Tag Archives: Phoenix Art Museum

The fine art of paper

Seems folks at the Phoenix Art Museum did a bit of “free association” on the subject of paper before opening the “Paper!” exhibition that runs through Sept. 23.

Escher. Harding. Toulouse-Lautrec. Warhol. All artists included in the “Paper!” exhibit just opened at the Phoenix Art Museum. I spent a lovely Sunday afternoon taking it all in, and thought I’d share a few highlights for those of you unmoved by the mere mention of the title. Paper is more fascinating than you think, as evidenced by the diverse collection of paper works included in this exhibition.

Think little black dress made of “Post-It” notes. A giant Chinese fan. Paper mache works that call to mind the mischievous “Gremlins” of film fare. DIY jewelry kits. A work inspired by cigarette packs. A shiny white sculpture resembling a polished piece of crumpled up paper. A work that screams “flower power.”

Paper!” runs through Sept. 23 at the Phoenix Art Museum’s Steele Gallery, which is just across from the The Museum Store where I spied plenty of unique and traditional Father’s Day gift fare after enjoying all things paper. Think ties, clocks, puzzles, architeture-theme LEGO sets, kitchen wares, office gadgets, books, posters and more. Sorry — no lawn movers or extreme razors.

A trip to see “Paper!” would make a lovely Father’s Day outing, especially coupled with Sunday brunch at the museum’s Palette restaurant. Also a fun start to “First Friday” come June 1. While you’re at the museum, explore a few of their other offerings as well — including four additional exhibitions and works in the museum’s permanent collection.

As you’re enjoying the “Paper!” exhibition, watch for details like which countries artists hail from and what sorts of materials they used. I found works created with chalk, paint, spirulina, chlorophyl, graphite, wire, steel, gold and more. Also a fascinating array of subject matter. Think politics, fruit, guns, landscapes, maps, summer camp, social commentary and such.

Exhibition walls are dotted with blurbs related to various ways we use paper, many shaped like yellow sticky notes. Watch for the large whiteboard as you exit the exhibition. It’s got notes you can use to leave your own “Paper!” perspectives (But alas, they’re not the clever sticky notes found in The Museum Store).

If you take the kids along, be sure you hit the dedicated children’s area, where they can draw with colored pencils at a long yellow table strewn with beautiful wooden stencils or sit at one of several wooden stools in front of sturdy easels topped with blank paper.

Take them for an outside spin too. The courtyard between the Phoenix Art Museum and Phoenix Theatre is filled with trees offering ample shade and several sculptures that make for a lovely bit of “I-Spy” action. Then head home and give them lots of paper and other materials to work with. Because today’s parents are nurturing tomorrow’s artists.

— Lynn

Coming up: The power of the word

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Once upon a painting

My favorite scene from “Red” — which runs through May 20 at the Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix (Photo by Chris Bennion)

Now that our three college-age kids are home for the summer, we’ve got a bit more help around the house. Not with the heavy lifting, but more modest tasks like snatching papers off the printer and delivering them to me at my laptop. When they come with a smile, I feel doubly blessed.

Recently Jennifer was the bearer of a bio I’d printed about artist Mark Rothko, whose work is at the heart of a play called “Red” that’s being performed by Arizona Theatre Company through May 20 at the Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix. I find his work perplexing, despite reading myself silly on the subject.

“I like this guy,” Jennifer told me in delivery mode. Understandable when you consider that a rather Rothko-esque painting hangs in her room — a work she created many years ago during summer camp at the Oxbow School in Napa, California. That was the summer of welding and such.

I spent some time with one of Rothko’s works during a Saturday outing to the Phoenix Art Museum, where his “Untitled (Blue and Green)” created in 1968 hangs in a gallery of one of museum’s four floors. Rothko was an American painter who lived from 1903 to 1970, quite the remarkable span of U.S. history.

Near the painting there’s a brief explanation of its origin and significance, which notes that “Untitled (Blue and Green)” was “created in the final years of Rothko’s life.” Seems the work “marks a temporary reprieve in his long struggles with depression.” Two years after painting it, Rothko took his own life. Many believe he lived with bipolar disorder.

The play guide created by Arizona Theatre Company for its production of “Red” explores Rothko’s personal and professional struggles, sets his role as a founder of Abstract Expressionism in the larger context of art history and shares themes you might miss without some understanding of playwright John Logan’s approach. Think daddy issues.

I saw the play Sunday evening with youngest daughter Lizabeth, a proud survivor of freshman theater studies in NYC who was sorry she’d missed seeing “Red” during the Broadway run that earned it a 2010 Tony Award for best play. She’s making up for lost time this season, having seen eight of the 2012 Tony Award nominees.

This “Red” is a co-production of ATC with Seattle Repertory Theatre. It’s directed by Richard E.T. White, and stars Denis Arndt as artist Mark Rothko and Connor Toms as his assistant Ken. Both has significant Shakespeare experience — something I learned from reading their bios, but Lizabeth surmised from watching their movement and listening to their way with words.

Scenic design by Kent Dorsey, which demonstrates a layering that mirrors Rothko’s construction of his own work, is quite lovely. Costume design by Rose Pederson and lighting design by Robert Peterson are beautiful as well. Original music and sound design are by Brendan Patrick Hogan, who effectively uses music to convey each character’s vibe and the differences between them.

Both Lizabeth and I enjoyed Logan’s writing, and I’m eager to get my hand on a copy of the play so I can enjoy it free of others’ artistic impulses. It’s at once a treatise on the nature of art and artist, and a reflection on what makes us human — wrapped up with humor and a good dose of art history. Its themes resonate with creators and consumers of both visual and performing arts.

Folks steeped in philosophy, theology and literature will recognize something of themselves, and their craft, in Logan’s work. Those who’ve seen the films “Hugo,” “Coriolanus,” “Rango,” “Sweeney Todd,” “The Aviator” and “Gladiator” have already experienced Logan in screenwriting mode.

Seeing “Red” didn’t change my tepid response to Rothko’s paintings, but it did give me a greater appreciation for his journey — and plenty of food for thought while continuing my own.

— Lynn

Note: Click here to explore Rothko works at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Please note that “Red” contains mature language. Still, its themes can be appreciated by students of art in middle and high school.

Coming up: Playwright profiles

Great news! Raising Arizona Kids has a spiffy new website! Once a “subscribe” feature is added for blogs on the new website, I’ll be posting “Stage Mom” blogs there. Thanks for taking time to resubscribe once all things “Stage Mom” move to the new website. I so appreciate you reading the work.

When silence isn’t golden

“Bullied to Silence” premieres in Phoenix this Saturday (Photo: Tami Pivnick)

Another film about bullying is making its way to Phoenix this weekend, with two screenings at the Phoenix Art Museum. Its title, “Bullied to Silence,” was inspired by those who “choose not to have a voice” and those who’ve been silenced by suicide in the aftermath of bullying, according to writer and producer Susan Broude.

The film features people, including some in Arizona, whose lives have been touched by bullying. For each of them, reflects Broude, where was a psychological component. Fear. Anxiety. Low self esteem. Depression. It’s important, she says, to help both the bullied and the bully.

One story recounted in the film is that of an identical twin in Maine who “became a cutter” during fifth grade. Before Broude interviewed the 15-year-old teen, she’d been hospitalized with anxiety and depression for several weeks. In talking with her, Broude first heard of the taunting term “emo” that’s used by kids to describe peers who seem dark or disturbed somehow.

Another shares the journey of a boy “who had lots of OCD traits” and would sometimes bite himself. He too was hospitalized for “severe anxiety and depression,” but went on to become an “American Idol” semifinalist. He’s working now, says Broude, to show people they can get through it. “The only answer isn’t suicide,” she adds.

The movie is appropriate for youth ages nine and above, according to Broude, who adds that children that young have taken their own lives. It does have some strong language, but Broude says they worked hard to make the film “school appropriate.” It’s directed by Tami Pivnick.

The film focuses on verbal and cyberbullying. More than 90% of bullying cases start with verbal bullying, according to Broude, who adds that most of it can be stopped if someone intervenes assertively (rather than aggressively) within 60 seconds.

Too often, says Broude, adults model bullying for the youth around them. Parents do it. Teachers do it. Politicians do it. And TV shows are full of it. If we want to stop bullying, we’ll have to be the change. “Watch what you’re saying,” says Broude. Validate those who tell you they’ve been bullied. And step in immediately.

Broude notes that “Bullied to Silence” explores bullying “around the country and the world” — featuring youth and adults whose diversity of race, religion, sexual orientation and more represents “the full spectrum of humanity.” Bullying happens in our own back yard, but also far beyond it.

She’s hoping the film will forge a connection with those who see it, inspiring them to get involved and make a difference. Learn more at www.purplepeople.com and www.bulliedtosilence.com.

— Lynn

Note: Click here for information on the Teen Lifeline suicide hotline in Arizona and here to learn about the Arizona Suicide Prevention Coalition. Phoenix screenings are being presented by GLSEN/Phoenix and the Scottdale International Film Festival.

Coming up: New plays by Arizona women

More than Margaritaville

Even the floors at Xico in Chandler are covered with artwork

For too many Americans, Cinco de Mayo is merely one more excuse to drink beyond reason. For others, it’s a friendly reminder to spend more time exploring the diverse arts and culture of Latin America. For those of you seeking more than Margaritaville, I’ve assembled a humble rundown of a few places you can explore Latin American arts and culture here in Arizona.

  • Arizona Latino Arts & Cultural Center in Phoenix presents visual and performance art. Their “2nd Annual Latina Art Exhibit and Festival” and “What Do Kids Want?” exhibit open today. May’s “First Friday” lineup at ALAC includes the performances by Mystic Events Dance Group, ethnographer Sarah Amira de la Garza and dance group Unidos en Amistad. A Jeremy Gillett play titled “Black & 25 in America” premieres at the center May 12. Learn more at www.alac.mouthtomouthmedia.com.
  • Phoenix Art Museum has a permanent collection of Latin American art that includes more than 400 works of art from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries including religious paintings, colonial furniture, decorative arts and more. Featured artists include Frida Kahlo, Rufino Tamayo and Diego Rivera — plus many contemporary artists. Learn more at www.phxarts.org.
  • Tucson Museum of Art has more than 1,900 works in its permanent Spanish colonial and folk art collections, in addition to oil-on-tin retablos and Mexican provinical paintings. Current exhibitions include “Frida Kahlo: Through the Lens of Nickolas Murray,” “Tesoros del Pueblo: Latin American Folk Art” and “Frida’s Style: Traditional Women’s Costumes from Mexico.” They’ll present a free screening of the film “Frida” on May 10, and partner with UA to present teacher training in Latin American art. Learn more at www.tucsonmuseumofart.org.
  • Xico in Chandler sponsors the region’s oldest “Dia de los Muertos Festival” — a free event that “showcases community performers, folk art vendors, storytelling, cultural music, children’s activities, a community procession and community altar. The 2012 festival takes place on Nov. 3. They also present community exhibitions and “meet the artist” events featuring works by Latino and Native American artists. Xico offers classes with professional artists to underserved youth, plus printmaking workshops (“an art-form with a rich history among indigenous artists”). Learn more at www.xicoinc.org.

Click here if you’re looking for family-friendly Cinco de Mayo celebrations, and here to learn more about an Arizona organization called Friends of Mexican Art.

— Lynn

Note: Click here if you’re celebrating Keith Haring’s birthday today and here to watch Robert Booker on PBS’s “Horizon” (Booker heads the Arizona Commission on the Arts). If you just like clicking things, simply fondle your remote control.

Coming up: The best pies in Glendale?, Art meets Austria

Update: Works by 2012 Arizona Doodle 4 Google finalists will be exhibited at the Tucson Museum of Art June 1-Aug 31. You can vote online for your favorite Doodle for Google through May 10 by clicking here. 5/4/12; Click here to read “Rescuing the Stories Behind Latino Art” by Holland Cotter published in The New York Times. 5/12.

From bullying to British theatre

When our youngest daughter Lizabeth attended Arizona School for the Arts in Phoenix, she participated each year in something called “Day of Silence” — described by organizer GLSEN as “a student-led national event that brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools.”

This year’s “Day of Silence” was held on April 20, but folks who missed it can support the cause in other ways — including attending a screening of the new film “Bullied to Silence” taking place May 12 at the Phoenix Art Museum.

Bullied to Silence” is an 84-minute documentary that “gives a voice to bullied youth from all walks of life.” It was written and directed by local filmmakers and features several Arizona participants. I’m told it “tells the stories of children and teens whose ethnicities, physical challenges, and sexual orientations set them apart, and how they’ve coped with bullying by peers and adults alike.”

Susan Broude, the film’s writer/producer, describes bullying as “an epidemic in America” and hopes the film will help put an end to the verbal abuse at the heart of so much bullying today. GLSEN Phoenix co-founder Madelaine Adelman says the film complements their “mission to create safe, respectful and healthy K-12 schools for all.”

This 2012 feature documentay premieres May 1 in Sedona, then heads to the Phoenix Art Museum

“Bullied by Silence” will be screened at both 11am and 2pm on May 12. Nicole Stanton, wife of Phoenix mayor Greg Stanton, will introduce the first screening, and both screenings will be followed by a Q & A presentation featuring filmmakers Tami Pivnick and Susan Broude, plus several cast members.

The screenings are sponsored by GLSEN Phoenix in cooperation with the Scottsdale International Film Festival. Representatives of GLSEN Phoenix will attend the screening to provide “resource information to support safe schools for all students.” Earlier screenings in Sedona take place May 1-4, thanks to a partnership with the Sedona International Film Festival, and also include special guest speakers.

While you’re at the Phoenix Art Museum, grab a schedule of the museum’s film offerings. The museum often presents films it’s hard to find in other venues — such as “Anchors Away” (a ’40s musical starring Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Kathryn Grayson), “Gidget” (a ’50s teen flick starring the Sandra Dee most kids know only from “Grease” lyrics) and “Rothko’s Room” (part of their “Ab/Ex Film Series”).

The Phoenix Art Museum hosts a “Local Film Community Panel” May 30, and presents “This American Life” with host Ira Glass June 1 and 3. The latter will be captured live on May 10 and broadcast from the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, where Lizabeth enjoyed a performance of “110 Stories” last September.

The museum also broadcasts National Theatre Live productions. Upcoming encore presentations include “One Man, Two Guvners” (June 10) and “Frankenstein” (June 13 & 14). The cast of “Frankenstein” includes Benedict Cumberbatch, who appeared in the movie “War Horse” and stars in “Sherlock” on PBS’s “Masterpiece” (season 2 begins May 6).

— Lynn

Note: In addition to regular posts, I’ll be sharing posts on art and mental illness during May, which is Mental Health Month. If you offer art programs (dance, music, theater, visual art, writing) serving Arizona youth or adults living with mental illness, I’d love to hear from you at rakstagemom@gmail.com.

Coming up: I never met a box I didn’t like

Update: Ira Glass comes to Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts Jan. 19, 2013 as part of the 2012-13 season. Watch their website for details. And click here to see just-announced 2012 Tony Award nominees (which Lizabeth shared with me via text message at 5:47am this morning–clever girl). 5/1/12

One block in Brooklyn

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St. Patrick’s Day came a bit early to Brooklyn as a man selling souvenirs donned a green beard and a purveyor of tasty fare called Blue Apron Foods turned out cookies with Irish flair. I decided, after hitting a Brooklyn origami studio one afternoon, to walk the rest of the block — curious about what I might find within one block in Brooklyn. Clearly it was good. After sampling a piece of authentic shortbread and getting a bakery tour of everything from dinosaur cookies to thin multicolored licorice ropes, I headed out in search of all things Brooklyn.

As I walked, a lone book title — “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” — kept running through my head. It’s actually oodles of trees, many still sporting bare winter branches — but others just beginning to show tiny green sprouts of life. I realized, after strolling through a bit of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, that many were the sort of crabapple trees I’d seen there. Often streets were lined with trees, beautiful even when bare.

I made my way to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden after a lovely gentleman at Blue Apron Foods gave me directions. Really good ones. Seems his father was in the service, and there’s a Grand Army Plaza honoring folks who’ve fought in the military near the turn you take to enter the garden — which is accessible off the street or one of New York’s plentiful parks. The garden was filled with woody Japanese wisteria, bright yellow daffodils in bloom and bulbs yet to open.

I actually got a bit distracted en route to the garden — spying one of my favorite places in any town I visit. The local library. The Brooklyn Public Library has a magnificent edifice featuring gold designed inspired by mythology and a pair of quotes etched in stone. Quotes from A.A. Milne and other children’s author wrap around a portion of the children’s area, and an exhibit of botanical theme quilts from the Quilters’ Guild of Brooklyn is currently exhibited in the library’s grand lobby.

Curious about a building I’d spied adjacent to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, I decided to do more exploring and stumbled upon a truly exceptional find — the Brooklyn Museum, where an exhibition featuring works by Keith Haring has just opened. Exciting stuff, but not quite pitter patter material like the works of Auguste Rodin — my favorite sculpture, and someone whose work I first enjoyed during a year of study and travel abroad. I admired Rodin’s work while thinking about Arizona’s own John Waddell and his newest installation adjacent to the Herberger Theater Center. Often I find the hands and feet most fascinating.

Like our own Phoenix Art Museum and Heard Museum, the Brooklyn Museum has a special room dedicated to children and teens. Their Con Ed education gallery exhibits sculpture, paintings, drawings and multi-media works created in various programs and classes offered by the museum. Many of the youth works reveal real skill and depth of emotion.

My mission to meander through just a single block in Brooklyn turned into something much more. Two boroughs down, three to go.

— Lynn

Note: Click here to explore our own Desert Botanical Garden and here to exlore our own Phoenix Art Museum — both of which offer programs for youth. Click here to enjoy a post by Marina Chetner featuring photos snapped throughout the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

Coming up: Big read meets big quilt, A serious superstar

Make some waves

Tile mural at the San Diego International Airport in California

The Phoenix Art Museum presents “Make Waves!” for teens who like to “mix, mingle and create” Fri, March 2 at 6:30pm. Youth who attend can create their own beach-ware accessories, hear sounds of the ocean and view sea-inspired garments during opening night for the museum’s newest fashion show, “The Sea.”

Mesa Community College Act I Musical Productions performs the musical “Rent” featuring book, music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson through Thurs, March 8 at Theatre Outback.

The Phoenix Municipal Art Collection has more than 1,000 works of art that’ll be featured in rotating exhibits in the newly renovated Gallery @ City Hall. Folks can get their first glimpse Fri, March 2, between 10am and 2pm — when the city unveils “Place: Images of the West,” which includes 23 paintings, photographs and prints from 21 artists inspired by western landscapes.

Scottsdale Community College opens its “13th Annual Spring Painting Exhibition” featuring more than 20 artists Fri, March 2. View the exhibition in the SCC art building Mon-Fri 8am-4pm or Sat 9am-3pm.

Chandler-Gilbert Community College presents the musical “Little Women” March 2-9 at the Arnette Scott Ward Performing Arts Center in Chandler. It’s based on the book by Louisa May Alcott, and features book by Allan Knee, music by Jason Howland and lyrics by Mindi Dickstein.

AZ Musicfest 2012 presents “From A to Z — Abba to Les Miz — Broadway’s Best” Sat, March 3 (a March 2 performance is sold out) at Scottsdale First Assembly. Nat Chandler and Teri Dale Hansen will be singing works from “Chicago,” “Mamma Mia!,” “Phantom of the Opera,” “Rent,” “Spamalot” and “Wicked.”

Scorpius Dance Theatre is looking ahead to their next performance of “A Vampire Tale” at the Bram Stoker International Film Festival this fall, raising funds for the trip through an all-day dance class marathon Sat, March 3 from 11am to 8pm. They’re offering hour-long master classes in ballet, modern technique, salsa/cha cha, centemporary jazz, burlesque and hip hop.

Tempe Center for the Arts presents a “Walk-in Artist Workshop” Sat, March 3. The “Plein Air Family Workshop with Ellen Waggener” takes place from noon to 4pm in the Gallery — where families can also enjoy an “Arizona Landscapes” exhibition.

The Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture and the Seventh Street Merchants Association unveil new artwork and poetry Sat, March 3 at 1:15pm during the “Melrose on Seventh Avenue Street Fair” (11am-5pm) in Phoenix. The works comprise series 8 of the “Seventh Street Streetscape.”

Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe presents a “Meet and Greet Booksigning” with Roxanna Green Sat, March 3 at 5pm. Green authored “As Good As She Imagined: The Redeeming Story of the Angel of Tucson, Christina-Taylor Green” after losing her daughter last January in the Tucson tragedy and now heads a foundation that bears her daughter’s name.

Arizona State University in Tempe holds an Arizona SciTech Festival event dubbed “Night of the Open Door” Sat, March 3 from 5-9pm. The Piper Writers House hosts author readings/book signings that night with Conrad Storad (author of more than 40 science and nature books for children and young adults) and Stephen J. Pyne (author of nearly two dozen books who specializes in history of the environment, exploration and fire).

Never fear if you’re over 21 but still eager to make waves. You can hit opening night for the “Phoenix Fringe Festival” Fri, March 2 — with offerings that include performance by Dulce Dance Company, a choreopoem presented by BlackPoet Ventures, a trio of short plays from Actors Alchemy and more.

— Lynn

Note: Click here to find additional events for families featured in the Raising Arizona Kids Magazine online calendar. Always check with venues before attending to confirm event details.

Coming up: Five freebies for families