance, she says, counted for both.

Still, she chose to try lots of other things, including choir, softball, soccer and flag football — and spent ten years playing violin. “All those things,” reflects Peterson, “are a huge part of the artist I am now.” Peterson says she “fell in love with being creative” while participating in community theater.

Violet Flight: Pursuit of Significance rehearsal at ASU (Photo: Hayley Brunetto)

Performing in shows like “The Prince and the Pauper” and “Cabaret” was more fun, she recalls, than simply “regurgitating” routines she was learning in dance classes. So was scuba diving with her family in Mexico and New Zealand, and the skiing that fueled her love of jumping and flying through the air.

“My parents worked hard to expose us to the outdoors,” says Peterson. “My dad is an avid bird watcher.” Hence Peterson’s use of elements like feathers and sunsets in her choreography. Tonight Peterson and other dancers are rehearsing at ASU — readying for the 2pm Breaking Ground student showcase on Sat, Jan. 28.

“Recurring Reverie,” which is being performed on TCA’s north patio, was choreographed by Peterson in collaboration with Juan Rodriguez. They also perform the piece — which was inspired by each artist’s recurring dreams. Peterson calls it “an exploration of the human capacity for creativity,” adding that gender roles are a “minimum undertone.”

Peterson's Violet Flight: Pursuit of Significance (Photo: Hayley Brunetto)

The Breaking Ground student showcase concludes with eight dancers performing Peterson’s “Violet Flight: Pursuit of Significance.” Peterson describes the two works as “very different” and says she’s grateful to Carley Conder and CONDER/dance for giving students the opportunity to showcase  and share their work. “It’s important,” says Peterson, “for students across the Valley to exchange ideas.”

“I’m always synthesizing material in my head,” says Peterson, who thinks of herself as an “imaginative laboratory.” She’s a “big advocate of arts education” who says the arts have taught her to “think in many different ways.” Peterson is convinced that creativity and problem solving learned through the arts translate to science and a host of other fields.

“I’m lucky to have parents, and a community of people around me, who support my art endeavors,” reflects Peterson.

— Lynn

Note: Click here for 2012 Breaking Ground (which includes a 2pm student showcase and an 8pm professional showcase) details and ticket information

Coming up: Sneak peek at other 2012 Breaking Ground fare

Art, art resolution!

If you’re keen on making New Year’s resolutions, consider one of the following resolutions that’ll help support local arts and culture…

I resolve to…hit arts & culture venues and events. Choose museum cafes for get-togethers with friends. Enjoy date nights at concerts, plays, poetry readings or dance events. Schedule playdates at children’s museums. Invite friends to join you for art festivals and art walks. Take your children to outdoor concerts. Shop for gifts at library, museum and performing art venue shops. Take out of town visitors to museums, galleries and performances.

I resolve to…donate to arts & culture groups. Make a year-end gift to your favorite art, music, dance or theater group. Pledge to give a set amount to one or more arts groups each month next year. Make donations on behalf of others to honor special birthdays or anniversaries. Include one or more arts organizations in your will. Organize a coin drive to help kids donate spare change to favorite arts groups. Give up one luxury next year and share the savings with a local arts or culture organization.

I resolve to…volunteer time with arts & culture organizations. Help a local theater group by sewing costumes, painting sets or covering the box office. Volunteer to work at boutiques held during symphony, opera or ballet performances. Sign up for docent training at a favorite museum. Serve as an usher at your local performing arts venue. Offer to help an arts and culture organization with clerical tasks. Volunteer to serve on an arts-related committee.

I resolve to…advocate for arts & culture. Talk with school leaders about increasing arts education. Attend the 2012 Arizona Arts Congress and other advocacy events. Contact local legislators about increasing arts funding. Let businesses know you value those that support arts and culture. Write letters to the editor about the role of arts and culture in building a strong economy. Consider candidate support for arts and culture when voting. Sign up for advocacy alerts from Arizona Citizens/Action for the Arts.

I resolve to…be informed about arts & culture. Read local and national news related to arts and culture. Sign up for e-newsletters from several arts and culture organizations. Follow the Arizona Commission on the Arts on social media. Attend lectures and demonstrations by local artists and perfomers. Take classes in music, writing, dance, painting or other types of art.

— Lynn

Note: Click here to learn more about the Arizona Commission on the Arts, and here to learn more about Arizona Citizens/Action for the Arts.

Coming up: Nesting tales

All artwork featured in this post is from a quilt titled “Juliette Low is Our Cup of Tea” created by Girl Scout Troop 325 in Pensacola, FL for the “Dream Rocket Project” (formerly exhibited at the Children’s Museum of Phoenix).  Photos by Lynn Trimble.

Showing too much leg?

Three generations of the Gardner family of Surprise attending the Saturday matinee performance of A Christmas Carol at Phoenix Theatre

My first foray into Christmas fare came rather early this year, when I headed down to Phoenix Theatre one afternoon in mid-September as they held children’s auditions for “A Christmas Story.” Kids filed in and out of the Little Theatre, where “A Christmas Story” director Pasha Yamotahari was heading up the open casting call for boys and girls to play characters from six to fourteen years old.

Children were asked to bring a resume plus headshot or photo, and to prepare a 30 second snippet of any Christmas song. Each was given what’s called a side, or portion of the script, to read during the audition – and had time to look it over before taking their turn. Eventually 11 boys and four girls were chosen for two children’s casts.

Director Pasha Yamotahari with young cast members from the Saturday matinee performance of A Christmas Carol at Phoenix Theatre

The cast of “A Christmas Story” at Phoenix Theatre also includes four adults – Harold Dixon (Narrator), Dion Johnson (Old Man), Emily Mulligan-Ferry (Miss Shields) and Debby Rosenthal (Mother). No double casting needed there since bedtimes and homework aren’t really an issue.

A Christmas Story has been extended through Dec. 24

Cast members young and old earned high praise from folks who attended the Saturday matinee on opening weekend. I overheard one gentleman telling his wife “the kids are terrific.” Not knowing that the “cheesy” factor is part of what makes this show so fun, she told him it felt a bit overacted. “The whole thing is overplayed,” he replied, “that’s why it’s so good.”

“A Christmas Story” follows the pre-Christmas adventures of a fictional Midwestern family as Ralphie, one of two young sons, dreams of finding a BB gun under the tree. But his chances aren’t good, because Ralphie’s mother is convinced he’d shoot his eye out with the darn thing. The mom has her hands full with Ralphie’s singular obsession, a younger child’s many eccentricities and her husband’s laser-like focus on winning every contest pitched via U.S. Mail.

Urban Outfitters sells these lovely items

One day the father receives “a very important award” in the mail. It’s a lone leg covered in black fishnet hose – complete with light bulb and lamp shade. He proudly displays the leg lamp so it’s visible from the street, and assumes the nightly catcalls from passersby are meant to congratulate his achievement. What he’s supposedly achieved is never made clear. It’s all part of the gag that keeps audience members in stitches.

Phoenix Theatre’s production of “A Christmas Story” seems a good choice for family holiday entertainment. Younger family members will enjoy watching other children on stage, and older family members will enjoy the show’s nostalgic nod to secret decoder pins, giant erector sets, jumbo tins of car wax and characters like the Lone Ranger. Several families, including three generations of the Gardners from Surprise, looked like they were having a great time at Saturday’s matinee.

Leg Lamp at the House of Broadcasting in Scottsdale

I hadn’t planned to see this – or any other Christmas shows this holiday season. There’s just too much happening in arts and culture outside of the holidays that I’m eager to experience. But I felt Saturday morning like seeing just this one show was somehow meant to be.

While buying something my daughter Jennifer had put on hold at Urban Outfitters, I stumbled onto Christmas fare bearing Ralphie’s mug and the lovely leg lamp. Later I spied an actual leg lamp at a Scottsdale museum dedicated to Arizona broadcasting. I headed home to snag one of the few remaining tickets for Saturday’s matinee – and I had a great time at the show.

Even if it does show a little too much leg.

— Lynn

Note: For a comprehensive list of holiday activities for families, consult the December calendar from Raising Arizona Kids Magazine. For news of a musical theater production of “A Christmas Story,” click here. To learn about the Cleveland house (now museum) used in the 1983 film “A Christmas Story,” click here. Click here for information on a special Dec. 13 performance (plus pre-show reception) benefiting Arizona Citizens for the Arts.

Coming up: Word power, Views beyond the Valley

Update: Mesa Encore Theatre is also performing “A Christmas Story” this season so now you can double the fun by seeing two productions. 11/28/11

Another glimpse at “Glee”

Cheerleaders get a glimpse of a new foreign exchange student on Glee

During the first season of the FOX television series “Glee,” I watched every week with my youngest daughter Lizabeth, then a junior theater major at a Phoenix school for the arts. She’s been a fan of the show throughout, despite the fact that “Glee” lost me during the second season after storylines left me feeling like “House” had a tighter grip on reality.

But I decided to give “Glee” another shot this year, recording (and eventually watching) a recent episode titled “Pot of Gold” — a reference to the Irish heritage of a new character named Rory Flanagan who croons Kermit the Frog‘s “Bein’ Green” while remoaning the bullying he experiences each day. Damian McGinty got the “Rory” gig after winning a competition titled “The Glee Project.” He’s less fascinating by far than the new “House” character Dr. Chi Park, but gets more solos.

I’m giving “Glee” another chance this season, despite some shortcomings it’s hard to shake — the miraculous appearance of costumes without the people who design and build them, props like “Lucky Charms” that fuel faulty notions of nutrition, bizarre boundary issues between birth parents and adopted children, and songs that seem to glorify risky behaviors.

Assuming that “Pot of Gold” was more than a flash in the pan, the third season of “Glee” promises to be an art advocate’s dream — complete with dialogue and plotlines addressing sexy topics like school budgets and political engagement. When the school’s cheer coach rallies for cuts to arts funding as part of her campaign for Congress, a blue-collar “Glee” parent gathers arts support from local businesses and decides to throw his own wrench into the ring.

The school’s production of “West Side Story” is saved and a fierce storyline is born. I’m expecting future episodes to further illucidate issues at the core of arts funding for students — the tanglible academic and career benefits of arts training, the value of funding arts to the same extent as athletics, the role of arts in creating engaged citizens who vote and volunteer in their communities.

It’s easy to pick on the media when we think they’ve gotten it wrong, but more productive perhaps to notice and praise the times they get it right. I’ll be paying careful attention to “Glee” this season, hoping they’ll continue giving voice to the arts at a time when far too many seek to silence it altogether.

— Lynn

Note:  Click here to learn more about arts advocacy in Arizona, and here for information on Disney’s “The Muppets” being released on Nov. 23. For information on “The Glee Project” (including auditions), click here. To learn more about McGinty’s “Celtic Thunder” gig, click here. And click here for information on Irish arts and culture right here in the Valley.

Coming up: A “Star Trek” tale, Fun with animal art, “Dance dad” takes on “Dance Moms”

Update: “Glee” fans might want to keep an eye on the Facebook page for Actors Theatre of Phoenix, where details about an upcoming auction featuring several “Glee” items (including a signed script and a signed cast photo) will be posted in coming days.