Tag Archives: Target

Right on Target

I’m feeling the love for Target these days knowing that Valley families will be able to enjoy several museums for free thanks to the store best known for its bullseye.

The Children’s Museum of Phoenix presents “Target Free First Friday Nights” the first Friday of every month through 2012. Your next opportunity to enjoy free admission to the Children’s Museum of Phoenix is Fri, March 2 from 5-9pm.

Three venues located with three blocks of each other in Mesa are part of “Target 3 for Free” — which features free admission on the first Sunday of each month through May 2012.

Mesa Contemporary Arts, located at the Mesa Arts Center, dedicates a special area to children’s art activities and offers a free performance in MCA’s outdoor courtyard on “Target 3 for Free” days — which include Sun, March 4.

Another participant, the Arizona Museum of Natural History, has a new exhibit titled “Rulers of the Prehistoric  Skies” in addition to its permanent collection.

The “3 for Free” program in Mesa also includes the Arizona Museum for Youth, which currently features an exhibit called “Wings It! Things That Fly!” Think airplane cockpit simulator, butterfly puppet theater, paper plane launcher and more.

Big or small, it’s nice to support the businesses that supports arts and culture in our communities.

— Lynn

Note: Click here to explore Target partnerships with educators and arts organizations in your area

Coming up: Beyond paint by numbers, All aboard the digital bookmobile!


Arts in Education Week

During a recent episode of “Jeopardy,” the final question required knowledge of both children’s literature and opera. Think Milne’s “Winnie the Pooh” meets Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Mikado.” Only one contestant seemed to know much about either — and he walked away with the cash. I’m guessing there’s an art teacher he ought to be thanking back home.

It’s been heartening to see arts and culture play such a pivotal role in 9/11 anniversary ceremonies. Sunday’s event at the newly opened 9/11 Memorial in NYC featured Yo-Yo Ma, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Emi Ferguson, Paul Simon and James Taylor. Opening remarks by Michael Bloomberg quoted Shakespeare, and poetry was prevalent throughout.

The Pushcart Players perform one of five school shows offered by Mesa Arts Center this season

Too often our nation forgets all that has been forged by arts and culture, and fails to appreciate the role they can play in moving us forward. So I’m delighted that Congress passed a bill last year designating the second week of September “National Arts in Education Week.”

For those who love the arts, no explanation of their impact or importance is needed. Art is an instinct, in impulse. An adventure of imagination as necessary as air. For others, they seem a mere nicety at best — perhaps because the joys of art never touched their lives as children.

But those unmoved by art’s aesthetic power should recognize its more tangible benefits. Art creates jobs. Creates cities where people want to live. Creates schools full of innovators and imaginators. Maybe even the “creative class” touted by a presidential candidate in his stump speeches.

Ninety percent of Arizonans believe that arts education is either important or very important, according to results of a public opinion poll conducted by ASU in May 2009 — a poll cited in the background report for this year’s Arizona Town Hall, the first of 98 Arizona Town Halls to focus on Arizona arts and culture. www.aztownhall.org.

The Arizona Arts Education section of the report was authored by Mandy Buscas (then director of arts learning for the Arizona Commission on the Arts, now the arts education outreach coordinator for Mesa Arts Center) and Lynn Tuttle (director of arts education for the Arizona Department of Education).

MAC presents Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters for grades K-6

Their work considers results of the 2009 Arts Education Census. It also looks at federal, state and local educational policies — noting that state support for arts in education has suffered significant losses of late due to “efforts to close significant stage budget shortfalls.”

Their reporting on the arts census notes that “20% of schools offered no courses in any arts discipline” and that “79% of schools spend less than $1 per year per student for arts instruction.” This despite the fact that U.S. employers rank creativity/innovation among the top five skills growing in importance.

So what can be done to move Arizona forward? A report issued after the Arizona Town Hall on arts and culture says that “Arizona residents need to speak up, stand for what we support, and make that support known at the ballot box at all levels, from the legislature, to the superintendent of public instruction, and to local school boards.”

It sounds rather daunting if you’re not accustomed to advocating for issues with local and stage officials, but there are plenty of resources to help you get started — including Arizona Citizens Action for the Arts. www.azcitizensforthearts.org.

The report also urges the arts and culture community to partner with the business community to “lobby for improved arts education” — and calls on nonprofit organizations and arts professionals in our communities to “continue augmenting arts education in the schools.” Think artist residencies, school field trips and such.

There’s plenty we can do as parents. Volunteer to help with art projects in the classroom. Coordinate field trips to places like libraries, performing arts venues, museums and exhibit spaces. Donate art-related supplies to local schools. Urge schools to integrate arts learning into other subjects. Vote art at every opportunity.

MAC presents Native American Song & Dance for grades K-12

Folks who separate art from the other disciplines, orchestrating false dichotomies that pit science and math against music and theater should learn more about artists like Emi Ferguson, a distinguished student of both music and epidemiology. Or scientists like Oliver Sacks.

To learn more about arts and education in Arizona, sign up for the free arts learning newsletter from the Arizona Commission on the Arts. www.azarts.gov.

The latest issue features details on the Poetry Out Loud program, a student art competition, an opportunity to participate in the Kennedy Center Partners in Education program, Target field trip grants, teacher workshops and more.

As for the “Jeopardy” answer that won the big bucks, it was “Pooh-bah.”

— Lynn

Note: Additional arts in education resources include the President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities (www.pcah.gov), Americans for the Arts (www.artsusa.org) and the Arts Education Partnership (www.aep-arts.org). Learn more about Mesa Arts Center arts education programs at www.mesaartscenter.com.

Coming up: Country music meets arts and culture, Art meets airport, Who let the cats out?, Shakespeare meets Sweeney Todd

Orchestral dreams

Joseph Young, resident conductor for The Phoenix Symphony

Joseph Young, the recently appointed resident conductor for The Phoenix Symphony, was still adjusting to the Arizona heat when we spoke by phone one August afternoon. “It’s almost over, right?” I didn’t have the heart to tell him otherwise.

Something tells me he’s looking forward to The Phoenix Symphony performance of “The Music of John Williams” at the Yavapai College Auditorium in Prescott come early October.

Still, the heat doesn’t appear to be cramping Young’s style. He’s enjoyed several hikes on Squaw Peak and speaks with enthusiasm about exploring Valley arts destinations like the Phoenix Art Museum.

Young serves as conductor for the Family Series at Symphony Hall

“I was surprised by the quality here,” he says of his early experiences with Arizona arts and culture. Seems some folks in other parts of the country underappreciate our arts scene, but Young’s tuned in to all sorts of dance and theater groups — and likes the way so many support and enrich each other. Young describes the Valley arts scene as “very inclusive.”

His parents never listened to classical music. Instead, Young grew up listening to gospel music and “top 40” tunes. Today he listens to lots of classical music, but also The Black Eyed Peas, Lady Gaga and “funk bands” like Earth, Wind and Fire.

Young, now 29, discovered musical instruments after a band program came to visit his school in South Carolina. “I saw the trumpet and my dad was looking for something to keep me out of trouble,” muses Young. “The trumpet was the only instrument I could make a sound on at the time.” He played through high school and college but caught the conducting bug at 16.

Young attended a five-week summer program where he not only played the trumpet but also took classes in music history, music theory and conducting. “That was the first time I got in touch with conducting,” recalls Young. “I’ve wanted to be an orchestral conductor since I was 16.”

He’s careful to distinguish “classical” music from “orchestral” music. Today’s orchestras play more than classical selections, as evidenced by offerings in this season’s “Target Family Series” from The Phoenix Symphony.

Young also heads up Symphony in the Schools and Classroom Concerts

The series includes “Holiday Celebration” (Dec), “Beethoven Lives Upstairs” (Jan), “Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs & Ham” (March), “Musical Fables” (April) and “High Flying! Cirque de la Symphonie” (May). Families can purchase individual tickets or save by getting a season package.

Though he’s not a parent, Young seems very much in tune with today’s children and teens. Young spent three years teaching high school music, which left him with a deep appreciation for the balancing act of managing a myriad of activities in a complex world. “We have to bring music to the kids,” he says, “without forcing it.”

The Phoenix Symphony has charged Young with “programming, rehearsing and conducting” their pops and family concerts, and two education programs — Symphony in the Schools and Classroom Concerts. He also conducts at special events.

When describing his work, Young speaks not only of conducting but also his role as music “advocate.” He’s got lots of ideas for making orchestral experiences fresh and fun for both children and their grown-ups.

You’ll find Young in the Symphony Hall lobby after most family series concerts. Seems he enjoys showing children how to conduct. Also answering their questions about music and getting feedback about their concert experiences. He’s even game when families want him to pose with their children for photos.

Something tells me bulletin boards in kids’ rooms all over the Valley will be sporting these pictures before too long. How wonderful to grow up in a city where conductors are right up there with all our other superheroes.

— Lynn

Note: Watch for details on The Phoenix Symphony’s education and community programs in a future issue of Raising Arizona Kids magazine or visit www.phoenixsymphony.org to explore their offerings right away. Photos from www.josephfyoung.com.

Coming up: Crepes & creativity, Zoo tales

Update: Joseph Young was recently featured in an Eight Arizona PBS “Arizona ArtBeat” segment — click here to watch it online. Updated 11/16/11.

Art meets Americas

It’s the inaugural year of a biannual festival presented by the CALA Alliance — which champions the importance of Latino art and culture, from both North and South America, to Arizona.

Alliance partners include the Arizona Latino Art and Cultural Center (ALAC), which has an exhibit and performance venue called “Galleria 147” just across the street from Symphony Hall in Phoenix. Also XICO, which promotes Chicano artists. And Chicano Por La Casa (CPLC), which works to empower families in economically deprived communities.

Teatro Bravo presents a play about Frida Kahlo as part of the fall CALA festival

“Celebracion Artistica de las Americas,” also dubbed the “CALA festival,” takes place at various venues Sept 16-Nov 6, 2011. Its mission is “to create shared arts experiences that encourage cultural understanding between people of the Americas.”

Several arts and cultural organizations were selected through a jury process and given awards of various sizes to present their works during this fall’s festival.

These organizations include the Arizona Latino Arts and Cultural Center (ALAC), the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, the Cultural Coaltion, the Desert Botanical Garden, the Heard Museum, the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM), the New Carpa Theater Company, the Phoenix Art Museum, the Phoenix Boys Choir, the Scottsdale Cultural Council, the Scottsdale International Film Festival, Teatro Bravo! and XICO.

Festival offerings will include visual art, theater, music, film, dance, poetry and more. Many include experiences and hands-on activities for youth. Two educational initiatives, supported by Target (the festival’s presenting sponsor), are expected to reach thousands of Valley school children.

Phoenix Art Museum docents will read a book about artist Diego Rivera to students who will then get to take home their own copy of the book. They’ll also create their own mural. Childsplay will perform “The Sun Serpent” by Jose Cruz Gonzeles for students, some of whom have never before experienced live theater.

Children. Creavity. Collaboration. Community.


— Lynn

Note: Learn more at www.calaalliance.org. Head to “First Fridays” at ALAC Fri, Sept 2, for a 6pm-10pm line-up that includes visual artists Juan Chawuk and Carlos Navarrete, poet Maria Rodriguez-Pope, filmmaker Valeria Fernandez, dance group Ballet Folklorico Esperanza, musician Cisco Arvallo and a Teatro Bravo presentation of “Frida.” 

Coming up: Celebrating “Day of the Dead” arts and culture style, Orchestral dreams, Student discount alert!

Sounds of the season — symphony style

Unless you’ve got enough children to comprise brass, woodwind, string and percussion sections — or a toddler well trained in banging pots and pans to musical effect — you’ll want to enjoy other sources of symphonic sound.

So here’s a sampling of seasonal concerts featuring local symphonies, along with several related books you might enjoy reading with your children…

The Chandler Symphony Orchestra presents a holiday fundraising concert Sun, Dec 5, in Sun Lakes.

I’m told that “a local four year old YouTube star Jonathan E. Okseniuk will be performing with [them] on violin that day as well as conducting in March for [their] ‘Youthful Genius’ concert.” Here’s a link to his YouTube performance:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0REJ-lCGiKU.

The Tempe Symphony Orchestra performs a holiday concert Mon, Dec 6, in Tempe.

Symphony of the Southwest presents a holiday concert Sat, Dec 11, in Mesa.

Phoenix Youth Symphony presents a holiday fundraiser Fri, Dec 3, at the Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale.

Phoenix Allegro presents a holiday luncheon and silent auction to benefit the Phoenix Symphony Mon, Dec 13, at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix.

The Phoenix Symphony presents several holiday concerts in December, including “Home for the Holidays” featuring the ASU Choral Union, conducted by Robert Moody, Dec 3-5 at Symphony Hall in Phoenix.

Other Phoenix Symphony holiday offerings include a “Candlelight Messiah” with the Phoenix Symphony Baroque Ensemble, a “Handel’s Messiah Sing-A-Long” with the Phoenix Symphony Chorus, and a “Handel’s Messiah” with soloists.

A “Target Family Special Event Concert” titled “Deck the Halls” takes place Sat, Dec 4, at 2:30pm. The Phoenix Symphony describes it as “a magical stageshow designed for children of all ages, led by Conductor Bob Moody and featuring members of the Phoenix Boys Choir.”

“Symphony Hall will be transformed into a magical wonderland with music from your favorite holiday tunes. Get your photo taken with Santa, and enjoy the pre-show party in the lobby including entertainment, arts and craft activities and refreshments.”

I often took my children to symphony performances when they were younger, and each went on to study both piano and another instrument — flute, saxophone or violin.

Lizabeth studied and performed violin from kindergarten through high school. To this day, it’s left her more appreciative than most of the time and talent it takes to create music and other forms of art. 

Although she’s chosen a career in theater rather than classical music, the gifts of music study will last her a lifetime — and help her support the arts as an audience member.

Some perform. Some compose. Some teach. Some listen. But it takes all of us to keep the music going.

— Lynn

Note: Books about music and other forms of art make great holiday gifts, so check gift shops at performing arts venues and museums (including the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix) for unique holiday gift selections.

Coming up: Celebrating Christmas — choral style, From story to stage, Celebrating the arts while ringing in the New Year

Event alert: “An Evening with Joshua Bell & Jeremy Denk to Benefit MIM” takes place Fri, Nov 26, at 7:30pm. Their recital will be followed by a ‘meet the artist’ opportunity — plus an elegant dessert and cocktail reception. Tickets: $200. Learn more at www.themim.org.


Shakespeare/there and here

I spoke with Lizabeth Sunday morning as she was bouncing back from an exciting night of theater at the Utah Shakespearean Festival in Cedar City, located in the southwestern portion of Utah.

Enter the world of Shakespeare...

She’d just seen the world-premier of “Great Expectations: A New Musical” based on the novel by Charles Dickens and directed by Jules Aaron–and eagerly described both the work and the “greenshow” that preceeded it.

Greenshows consist of pre-show entertainment including song and dance performed on a green surrounding one of the festival theaters. Lizabeth shared that she was looking forward to Sunday evening’s show featuring Scottish and Irish performers.

The Utah Shakespearean Festival makes for a fun family getaway. Once you make the drive to Las Vegas, you’re just two and a half hours away from Cedar City and all that the festival has to offer–including performances, greenshows, play orientations and a host of seminars (literary, props, costumes and actors).

The Bard certainly makes for a beautiful bust

Our own Shakepearean gem, the Southwest Shakespeare Company based in Mesa, opens their 2010-2011 season with “Blood Royal” on Sept. 9. It’s an original adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “Henry VI” trilogy by Michael Flachmann, directed by Jared Sakren.

But you needn’t wait that long to enjoy the best of the Bard.

Current offerings at the Utah Shakespearean Festival include three works by William Shakespeare, including “Much Ado About Nothing” directed by B. J. Jones, “The Merchant of Venice” directed by Sharon Ott and “Macbeth” directed by Joe Hanreddy.

Lizabeth has a theory that everything done in theater post-Shakespeare is a variation on a theme of sorts. I’m ill equipped to support or counter her case considering that I haven’t yet read his complete works or seen nearly enough of it performed on stage.

Do all roads follow from Shakespeare?

I’ll be hitting the festival myself before too long to up my “B.Q.”–my “Bard quotient.” Still, Lizabeth’s knowledge will likely surpass mine for an eternity.

She’s enjoyed “Shakespeare Collision” classes with Childsplay in Tempe since she was in grade school and studied with Randy Messersmith (co-founder and former artistic director of the Southwest Shakespeare Company, who serves as artistic director for theatre arts at Scottsdale Community College).

She’s also trained for several years with Maren Mascarelli (former company member of both the Utah Shakespearean Festival and the Southwest Shakespeare Company), and attended/competed in prior Utah Shakespearean Festivals with fellow theater majors at Arizona School for the Arts.

This summer, she’s attending a few of the festival’s summer programs–which includes seeing a wide variety of productions. Other shows currently playing at the festival include Alfred Hitchcock’s “39 Steps” directed by Eli Simon and an adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” directed by Kathleen F. Conlin.

Your child may blossom after a bit of time with the Bard

Once you’ve had your fun with summer movies from “Eclipse” and “Despicable Me” to “The Sorcerer’s Apprectice” and “Standing Ovation,” consider a road trip to Cedar City that’ll give your kids a taste of what theater is like outside the four walls of a cineplex.

The Utah Shakespearean Festival is a grand getaway fit for everything from a weekend escape from the heat to a longer stay to celebrate a birthday, anniversary or family reunion.

The festival runs through October 23, with later shows to include Shakespeare’s “The Adventures of Pericles” directed by Kathleen F. Conlin as well as two other works.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning play “The Diary of Anne Frank” by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett (directed by Paul Barned) begins in mid-September, as does “Greater Tuna” by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears and Ed Howard (directed by Brian Vaughn).

Make this your family's season of Shakespeare

There’s way too much going on at the festival for me to cover it all here, so your best bet is to jump online for details or call to request a Winter 2010 season brochure.

It’s got the rundown on the festival’s new playwrights project, backstage tours, educational offerings, membership opportunities and more. Even lodging, child care and pet-related details are covered.

And don’t forget to support the Shakespearean craft right here at home through our own Southwest Shakespeare Company.  They’ll present four Shakespearean works this season, along with Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest.”

They also offer seminars, performances for students, pre-show workshops, post-show discussions, show guides for teachers and more.

So go on, treat yourself to some Shakespeare–there and here.


Note: Visit the Southwest Shakespeare Company website to learn about Target field trip grants that can help students enjoy live theater performance. Applications will be available online at www.target.com starting Aug. 1.

Coming up: Valley venues presenting new theater works

Photos (top to bottom): Shakespeare Garden in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, Shakespeare bust in the McAshan Herb Gardens, Shakespeare Garden at Vassar College, Shakespeare Garden in NYC’s Central Park, Children’s book titled “Bard of Avon”

The forks of July?

Even forks can be patriotic

As our thoughts turn to celebrating the 4th of July and the many things the holiday means for each of us, let’s not forget the simple joys of celebrating with art. Especially when paint and forks are involved. 

The Children’s Museum of Phoenix presents “Fork Painting Fireworks” for children on Sun, July 4, from 9-11am. I could explain it, but you’ll have more fun if you just roll with it. No real fireworks are involved so fingers and toes should be plenty safe. 

To enjoy free admission, head to the Children’s Museum of Phoenix Fri, July 2, between 6-10pm for “First Fridays,” a program from Artlink Phoenix that lets folks tour more than 70 galleries, venues and art-related spaces for free. There’s even a shuttle that travels between the Phoenix Art Museum and several other places along the route.

Phoenix Art Museum’s newest exhibition titled “Cezanne and American Modernism” opened July 1 and runs through Sept 26 in the Steele Gallery. Many of their visiting collections require tickets (not free) for admission so it’s always wise to call ahead when you can. But hey, I think free entry to the general museum during “First Fridays” is a good time if I only get as far as their gift shop. It’s among the Valley’s best–ala funky forks and more.

Keep the “free” theme going with a trip to the Heard Museum in Phoenix for the first of several “Target FREE Sizzlin’ Summer Saturdays” they’re presenting during July. Every Saturday this month from 10am-4pm, the museum will feature free hands-on activities (such as crafts and scavenger hunts) for kids along with music and dance performances. Admission to the museum’s 10 exhibition galleries and all museum programming is included for free during these six hours on July 3. 

Fork art trumps folk art

If you’re feeling especially “wild and free” this weekend, and you have the Bank of America equivalent of the golden ticket, you can enjoy Bank of America’s “Museums on Us and the Phoenix Zoo.” B of A cardholders who show cards with photo ID get in free for the first full weekend of every month the program runs. 

And no, the word “weekend” doesn’t imply that you can spend the night amidst the critters (although the children we know who’ve done another zoo program called “Night Camp” say it’s a hoot). You’ll have to leave and come back the next day to flash your B of A dealies once again. Kudos to B of A for giving folks something they can really enjoy. Arts and culture beat the heck out of coffee mugs and toasters! 

Has Bella hit her fork in the road?

When you’re ready to enjoy a respite from the heat, head to your favorite movie theater for a taste of the Washington town named Forks, setting for “The Twilight Saga” including the newest Bella beaufest titled “Eclipse.” I’m more of a “Toy Story” kind of a gal so I may hit the movies to get my Mr. Pricklepants fix instead. You don’t need a fork to feast on popcorn. And who doesn’t love a thespian hedgehog sporting lederhosen?

As always, check those dates and other fun details before you head out. And visit the Raising Arizona Kids online calendar if you’re looking for holiday-related and other family-friendly events this weekend. 

It’s not only a dry heat, it’s a free heat…