Coming up: Focus on children’s art, A tree grows in Maine
Coming up: Focus on children’s art, A tree grows in Maine
Not that Irish, silly. I’m talking art, not athletics — after chatting with artists Natalie Irish and her hubby Dennis Bateman at the Scottsdale Arts Festival that runs through Sunday at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, where I suspect that sailing a football past the gift shop and such might be frowned on.
You’ll spot Irish’s white tent on a lush green lawn to your right not long after you enter the festival. She’s on one side of the center’s giant red Robert Indiana “LOVE” sculpture, and another one of my favorite tents — for Scottsdale’s “100 + Journals Project” — is on the other. The latter has a nifty place for kids, teens and grown-ups to create with all sorts of papers, rubber stamps, drawing supplies and such.
Irish gave me a guided tour of sorts through her work, most made with lipstick kisses but others with thumbprints. “One day I was putting on lipstick to go out,” she told me, “and I got lipstick on my fingers.” A new art adventure, informed by the work of Chuck Close, was born. “We don’t have kids,” Irish told me. The work is their baby.
One piece in particular feels especially timely. In the lower righthand corner there’s a plain grey building — inspired by a Planned Parenthood site in Houston. The “feminist piece” also features a woman Irish considers a logo of sorts. It’s all a remarkable blend of new frontiers and the familiar.
Irish offered the following quip after I asked when she got started making art — “In utero.” Irish speaks of growing up about thirty minutes south of Houston, and having a mother who does watercolor. “We’re all country folk,” says Irish — who still recalls winning a prize at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo for a childhood painting of her aunt’s horse.
It’s hard for Irish to say just how many hours a day she devotes to her craft. Seems she’soften got art on the brain while doing everyday household type stuff, and the nature of her work necessitates working in “short spurts.” On the long table she’s got covered in various works, Irish has some odd tools of the trade. Vaseline. Baby oil. And a tub of mostly homemade lipstick. Best to keep her trademark tools tender.
Irish studied art in community college and university settings, but seems to have found her bliss outside the classroom — except during summers spent teaching art to kids. The woman who kisses canvas for a living has another passion — throwing pottery. She’s done pottery for more than a decade but recalls that “for the first three months you make dog bowls.” Not a bad deal for the couple’s dog and four cats.
I asked Irish to share advice for parents on the subject of art. “Try everything,” she told me. “Have fun with it.” Bateman added that “half the battle is having parents who support it” — noting that “it’s all about parents getting them there and getting them supplies.” Good news for parents who feel they’ve got few art skills to share. Make time and space. Your child will run with it.
So what of art in our schools? “More of it,” quips Irish. Bateman shares that Bad Religion, one of the couple’s favorite bands, has given scholarships to students — and says they dream of one day doing the same. “Any revolution of any valor was inpired by the arts,” says Bateman. Perhaps the next one will begin with kiss.
Note: You can watch Irish working on a different piece each day of the Scottsdale Arts Festival — which continues 10am-6pm Sat (March 10) and 10am-5pm Sun (March 11). Click here for details about parking, tickets and such. Click here to learn more about Irish and her work.
Coming up: More festival fun — in words and pictures
Plenty of folks will be heading to Fountain Hills for this weekend’s Fountain Hills Great Fair, taking place Feb. 24-26 from 10am to 5pm. But the town also offers all sorts of arts experiences you can enjoy throughout the year.
I headed to Fountain Hills recently to check out an area full of public art works that it’s easy to explore with or without the help of a Fountain Hills Art Walk map you’ll find on the town’s website.
The town is home to Fountain Hills Theater, which performs “Crazy for You” Feb. 24-March 11. Their youth theater performs “Chapters: A Primer on Drug Awareness,” a work that blends student contributions with a play written by FHYT artistic director Ross Collins, March 16-April 1.
Fountain Hills also has a River of Time Museum — which features exhibits on geology and geology — plus information on diverse groups of people who have lived and worked in this region of the Southwest.
Coming up: Fun with festival season
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.
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.
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.
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
I headed out with my college-age son Christopher on Tuesday hoping to enjoy a driving tour of public art in Glendale using a nifty map we found on the city’s website. After failing to find the first item on the list, we headed to site number two — where a lovely city employee showed us what she supposed might be the art that landed their location on the list: two small paintings in the cemetary room they use to meet with families planning burials.
But we weren’t dissuaded. Christopher likened it to a “Tintin” moment, and suggested we press ahead. I was starting to feel a bit like one of the series’ bumbling Thompson detectives, but no matter. We were up for a bit of unguided exploration. I headed over to the Caitlin Court area, which is full of charming shops and eateries — and we did our own little walking tour.
Christopher often spots things that fall under my radar, and it’s delightful. Maybe all those nature walks we used to do when he was little, coupled with his own natural curiosity, helped to foster his powers of observation. First he found a lovely bit of wall art on the Shelley’s Specialty Desserts building — then a fire hydrant painted with butterflies and bees (signed by an artist with the last name Garcia).
As we strolled for a spell, we found several spots specializing in antiques and arts & crafts fare. Also Cee Cee’s Cafe, where a family and a trio of grown-up girlfriends were enjoying tea and other treats together. Then the Glendale Civic Center and, finally, a piece of art on our driving tour map — the Glendale Public Safety Memorial.
The driving tour of public art map listed three public libraries and I was determined to explore at least one of them on this trip, but finding the main branch of the Glendale Public Library’s Main Branch takes some doing. We wound through neighborhood streets before spotting the target, then followed parents with strollers and folks walking their dogs as they made their way to the park adjacent to the library.
A trip to the Glendale Public Library Main Branch can be quite an adventure for a curious child. There’s a large xeriscape garden on the library grounds, complete with signs identifying various trees and types of cactus. Also plenty of winding paths and seating areas, including several benches near a bronze work depicting three irrigators. During our trip, a young girl enjoyed climbing all around the sculpture as her mom, grandmother and brother looked on.
The library was bustling with teens using computers in the “Fish Bowl” room, seniors reading near a wall of windows overlooking the xeriscape garden and folks exploring books about travel, small business, car repairs and more. There’s even a “Meeting the Trail” statue by Allan Houser near the check-out area.
Lured by a work of art featuring several metal trees with shiny leaves spied through more giant windows, I decided to exit the library proper through a different door, and soon found myself in another part of the building where some serious surprises unfolded.
First, we found a latte bar/cafe style area where library patrons were ordering coffee, smoothies and such. Then, another wall of windows — with peacocks parading around on the other side. The “Don’t Feed the Animals” signs we’d seen since entering the library grounds finally made sense.
We spent lots of time enjoying the peacocks, plus birds in the parking lots that looked like pheasants — which prompted me to recount tales of childhood holidays in South Dakota, where my father, grandfather and several male cousins would actually shoot the bird my grandmother prepared for our holiday meal. My youngest, Lizabeth, finds the same tale rather disgusting. She’s a city, rather than a farm, girl.
Eventually we headed home for dinner, stumbling on the easiest entrance to the library/park complex — at 59th Ave. and Brown — on our way out. We passed the city’s memorial honoring veterans on the way back, and are already making plans to return and spend some time there.
I may have flunked followed the driving art tour map, but we made own adventure and had a gloriuos time in Glendale. Tintin and Snowy would be proud.
Note: Click here to explore Glendale’s public art online
Coming up: Got chalk?
Seems Arizona’s official state neckwear, the bolo tie, is making a fashion comeback. Or so they tell me over at the Heard Museum in Phoenix — which opens an exhibit of bolo tie art Sat. Nov. 19.
“Native American Bolo Ties: Vintage and Contemporary” features “ties from the Heard’s permanent collection of more than 170 bolo ties and from the promised gift of Chicago collector Norman L. Sandfield.”
The exhibit and a related book will “show the antecedents of the bolo tie including Victorian neckwear and scarf slides.” The exhibit will examine how Western wear was popularized through movies and television of the 1950s, and “showcase bolo ties created by American Indian jewelers from the late 1940s through today.”
Turns out there’s another place you can enjoy a blend of bolo tie and art. It’s along the 3rd St. and Washington light rail stop near Symphony Hall in Phoenix — where a collection of bronze sculptures by Michael A. Maglich is installed.
A sign describing “The Arizona Bolas” notes that “these sculptures use the bola as a unifying symbol.” They’re meant to represent “the many activities occuring at the Convention Center and Civic Plaza.” Think commerce, industry, recreation and entertainment.
“Also included are references to regional history, plants and animals,” notes the sign. My personal favorites include a tie sporting pine cones, but that’s only because the artist failed to forge a bronze ice cream scoop.
Seems the tie originated in Wickenberg during the 1940s, which means my children — who grew up making a McDonald’s pit stop in Wickenberg every time we visited grandparents in Las Vegas — will be puzzled by the lack of a Happy Meals bolo tie.
Also the fact that there are two ways to spell the darn thing. Seems the “bola” contingent won out when it came time to officially name the tie Arizona’s official neckwear. We added that gem to the Arizona Revised Statutes in 1971, before Texas and New Mexico decided to jump on the bandwagon (with the alternate spelling).
You say “bolo.” I say “bola.” Let’s call the whole thing “art.”
Coming up: My first New York Comic Con adventure