After dropping one of my kids off for a meeting in downtown Phoenix on Saturday, I had an hour or so of spare time on my hands. Recently armed with a new camera, I decided to go in search of art venues I could explore and maybe snap some photos.
The view as I walked east towards ALAC and Symphony Hall
I found a metered parking spot along Adams, and headed a block or so up the road to the Arizona Latino Arts & Cultural Center. I entered through the gift shop, lured by a vast array of colorful objects of art, attire, jewelry and more.
ALAC has a humble exterior but boasts great works of imagination within
There I met two cheerful gentleman who welcomed me to the Center, and assured me they’d be happy to answer any questions. I got permission to use my flash and off I went.
This bracelet with hearts might make a nice Valentine's Day gift
While going from room to room, I enjoyed works ranging from small metal sculptures to giant artworks drawn with colored pencils.
Sweet Dreams by David Romo sits at a nice height for younger viewers
I enjoyed artwork featuring cars, owls, desert animals, children, butterflies, the wide open sky and so much more. It’s a place you can explore in less than an hour, and I saw plenty of works that have strong kid-appeal.
Detail, Til the Road Ends by Ray Rivas
The Arizona Latino Arts & Cultural Center is in a great location for walking city streets and enjoying all sorts of shops, restaurants, galleries and performing arts venues.
Untitled by Carlos Navarrete is part of a Visions of Guadalupe exhibit
You could easily make a day of it by taking in a show at Valley Youth Theatre nearby or htting the Phoenix Burton Barr Central Library. (Both have small art exhibits on site.)
Like many musems, ALAC uses technology to enhance cultural exhibits
But back to my ALAC adventures — which included a lengthy and lively chat with one of the young men who’d greeted me when I arrived.
This metal and found objects sculpture (R) is Cicso's Ride by David Romo
I learned late in our conversation, after mentioning my fondness for the colored pencil works, that I was talking with artist Carlos Rivas.
Detail, Must Not Sleep by Carlos Rivas - Part of the "Off the Grid" exhibit
Rivas is a 33-year-old “self-taught” artist from El Paso, Texas who has been creating art since childhood, but only embraced his talent within the past few years. His passion for art and community are evident as he speaks.
Detail, Lord Ganesh by Carlos Rivas - My favorite work on exhibit at ALAC
I mentioned seeing yet another Arizona-related story on the front page of The New York Times – regarding recent changes to policies regarding ethnic-studies courses in high school.
We agreed that it would be nice to read good news about Arizona for a change, and Rivas shared his conviction that the Center serves the community by increasing knowledge, understanding and dialogue.
I hadn’t yet heard the tragic news of the shooting in Tucson, and it occured to me that the national media should visit the Center to find a bit of what’s beautiful here in Arizona.
You can enjoy the Arizona Latino Arts & Cultural Center free of charge during regular operating hours — but a glass jar welcomes donations by those who wish to support the Center’s work.
ALAC has a room/stage dedicated to performance and educational events
Or head to the Center for Phoenix “First Fridays” so you can enjoy several arts and cultural activities in one evening.
Remember ALAC next time you enjoy a symphony, opera or ballet downtown
If you’re a teacher taking students on a field trip to the Herberger Theater Center, Phoenix Symphony Hall or other nearby venue, leave some extra time to explore the Arizona Latino Arts & Cultural Center.
The Herberger Theater Center has a stunning new look both inside and out
The Center is also a nice pairing with an afternoon spent at the Children’s Museum of Phoenix. I left the Center with a wee bit of time left on my parking meter, so I scurried over to the Herberger Theater Center Art Gallery to enjoy their new “Sacred Places” exhibit.
This James Van Fossan work titled Sky IV is part of the Sacred Places exhibit
On my way back to get Lizabeth, I drove past the Phoenix Center Theater and noticed a long line of folks heading into the theater for a performance of “Grease” by youth in an afterschool program titled “Art & Sol.” The show runs through Sat, Jan 22.
Enjoy true community theater just off the Loop 202 at 3rd St. in Phoenix
I’ll share more of my Saturday afternoon adventures in another post. In the meantime, feel free to suggest other venues you’d like me to explore and share with our readers.
Watch for roving Phoenix Ambassadors eager to assist downtown visitors
Inspired by the work and words of Carlos Rivas, I expect to take not only my camera, but also a sketch pad and colored pencils, on future art adventures.
Note: Click here to learn more about arts and cultural attractions in the downtown Phoenix area.
Coming up: Art at the Herberger — inside and out
Photos (decent and lousy) by Lynn Trimble