Tag Archives: Phoenix events

Heroes of Hope

Folks who hit First Friday in Phoenix tonight can enjoy a “Heroes of Hope” exhibit being held in honor of National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day (May 9). “Heroes of Hope” exhibits in Arizona represent a collaboration between the Arizona Art Therapy Association, Art Awakenings and Marana Health — plus participating families and youth. The Phoenix exhibit will be open during May at the Art Awakenings gallery located at 1014 N. 2nd St. Gallery hours are 6-9pm during this month’s First Friday.

Participating youth created works of art “representing heroes in their lives and how they have been helped in times of stress.” May’s First Friday event at the Art Awakenings gallery includes “a multimedia presentation with art imagery and facts about children’s mental health.”

A “Heroes of Hope” art fair taking place May 11 at the Marana Health Center ” will be formatted much like a science fair” and feature art created by K-12 students. Children who attend will be invited to create hand and footprints with paint for a “Wall of Heroes” being sent to service men and women deployed from Davis-Monathan Air Force Base. I’m told the event also features “interactive stations and information.”

Click here to learn more about National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day — a program of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. I’m one taxpayer who’s perfectly happy to support programs that help families living with depression and other devastating mental health disorders.

— Lynn

Note: Click here to explore “Facts for Families” from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Click here to explore explore a piece from The Guardian featuring artwork created by participants in London’s CoolTan Arts programs.

Coming up: Silver linings, Dance meets documentary


Walk on the art side

The Beastro participates in 4th Fridays in Prescott

Families who’ve resolved to get more fit during the New Year have several art walk options that make power walking a bit more playful. Check out these art walks, which couple time to stroll with opportunities to experience local arts and culture.

Downtown Chandler Art Walk. Takes place the third Friday of every month along San Marcos Place and Boston Street. The event features art in various mediums, live music from local talent and a fun family atmosphere. Learn more at www.downtownchandlerartwalk.com.

Artist Alicia Van Noy Call painting during a Prescott 4th Friday event

Downtown Mesa 2nd Friday. Takes place the second Friday of each month from 6-10pm on and around West Downtown Main Street. The event features open galleries, live music and hands-on activities. Learn more at www.2ndfridaynightout.com.

First Friday Artwalk. Takes place from 6-9pm the first Friday of each month in historic downtown Flagstaff. The event features special art exhibitions, performances, live music and treats from local art galleries and businesses. Learn more at www.flagstaffartwalk.com.

First Friday Phoenix Art Walk. Takes place the first Friday of each month from 6-10pm. The event features more than 70 galleries, venues and art-realted spaces — with free event shuttles based at the Phoenix Art Museum. Learn more www.artlinkinc.wordpress.com.

Rowena Tank enjoying a 4th Friday event in Prescott

Gallery Row in Tucson Artwalk. Takes place every Thursday from 5-7pm. The event features open galleries, live music and wine tastings. Learn more at www.tucsongalleryrow.com.

Prescott’s 4th Friday Art Walks. Takes place the fourth Friday of each month, with art galleries listing various art walk hours (most start at 5pm and end at 8pm). The event features open art galleries, live music, food and more. Galleries invite visitors to bring non-perishable food items for donation to the Prescott Community Cupboard. Learn more at www.artthe4th.com.

Scottsdale ArtWalk. Takes place every Thursday from 7-9pm in the Scottsdale Art District (in and around Old Town). The event features open galleries, live music and more. Special ArtWalks each month have diverse themes (Jan. 2012: A Taste of…; Feb. 2012: Best of …, March 2012: Native Arts…, April 2012: Glass Act…). Learn more at www.scottsdalegalleries.com.

— Lynn

Note: Events details are always subject to change, so please verify before attending. For a comprehensive listing of events for families, check the Raising Arizona Kids Magazine calendar in print or online.

Coming up: Cinderella– with a twist, Wings & things

Photos courtesy of the City of Prescott Office of Tourism

Get reel!

The Tucson Jewish Community Center presents the 2012 Tucson International Jewish Film Festival Jan. 12-21 at the JCC Auditorium in Tucson. Their “Fabulous Faygeleh LGBT Film Series,” featuring three films, takes place Jan. 22. The festival’s opening film, “The Round Up” (“La Rafle”) is being screened at Tucson’s Loft Cinema.

The Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival presents “Get Reel with Director Bryan Singer” Jan. 14 at the Chandler Center for the Arts — which benefits the Holocaust and Tolerance Museum and Education Center currently being developed by the East Valley Jewish Community Center.

The “Desperado LGBT Film Festival” takes place Jan. 27-29 at the Paradise Valley Community College Center for the Performing Arts.  A couple of short films and panel discussions are free. Proceeds from ticketed screenings and events support LGBTQA scholarships.

The 2012 Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival takes place Feb.12-26 at three Harkins Theatres in the Valley — Scottsdale Camelview, Chandler Crossroads and Peoria Arrowhead. It features 11 films, for diverse audiences, that “offer a wealth of Jewish life, culture, humor and drama.”

The Sedona International Film Festival takes place Feb. 18-26, and will feature more than 145 films. Peter Bogdanovich, the son of immigrants who fled Nazi Germany, will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award during a special ceremony at the Sedona Performing Arts Center — followed by a screening of his “Last Picture Show” and a Q & A session featuring both Bogdanovich and Glenn Scarpelli.

The Prescott Film Festival takes place July 18-22. It’ll feature work by Arizona filmmakers in celebration of the state’s centennial, plus films from the U.S. and abroad. Details about free workshops and ticketed events will be released as festival dates draw near.

Watch for film screenings at local museums (including the Phoenix Art Museum), performing arts venues (including the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts), public libraries and other arts & culture destinations. And don’t forget to film your own kiddos now and then — family film festivals are the most fun by far!

— Lynn

Coming up: A guest blogger shares his “Wicked” ways

Dance meets diary

Amber Robins as Anne Frank in The Attic, being performed by Center Dance Ensemble Oct 13-16 at the Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix (Photo: Tim Fuller)

Frances Smith Cohen, artistic director for Center Dance Ensemble of Phoenix, remembers a “rumor” she found especially chilling. It was the mid-1990s, and some people were actually speculating that the Holocaust never happened.

Cohen knew better, and she took action — fueled in part by her observation that young people in junior high school had no concept of the Holocaust. “It was outside of their whole experience,” she says.

In 1996, Cohen created a dance work titled “The Attic,” which Center Dance Ensemble will be performing Oct. 13-16 at the Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix as part of a program titled “A Time to Dance,” which also features the work of other Valley dance groups.

Cohen recalls reading “The Diary of Anne Frank” during 8th grade and wants to be sure today’s youth don’t forget the story of Anne, her family and those who hid them from the Nazis. She recommends “The Attic” for junior high age students and above (best not to bring elementary age children along).

“How would it feel,” wondered Cohen, “if eight people were confined to a small space.” That’s exactly how Anne Frank and those around her lived while in hiding. Cohen recognized, from reading Frank’s diary, that the experience of confinement and hiding grew worse over time — and it’s reflected in the work.

Still, says Cohen, the dance “isn’t all grim and grimy.” Frank went from being 13 years old to 15 years old while in hiding, so her diary includes some experiences not uncommon for other girls her age — including her very first kiss.

D. Daniel Hollingshead and Sally Hogan as Otto and Edith Frank in The Attic by Frances Smith Cohen (Photo: Tim Fuller for Center Dance Ensemble)

Cohen says that Frank’s own words convey “a clear preference for her father” and frustration with “her mother nagging to her.” Cohen credits Frank with describing those in the space “beautifully,” and says she created dance movements to reflect the idosyncracies of each person.

“The Attic,” a 38-minute ballet, comprises the second part of “There is a Time to Dance.” The first includes a piece danced to the music of Vivaldi, plus performances by several guest artists (which alternate for different performances).

Before “The Attic” begins, audience members see a two to three minute film featuring footage graciously offered by the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. It’s a collage of snapshots showing Adolf Hitler and members of his Third Reich.

The film clip shows cheering crowds, the shattered glass of Kristallnacht and more. There’s reporting by Edward R. Murrow and a newspaper headline about Nazis invading Poland. Then, the dance.

As “The Attic” begins, audience members see a staircase leading to a loft where Frank used to look outside. A dancer portraying Frank’s spirit comes down that staircase to the main room, straightening papers that are strewn across the floor. It’s the diary of Anne Frank.

The program for “A Time to Dance” features a chronology to help viewers understand what was happening in the world while Frank and seven others were holed up inside the attic undiscovered until the day members of the Gestapo entered the home of her protectors and moved a piece of furniture that revealed light streaming down from the attic.

“It’s a hard sell,” admits Cohen. In “The Attic,” she says, “art approximates reality and truth.” Those who’ve seen the work performed often get teary-eyed, experiencing what Cohen calls a “total catharsis.” Cohen shares that “teens have really connected with it.”

Throughout the dance, there are readings of Frank’s own words from her diary. It’s powerful, and important. I’ll be visiting the Anne Frank Center, which moved just this week to a new location, when I am in NYC next week and hope to share pictures in a future post.

The following resources can help you learn more about Anne Frank:

To learn more about “A Time to Dance” or other offerings in the 2011-12 Center Dance Ensemble season, click here.

— Lynn

Coming up: A dangerous fashion statement?, Women finding their own goodness and power

Celebrating “Day of the Dead”

When I stopped by the Arizona Latino Arts and Culture Center in downtown Phoenix last weekend, artist José Andrés Girón eagerly told me about an exhibit of works by visual and performance artist Zarco Guerrero opening this week — just in time for “First Friday” on Oct 8.

Guerrero’s one-man, multi-media exhibit titled “Calacas y Mas” runs through Nov 30. It features photos, masks, large puppets, ofrendas and a special Dia de los Muertos art installation. ALAC credits Guerrero with making the celebration of Dia de los Muertos as popular in Arizona as the celebration of Cinco de Mayo.

This work in the ALAC gift shop got me thinking about The Day of the Dead

The Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix is celebrating Dia de los Muertos with “ongoing festivities, classes and exhibits” — plus entertainment to include song, dance and storytelling. The garden will present an interactive altar and a display honoring Dia de los Muertos.

Viewing of an “Ofrenda Offering” featuring installations by ten “local and renowned” artists is included with garden admission Oct 21-Nov 2. An event titled “Cuisine and Culture of Dia de los Muertos” takes place Thurs, Oct 27. And a traditional La Procesión blending symbolism and pageantry with music and dance begins at 5pm on Sat, Oct 30.

A work by Juan Chawuck of Chiapas Mexico exhibited at ALAC in Phoenix

Xico presents its 32nd annual “Dia de los Muertos: A Celebration of Life Festival” in Chandler Sat, Nov 5. The event features traditional music and dance by local performers, storytelling from the South Mountain Community College Storyteling Institute and children’s activities. Also folk arts and crafts and ethnic foods.

The Xico event also includes a community altar, a candlelight procession and their first ever “El Katrin/La Katrina Contest.” Their “El Dia de los Muertos” art exhibit featuring the works of more than 20 artists recently opened at their Chandler gallery. It’s part of their overall mission to “promote indigenous heritage and culture through the Arts.”

Works by Ruben Galicia on exhibit at ALAC in downtown Phoenix

Works by Ruben Galicia on exhibit at ALAC in downtown Phoenix

The Mesa Arts Center presents a “Dia le los Muertos Celebration” Oct 31-Nov 1. The event features a community altar, live music and performances, and food. Also a mercado complete with Day of the Dead merchandise, arts and crafts, children’s activities and more.

On Saturday, more than 150 students from various Mesa public schools will play mariachi-style music from 11am to noon. Altars created by local children and families will be on display, and one of several workshops (from noon-3pm) offers participants the opportunity to create an altar for a loved one, pet or event they wish to remember. Sunday events include a traditional procession starting at 4:30pm.

Detail of an Oliverio Balcells work titled Ometeotl exhibited at ALAC

The Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix presents “Dia de los Muertos at MIM: A Celebration of Life through Music” Nov 5 & 6. The event features a community altar, a music-inspired activity for all ages, a display of student-made altars and live performance by various solo artists and bands.

The MIM celebration also features a traditional mercado filled with unique crafts and art, Mexican-inspired food and drinks, and a “cemetary” honoring famous American and Mexican musicians.

One of many colorful displays at the ALAC gift shop in Phoenix

For complete event details, visit organization and venue websites. If you know of another “Day of the Dead” celebration in the Valley, please comment below to let our readers know.

— Lynn

Note: Art featured in this post was photographed during my recent visit to ALAC (prior to the installation of their “Day of the Dead” exhibit).

Coming up: More festivals with multicultural flair, A musical about second chances

GRAMMY Foundation honors Arizona school

When tickets went on sale recently for two year-end “Showcase” performances by Arizona School for the Arts, I was first in line to get mine — for both May 31 and June 1 at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Phoenix.

Arizona School for the Arts is a Phoenix charter school for grades 5-12 that prides itself on coupling rigorous academics with conservatory level performing arts training in music, theater and dance.

My daughter Lizabeth is in the senior class, and will be performing both evenings with fellow students in the theater department. When last I heard, the ASA Glee/Show Choir (with select Jazz Band members) was scheduled to open the May 31 performance with a song from the Broadway musical “American Idiot.”

She’s especially thrilled having seen “American Idiot” with her dad just a few months ago at the St. James Theater in NYC.

Other ASA groups performing Tuesday evening include Advanced Guitar, Ballet Corps Intensive, Chamber Singers, High School Piano Team, Intermediate Dance, Jazz Band Combos, Wind Ensemble and more.

Students from ASA perform during their 2010 Showcase

Turns out that the ASA music department will be enjoying a rather special honor that evening — as a representative from the GRAMMY Foundation presents ASA one of its 2011 GRAMMY Signature Schools Enterprise Awards.

Laura Apperson, ASA arts director and professional musician, notes that ASA is the first and only school in Arizona ever to receive the prestigious award. The application process, says Apperson, included submitting extensive written materials and recordings of music performance by ASA students.

Resonation Multimedia helped ASA prepare the CD submitted to the GRAMMY Foundation — which included performances by the following groups: Chamber Singers, Orchestra, Sinfonia, Wind Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, Jazz Band, Guitar Ensemble and Piano Quartet.

The GRAMMY Foundation reports that each of the 27 schools receiving the Enterprise Award this year will receive a $5,500 grant. Apperson is thrilled that the funds will help ASA invest in mixers, mics and other recording equipment for use in classroom and performance settings.

Several ASA music groups are performing during Wednesday’s “Showcase” at the Orpheum Theatre — including 5th and 6th Grade Choirs, Men’s Choirs, Percussion Ensemble, the Showcase Orchestra and more. Additional June 1 performance groups include Ballet Foundations I & II, Intro to Dance, Theatre and more.

Students from ASA perform during their 2010 Showcase

I have to admit that when I first learned of ASA’s GRAMMY Foundation award, I thought for a second that they’d received a GRAMMY Award for vocal performance.

Last time I heard one of ASA’s advanced choral ensembles perform, under the direction of Craig Westendorf, it brought tears to my eyes. I’m convinced that it was one of the best choral performances I’ve ever experienced — anywhere. But alas, they won’t let me give those Grammy puppies out on the spot.

I hope you’ll join me for ASA Showcase 2011 on May 31 and/or June 1. I’ll be the one in the lobby humming the little ditty by Green Day.

— Lynn

Note: Click here to learn about the work of this “Excelling” (from the Arizona Department of Education) and “Blue Ribbon” (from the U.S. Department of Education) school.

Coming up: SMoCA young@art gallery welcomes new exhibit, What’s new in Shakespeare?, Art meets the Arizona State Capitol, Charmed (literally) by Childsplay

Photos courtesy of Arizona School for the Arts

Remember and act: Japan

Enjoy beautiful music Saturday night while supporting victims of recent earthquakes in Japan

I learned just this morning of a classical concert to benefit earthquake victims in Japan. It’s taking place at 7pm on Sat, May 7, at the Virginia G. Piper Performing Arts Center at Xavier College Preparatory in Phoenix.

The concert, titled “Pray for Japen–Sound of Cherry Blossom,” is made possible by “the generous and voluntary support of the performers and the collaboration of Xavier College Preparatory.”

The two-hour event features pianist Naoko Garrison and friends, who’ll present a piano solo, piano duo, small ensemble and voice solo.

Performers include Rosabel Choi (piano), Stephen Cook (piano), Naoko Garrison (piano), Jennifer Shinyoung Ju (piano), Sukhyun Jung (piano), Allison Stanford (soprano), Jennifer Waleczek (piano) and Jessica Yam (piano).

All proceeds of the evening will be donated to Catholic Relief Services “to help the victims of the earthquake in Japan.” Click here for event and ticket info.

As we’re all mindful this week of victims of the 9/11 tragedy and our nation’s commemoration of Holocaust remembrance week, let us not forget those in other parts of the world who need us to remember and act.

Victims of natural disasters in Japan, Haiti and other parts of the globe. Americans still living with the aftermath of Katrina, the Gulf oil spill and recent natural disasters that cut across a sizable swath of our own country. And those worlds away struggling to end genocide or to usher in freedom.

Too often we feel powerless, and so we turn away and do nothing — even when small opportunities to make a difference exist so close to home.

The “Pray for Japan” concert is one way you truly can help those in need. It’ll only cost you the price of a ticket, which is nothing compared to the price people in Japan are paying now for all sorts of things beyond their control.

Remember Japan — and act.

— Lynn

Note: The Virginia G. Piper Center for the Performing Arts at Xavier College Preparatory is home to all sorts of dance, music and theater events — including one act plays (“Frosh Follies”) taking place at 6pm this evening. Admisson is free, so consider a trip tonight to check out this amazing performing arts venue before you return Saturday to enjoy the “Pray for Japan” concert.

Coming up: Homeless youth bring their stories to the stage