Tag Archives: Museum of Northern Arizona

A yen for multicultural art?

We enjoyed a lovely dinner last night with our children and James’ parents, who share our penchant for Italian fare despite extensive world travels.

My only experience with Japanese food was during graduate school, when I had a roomate who often shared family recipes featuring Japanese flair.

It’s unlikely I’ll ever be able to duplicate them — but I’m always on the lookout for opportunities to explore the culture of Japan and other countries.

Head to the Arizona Museum for Youth in Mesa today for a free Japanese-style celebration of Grandparents Day

So I’m excited about today’s (Sept. 5) noon to 5 p.m. “Passport to Japan: Grandparents Day” event at the Arizona Museum for Youth in Mesa.

Admission to museum exhibits, including “Jump to Japan,” is free today (Sept 5) — and museum visitors can explore a wealth of Japanese art and culture. Think kimonos and origami. Swordsmanship and cuisine. Calligraphy and storytelling.

Here’s a look ahead to other multicultural events and experiences coming to the Valley and other parts of Arizona…


Calo Flamenco CUADRO at Chandler Center for the Performing Arts. Sept 19 (3pm; free). Features music and dance following traditional themes and elements of this folk art form. www.caloflamenco.com.

Calo Flamenco performs Sept 19 at Chandler Center for the Arts

The Power of You at ASU Kerr Cultural Center in Scottsdale. Oct 2 (5-9pm; free). Features a thematic dance performance in the Indian classical style of Bharata Natyam by Stage Sanchar (presented by Arizona South Asians for Safe Families). www.asukerr.com.

Japanese Folk Dance at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Phoenix. Nov 15 (1pm; free with admission). Features Japanese music and folk dance. www.japanesefriendshipgarden.org.


Celtic Harvest Festival at Tequa Plaza in Oak Creek (near Sedona). Sept 24 & 25 (hours; ticket prices vary). Features art workshops and demonstrations, music and dancing, children’s activities, and vendors selling items from Ireland, Scotland and Wales. www.celticharvestfestival.com.

Celebraciones de la Gente at the Museum of Northern Arizona. Oct 24 & 25 (9am-5pm; free with museum admission of $4 to $7). Features opportunity to learn about the traditions and culture of people from Mexico and Latin America. www.musnaz.org.

The Arizona Irish Festival at Margaret T. Hance Park in Phoenix. Oct 31 (10am-8pm; free). Features Celtic music and dance, along with kids’ activities. www.festival.azirish.org.


Jump to Japan: Discovering Culture Through Popular Art at the Arizona Museum for Youth in Mesa. Through Oct 10 (times vary; $6.50/ages 1 & up). Features both traditional art forms and pop icons in a fun and educational exhibit. www.arizonamuseumforyouth.com.

Community Second Sunday at the Heard Museum (Phoenix and Scottsdale). Sept 12 (11am-5pm; free for Arizona residents). Features free admission to all exhibits at both Heard Museum locations (presented by Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort and Spa). www.heard.org.


Spirit of Nature at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix. Sept 25 (7pm; $25-$30). Features acclaimed Chinese flutist Chen Tao and ‘mistress of the pipa’ Gao Hong. www.themim.org.

Gao Hong (above) performs with Chen Tao Sept 25 at the Musical Instrument Museum

A Mexican Celebration at the University of Arizona Music Building (Chowder Hall) in Tucson. Sept 25 (7:30pm; $9/general admission). www.cfa.arizona.edu/music.

Pops Adventures Around the World at Phoenix Symphony Hall. Oct 1-3 (times vary; $18-$83). Features Phoenix Symphony conducted by Jack Everly performing music from Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States and Italy. www.phoenixsymphony.org.

Doc Severinsen & El Ritmo de la Vida at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. Oct 14 (7:30pm; $49-$59). Features trio performing Latino music, along with the blues, played in a European style. www.sccarts.org.


Multilingual Reading at the University of Arizona Poetry Center in Tucson. Sept 10 (8pm; free). Poets Sherwin Bitsui, Alberto Rios, Natalia Toldeo and Ofelia Zepeda read from their work. Features a chainlink of translations in Zapotec, Spanish, Tohono O’odham and Navajo. www.poetrycenter.arizona.edu.

Visual Arts

Kimono Evolution: The Japanese Character of Silk at the Phoenix Art Museum. Sept 8 (12:30pm; free with admission). Features rare opportunity to view exquisite objects from a private collection not previously displayed publicly (presented by members of the Japanese Culture Club of Arizona). www.phxart.org.

La Phoeniquera art exhibit at the Arizona Latino Arts & Culture Center in Phoenix. Through Oct 29. Features an examination of urban Phoenix by Latino artists who are experiencing the cultural changes firsthand. www.alacaz.org.

I’m always looking — so please share what you’ve found on the multicultural front in Arizona arts and culture in the comment section below.

— Lynn

Note: Many of the venues/organizations noted above offer additional multicultural fare, so please visit their websites to learn more.

Coming up: Trumpet tales, Art & animals, Poetry perspectives, Making magic in Tucson



Military matters

I was struck Tuesday afternoon by two sentences from a press release sent by the Arizona Commission on the Arts

The first sentence read as follows: Six Arizona museums will offer free admission to all active duty personnel and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day 2010…. 

The final sentence read like this: We imagine an Arizona where everyone can participate in and experience the arts. 

I began to consider for the first time the many challenges that military families must face in enjoying the arts and culture that’s such an integral part of the country they serve and defend each day. The limits that tours of duty place on their together time. The economic hardship of wages way beneath their worth. 

I also wondered about the ways many of America’s military members and artists might be similar. Both bring passion, dedication and immeasurable hard work to their craft. Both are essential to promoting and supporting the many freedoms we enjoy as Americans—including our rights to self-expression. 

Yet both are woefully under-appreciated, often working with too few resources amidst intolerable apathy. 

Desert Caballeros exhibit features 'cowgirl' art

So I was delighted to learn that military families across the country can enjoy free admission to more than 600 participating museums thanks to the “Blue Star Museum Initiative”–a partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts with Blue Star Families, a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit network of families from all ranks and services including guard and reserve who work to “support, connect and empower military families.” 

Arizona museums participating in the program are: 

Arizona State Museum in Tucson. This museum, located at the University of Arizona, notes that it “holds the largest whole vessel collection of Southwestern Indian pottery in the world”–and is “the primary repository for archeological materials excavated on Arizona’s state lands.” www.statemuseum.arizona.edu 

Desert Caballeros Western Museum in Wickenberg. The museum’s permanent collection features Native American arts and artifacts, gems and minerals, early Arizona street scenes and period rooms, and history dioramas. Current exhibitions include “Cowgirl Up!” featuring “art from the other half of the West” and “Snapshots of Early Twentieth Century Arizona: A Postcard Legacy” featuring the art of Jeremy Rowe. www.westernmuseum.org 

Heard Museum in Phoenix. This museum is “dedicated to the sensitive and accurate portrayal of Native arts and cultures” through combining the “stories of American Indian people from a personal perspective with the beauty of art.” Their collection features “art ranging from ancestral artifacts to contemporary paintings and jewelry.” www.heard.org  

Phoenix Art Museum presents "In the Mood"

Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff. The museum features exhibits in four main disciplines: anthropology, biology, geology and fine art. It showcases the land and people of the Colorado Plateau with permanent exhibits in five galleries and changing exhibits in three additional galleries. www.musnaz.org 

Phoenix Art Museum in Phoenix. This museum offers diverse collections including American, Asian, European, Latin American, Western American art and much more (fashion, photography, etc.). Current exhibitions include “Ansel Adams,” “Sumatra,” “Exposing Time” and “In the Mood.” www.phxart.org 

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art in Scottsdale. The museum features innovative programming that currently includes an exhibit called “Text Messages” developed through the museum’s teen “Visions” program. Other current exhibits include “Architecture + Art: 90 Days Over 100 degrees” and “Spyhopping: Adventures with Sue Chenoweth and the permanent collection.” www.smoca.org 

Mini-Time Machine Museum. This museum displays “an entertaining and interactive array of antique and contemporary miniatures as well as enchanting artifacts” and features “over 275 miniature houses and room boxes.” The museum “styles itself as a miniature time machine” in which visitors explore “different lands and times both real and imagined.” www.theminitimemachine.org 

Sue Chenoweth work on exhibit at SMOCA

If you know of a military family who might enjoy these museum adventures, please share the word. Remember too that all Arizona families are welcome to explore the arts and culture on exhibit at diverse museums throughout our state

We could all use a little more gratitude for both the women and men who serve our country in the military and the artists who further the ideas and conversations so crucial to the freedoms we all hold dear. 


Note: Click here to find a list of all museums throughout the country participating in this program

Coming up: Museum-related careers, More Valley venues unveil upcoming seasons