Tag Archives: arts and culture

Fun finds for Father’s Day

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Folks eager to find unique gifts and experiences for celebrating Father’s Day need look no farther than local arts and culture. Museums make for fun family outings, and many have gift shops filled with fascinating fare making gifts like striped ties look purely passé.

Got a dad who’s into science? Hit your local science center. Got a dad who’s into art? Treat him to time at your local art gallery or museum. Got a dad who’s into history? Take him along for some time at the nearest history museum. And remember all those neighborhood arts districts with funky fare it’s hard to find elsewhere.

Military dads and their families can enjoy free admission to museums that participate in the Blue Star Museums program. Most museums participate from Memorial Day through Veterans Day — but some offer free year-round admission (with specified I.D.s) to active military personnel and up to five family members.

For dads who enjoy making art, consider taking a Father’s Day walk together in search of found objects for future art projects. Or looking around the house for boxes and other recyclable objects you can turn into forts, musical instruments and works of art. Or get dad a gift certificate to your favorite small business featuring art supplies or classes.

Remember studios in your community that offer hands-on arts experiences like painting pottery, folding origami, recreating famous art masterpieces and such. Check your local libraries, independent book shops,community centers and parks and recreation facilities for activities of special interest to fathers and families.

Also theater companies that offer family-friendly fare — plus performing arts venues that offer fun film, music, dance, poetry and other options. You’ll never know whether the dad in your life is hot for hip hop until you give it a try together.

— Lynn

Note: I’ll be updating this post with more photos as I discover more Father’s Day fare

Coming up: Art meets wild west, Getting to know Jimmy

Update: I’m now blogging as “Stage Mom Musings” at www.stagemommusings.com. Please find and follow me there to continue receiving posts about arts and culture in Arizona and beyond. Thanks for your patience as the tech fairies work to move all 1,250+ posts to the new site. For the latest news follow me on Twitter @stagemommusings. 6/13/12

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.

One world, many stories

I hadn’t fully realized, until visiting New York City in June, that libraries are more than lovely places to enjoy time with books. They’re home to all sort of activities for children and adults. They’re free and welcoming sites for people who are far from home. They’re repositories for our collective culture.

Public libraries are a refuge from weather extremes that can isolate people indoors. And they’re used by people of all walks of life, making them some of the most delightfully diverse places on earth.

I stumbled on the Battery Park City Library while walking around the city in search of more traditional tourist fare. I hadn’t planned to visit a library while in New York, but I was genuinely gleeful when I looked up to see the orange library banner that marks its building.

I knew I’d find friendly faces, cooler temperatures and interesting information inside. I hadn’t realized at the time that it’s the first New York Public Library branch in Manhattan to be “LEED certifed.” Looks like even libraries are going green.

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I learned after traveling back to Phoenix that a proposed New York City budget for fiscal year 2012 had proposed a $40 million cut in New York Public Library funds, but that the budget approved on July 29 (the day of my visit) restored $36.7 million of that funding.

Sadly, public parks in other parts of the country have not fared as well — which left families unable to enjoy their bounty during the  recent holiday weekend dedicated to celebrating our many freedoms.

Temperatures in Phoenix rose to 118 degrees the day I returned from New York. After walking several miles a day through interesting streets and neighborhoods, I was eager to get out and stretch my legs. James cautioned against it, knowing I’m not accustomed to walking in such high heat.

I realized then that I’m living in a very indoor-oriented culture. I’ll be looking for ways to change that, and am grateful to know there is always at least one place close to home, my local library, where I can explore the many stories that make up our individual and collective lives.

— Lynn

Note: This post is one of many written about recent NYC travels. Click the following links to read prior posts on NYC gardens, NYC fun finds, NYC theater, NYC 9/11 memorials and more.

Coming up: My “Peanuts” pilgrimage

Fuzzy math

Wickenburg Public Library in Arizona

I got an “SOS” of sorts from a friend on Monday morning — alerting me to talk of closing Wickenburg’s one public library due to lack of funding.

I was reminded of George W. Bush hurling the term “fuzzy math” at Al Gore during a presidential election — and the many times since that both sides have seemed a bit fuzzy in their thinking.

There’s been plenty of doom and gloom commentary coming out of news sources who seem more bent on proferring ideology than providing information — much of it focused on events in distant lands.

I don’t doubt that global events impact our country, and our communities — but today my concerns are closer to home.

Democracy, quite frankly, is ours to lose. And if we want to hasten the process, we’ll start by lowering already abyssmal literacy rates among our own citizens.

We’ll restrict access to books and online information for those who can’t afford laptops or reading materials of their own.

We’ll assure that community resources like libraries — which offer low- and no-cost arts and cultural programming — close their doors.

We’ll make sure that kids head to empty houses or convenience store parking lots after school instead of taking part in library programs that foster cognitive, emotional and social skills.

When we, as Americans, can find no better solution to fiscal challenges than closing public libraries — we might as well close the book on our own dwindling democracy.

— Lynn

Note: My 19-year-old daughter Jennifer (an ASU student) offered a trio of library tidbits after reading this post. First, a quote she found on www.libraryquotes.org: Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation (Walter Cronkite). Second, a resource for fellow library lovers: www.ilovelibraries.org. And third, a video contest titled “Why I Need My Library” from www.ala.org (for teens 13-16/runs through April 18). Click here to learn more about the Arizona Library Association.

Coming up: Teens taking direction, Building bridges with music

The fine art of vinyl

I was listening the other day to a Bruce Spingsteen concert recorded in Paris on May 26, 1979 — the year I turned 19.

Springsteen was sharing with the audience a bit about his upbringing, reflecting on the relative dearth of arts and culture in his young life.

But he recalled coming downstairs on school days dressed in the green Catholic school uniform he describes as “oppressive” to hear the sound of rock ‘n’ roll.

Seems his mother was fond of spinning the vinyl. Springsteen says the records disparaged by others were his only source of arts and culture — his lone introduction to life outside his small New Jersey neighborhood.

The records opened his eyes to other people and places, inspiring Springsteen to consider for the first time the vast expanse of possibilites for his own life. From vinyl, it seems, his dreams were born.

As I listened to Springsteen’s narrative, I was reminded of one of my favorite haunts in Tempe — an “indie” store called “Hoodlums Music & Movies.” Their love and respect for vinyl is really quite something.

There's still time to submit artwork for an album art show in Tempe

Hoodlums periodically exhibits artwork from Spraygraphic — which is currently calling for vinyl art submissions as they ready for their next Hoodlums gig — titled the “Fill in the Groove Art Show.”

I lingered over the last exhibit with my 19-year-old daughter Jennifer, and recall that my favorite piece (by a Tempe artist whose name I didn’t hang on to) featured small tiles that looked like irridescent red glass.

Knowing their gifts for poetry and other types of toying with words and images, I hope my daughters will consider submitting at least one entry this year — assuming the vinyl “canvas” doesn’t come from my own cherished collection.

My son Christopher, now 21, thinks it’s cool that he sees album covers on his iPod screen as he’s scrolling through song selections. I remind him that most of the original covers line the shelves in our living room, but somehow that seems less impressive in the 21st century.

A vinyl record, whether pristine or painted, is a thing of beauty. Check out the Spraygraphic art exhibit when it hits Hoodlums on Feb 26.

Take along some children or teens. Sometimes kids who disparage art develop a hidden passion or talent once exposed to art that feels relevant and accessible.

Catch this film at "Community Movie Night" in February

Remember too that the crews at Hoodlums and the neighboring “Local First Arizona” bookstore called Changing Hands come together each month to present a free movie with post-film discussion.

Next month’s “Community Movie Night,” scheduled for 6pm on Fri, Feb 25, features a Don Argott documentary titled “The Art of the Steal” with guest speaker Timothy Rodgers, director of the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.

“The Art of the Steal” examines the art collection of a Philadelphia doctor and medical researcher whose founding of a pharmaceutical firm made him a millionaire.

Albert C. Barnes’ art collection — featuring original paintings by Van Gogh, Renoir, Picasso, Cezanne and others — was scattered, against his will, after his death. The film explores how and why it happened.

I think I’m especially drawn to Springsteen’s vinyl memories because they remind me of all those bloggers working their craft out there in the world of more traditional journalism.

Words and music matter. But there are a million ways to explore and enjoy them. Who’s to say that any one is truly better than another?

Long live vinyl, and the hoodlums who spin them.

— Lynn

Note: Click here to explore other “Local First Arizona” organizations and here to learn about the “Fill in the Groove Album Art Show.” And thanks to my hubby James for sharing this link to an article about the impact of a 1964 album on the life of one little girl with her own rock ‘n’ roll heroes.

Coming up: Spam meets musical theater?, Art tackles name calling, Children’s theater from jungle to farm, Lynn’s library: Latest finds, Equity 101 for beginners, The fine art of civil discourse

Black Friday – Arts & culture style

When I think “Black Friday,” I picture stage managers and techies running around backstage on opening night — donning their black from head to toe so as not to be seen working their magic in the wings.

But for others, who value shopping above showtime this time of year, it’s that hallowed day reserved for parking lot scrambles, shopping cart bumper cars and all sorts of sale “strategery.”

The Arizona arts world has taken notice, jumping on the bargain bandwagon with various “Black Friday” offerings on everything from trinkets to tickets.

Fond as I am of hauling out all those handmade ornaments from Christmases past, I do sometimes long for a fresh but simple take on decorating the tree.

The Heard Museum offers lots of holiday happenings in addition to their "Ornament Marketplace"

So I was thrilled to learn of the Heard Museum “Ornament Marketplace” taking place Fri, Nov 26 through Sun, Nov 28 at both the Heard Museum in Phoenix and the Heard Museum North is Scottsdale.

It’s free to attend, and features Native-themed ornaments hand-crafted by American Indian artists. What a great way to support the arts while enjoying unique holiday fare.

The Valley is full of truly spectacular museum gift shops, including those at the Phoenix Art Museum, Taliesin West and the Musical Instrument Museum.

Offerings are unique, available in all price ranges and include items for children and adults with all sorts of interests.

Most museum gift shops welcome shoppers whether or not they’re also purchasing tickets to see museum exhibits.

Hit the mall if you must, but my idea of a “Black Friday” bonanza is hitting several museum gift shops. For those who prefer cyber-shopping, many museums feature an online option.

Valley theater companies are also working the “Black Friday” tradition, offering special pricing or ticket packaging.

Desert Stages Theatre has a special "Black Friday" ticket offer

Desert Stages Theatre in Scottsdale will take $5 off the ticket price for their production of “On Golden Pond” for shoppers who hit the theater Friday night with receipts from the day’s earlier exploits of Scottsdale Fashion Square (while supplies last).

While you’re there, you can shop the Desert Stages “Holiday Boutique,” which runs on select days/times between now and Dec 19.

Remember too that plenty of other arts organizations feature holiday boutiques at their performances this time of year. 

I’ve enjoyed shopping at Phoenix Symphony, Arizona Opera and Ballet Arizona boutiques for years.

Arizona Theatre Company is offering those who purchase four tickets through their in-person, phone or online box office on Fri, Nov 26, an additional two tickets.

Arizona Theatre Company has a special "Black Friday" ticket offer

Upcoming shows included in this “Black Friday” ticket offer are “Woody Guthrie’s American Song,” “Ten Chimneys” (a world premiere), “Lost in Yonkers” and “The Mystery of Irma Vep.”

If you’re not on the e-alert list of your favorite arts organizations, now would be a great time to sign up.

Several performing arts venues, such as ASU Gammage in Tempe, alert readers to special offers through e-letters and/or social media alerts.

Yesterday I received an e-mail alert about saving 10% on jewelry purchases made at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts and Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art gift shops on “Black Friday.”

I opened my e-mail this morning to find an e-alert from Actors Theatre of Phoenix, offering 25% savings on adults tickets for the first three performances of “A Christmas Carol” with the special code “EBBACK.”

Actors Theatre e-letter subscribers awoke this morning to a special ticket offer for "A Christmas Carol" at the Herberger Theater Center

Actors Theatre is also encouraging folks to support “Small Business Saturday” by shopping with local, community-based businesses on Sat, Nov 27.

Raising Arizona Kids is proud to be a member of “Local First Arizona” — and especially grateful this Thanksgiving for our many readers and supporters. (And yes, we do offer gift subscriptions.)

Finishing your holiday shopping early with Valley arts organizations will leave you with more time to savor the season — which means more time to enjoy all the arts and culture Arizona has to offer.

— Lynn

Note: If your Arizona-based visual or performing arts organization has a “Black Friday” sale/special this year, please add a brief comment below to let our readers know.

Coming up: Call the babysitter — it’s theater for grown-ups time!

Photo Credit: “Ten Chimneys” photo by Ed Flores

Election wipeout?

Don't let arts funding go the way of this surfer...

I’ve heard pundits and politicians banter about jobs, health care and education to no end. All issues worthy of discussion — but not the only ones voters should consider as they head to the polls on Tuesday.

I recently heard someone suggest we wipe out funding for the National Endowment for the Arts because monies from the federal program somehow crossed paths with the controversial art of Robert Mapplethorpe.

After National Public Radio let Juan Williams go following remarks about his own discomfort with airline passengers in Muslim garb, some called for the withdrawal of NPR’s federal funding.

It left me wondering…

Where do various politicians stand on the issue of arts and culture? I’m heartened by President Obama’s apparent passion and support for the arts, but I rarely hear arts discussed as an important public policy issue.

So do the arts matter to voters when they’re choosing between competing candidates and pieces of legislation? And should they?

“It always matters,” insists Catherine “Rusty” Foley, interim executive director of Arizona Citizens Action for the Arts. And it’s not too late to enjoy a quick course in ‘arts advocacy 101’ before you head to the polls.

Never fear if you’ve already cast your ballot. Arizona arts and culture need ongoing support — so lovers of all sorts or visual and performing arts are wise to get educated, and active, in the issues that face us each day.

What is the value of the arts? How do art and education intersect? Why is funding at the local, state and federal level so important? What can citizens do to make a difference?

Arizona legislative candidates have differing views and positions on the role and importance of arts and culture in our communities.

It’s helpful to know at least a bit about each candidate’s level of appreciation for the arts, often a reflection of their own experiences with the arts as a child or adult — and about their record of public support for the arts.

You’ll find results of a candidate survey conducted by Arizona Citizens Action for the Arts, and a Congressional arts report card, at www.azcitizensforthearts.org.

You’ll also find information on how school boards, bonds and overrides impact arts funding — all good things to know before you head to the polls.

The worst-case scenario for arts advocates would be election results that lead to a wipeout of arts funding. “A certain level of cutting may be necessary,” admits Foley, “but we can’t wipe out the arts sector and hope to rebuild it later.”

Beware the wipeout, urges Foley, because the arts sector would be harder to rebuild than anyone realizes. And its importance to the overall economy, though often underestimated, is great.

“Arts and culture are a critical part of economic recovery,” reflects Foley. They create jobs, boost tourism and enhance quality of life. They matter, and they all need us to take this message with us into — and beyond — the voting booth.

— Lynn

Note: Additional information about the arts and humanities in Arizona is available from the Arizona Commission on the Arts at www.azarts.gov and the Arizona Humanities Council at www.azhumanities.org.

Coming up: Review of “Hard Love” performed by Arizona Jewish Theatre Company, Celebrating Diwali in the Valley, All the world’s a…circus?