Tag Archives: Tempe artists

Truckin’ through Tempe

I found myself “truckin’ through Tempe” today while searching for a new installation of public art along Mill Avenue. Six utility boxes between Rio Salado Parkway and 7th Street have been painted by artists whose designs also grace new library cards for Tempe Public Library patrons.

I spied the “Sonoran Afternoon” utility box painted by Bud Heiss on Feb. 4 first, because it’s on the same corner as the Shoe Mill — my favorite haunt when new shoes beckon, and a splendid place to fondle handbags I can scarcely afford.

While making my way up Mill Avenue to check out other utility boxes, I stopped to chat with a woman named Susan who was playing her violin along the street — but was soon distracted by a painted truck whizzing past so quickly I couldn’t catch a photo.

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I turned my attention to exploring other shops in the area — including a charming hole-in-the-wall bookstore called Old Town Books that reminded me of taking my babies to Changing Hands Bookstore back when it occupied a similar space along that very strip.

While there, I spied a book about Helen Keller — reminding me that “The Miracle Worker” opens later this month at Scottsdale Community College. I’ve no young children to buy such books for anymore, but snapped a picture that’ll help me rekindle memories of reading to my children when they were small.

I also lingered over artwork and furnishings with a vintage/retro vibe at Loft a Go Go, a shop I’ve been eager to explore since spotting it one evening on a hurried walk from parking structure to Stray Cat Theatre. Its diverse offerings include all sorts of goodies plastered with the likenesses of Elvis, Audrey and Marilyn.

I spotted a few more painted utility boxes in my travels, and one of the unpainted variety that made me appreciate the others even more. Colton Brock’s “Mill District” work is located near the light rail stop most convenient for folks eager to explore the Mill Avenue District.

Dawn DeVries Good’s “Be the Good,” painted on Feb. 6, sits at the corner of 6th Street and Mill Avenue. I’m saving others for another trip once my bum knee is on the mend. They include Lucretia Torva’s “Tempe Shine,” Oliverio Balcells’ “Tempe Roots” and Linda Parker’s “Day Dreaming at Tempe Town Lake.”

I was about to head home when I spotted the painted truck again — parked and perfectly primed for an impromptu photo session. As I suspected, it was covered with assorted paintings, each bearing the name and city/state of its creator. There was just a single catch — it was a beer truck. While I snapped photos, a driver for Crescent Crown Distributing did his delivery thing. To the restaurants, not the nearby dorms.

Then, after a successful dig for more parking meter change, I made one final stop — to a brick building called Hackett House that was once Tempe Bakery. Hackett House is home to the Tempe Sister Cities program, so folks who hit their gift shop or cooking classes can help a worthy cultural cause in the process.

I spotted all sorts of rabbits, chicks and other fare with a whimsical Easter vibe. Even a trio of ceramic “see, hear and speak no evil” bunnies. Also Raggedy Ann dolls, tiny tea sets in charming picnic baskets, richly textured scarves, accessories for wine lovers and glass flowers to hold birthday candles. Even plenty of bobbles and bling for those thinking ahead to Mother’s Day.

I’ve been truckin’ through Tempe for a good twenty years now. First pushing a stroller. Now strolling with camera in hand. It never gets old — thanks to book stores, beer trucks, bunnies and beyond.

— Lynn

Coming up: Sunday at Seton, Conversations with local artists, Poetry meets drumroll, A prophet tale

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Theater + Science = Tolerance

Crayons -- a simple tool for teaching children that different is beautiful

Childsplay of Tempe has long produced and performed works that help folks see more of each other’s similarities than differences — and to embrace and appreciate the differences.

This weekend Valley families will enjoy a rare opportunity to see Childsplay perform “New Kid” at the Arizona Science Center — a performance meant to enhance the principles of tolerance promoted by the current “RACE: Are We So Different?” exhibit.

The “RACE” exhibit is a “limited engagement” offering you can enjoy at the Arizona Science Center only through Jan 2, 2011. It’s a multi-sensory, hands-on exhibit that’ll help you separate fact from fiction on the topic of race in America.

“New Kid” is appropriate for grades K-8, and addresses multiple themes relevant to the everyday lives of today’s youth — including bullies and targets, stereotypes and prejudice.

It’ll inspire your children to think more about immigration and emigration, language and communication, and different cultures and customs — and to consider ways we can all transcend differences and celebrate diversity.

“New Kid,” written by Dennis Foon, recounts the tale of Nick and his mother, who leave “Homeland” for the U.S. — where they must learn many new things. Think new language, new foods, new sports, new customs.

While one peer befriends Nick, another bullies him — and both Nick and his mom experience challenges along the way.

“Eventually,” notes Childsplay, “everyone begins to adjust and Nick learns to maintain his respect for his family’s culture and heritage, while embracing his new homeland.”

Childsplay’s “New Kid” resource guide, available online, suggests the following links to supplement learning about tolerance and related issues: www.teachingtolerance.org, www.bullying.org, www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov and www.census.org.

Childsplay also recommends three book titles — “Hannah’s Journal: The Story of an Immigrant Girl” by Marissa Moss, “The Hundred Dresses” by Eleanor Estes and “The Recess Queen” by Alexis ONeill.

Local mom Dana Wolfe Naimark, who heads the Children’s Action Alliance in Phoenix, recommends “The Sneetches and Other Stories” by Theodor Giesel (known to most as Dr. Seuss).

“New Kid” is being performed Sat, Dec 18, from 10:30-11:30am at the Arizona Science Center, located at 600 E. Washington St. in Phoenix. It’s free with paid general admission to the museum — but space is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The lobby and ticketing at Arizona Science Center will open that day at 9:30am for members and 10am for the general public. (Savvy parents who aren’t yet members can join the Arizona Science Center today to enjoy this and other member benefits.)

I’ve raised three Arizona kids — and together we’ve enjoyed countless trips to the Arizona Science Center and to Childsplay productions. It’s no surprise, I suppose, that they’ve chosen careers in theater, cultural anthropology and science — and that they’re all active supporters of diversity and social justice.

Theater + Science = Tolerance

— Lynn

Note: The Arizona Science Center presents “Bio Buzz Family Series” free with general admission from 1:45-2:15pm on “third Saturdays.” The Dec 18 topic is “Vitamin D: Disease Fighter and Fountain of Youth.”

Coming up: More art and science — as “Stage Mom” explores a traveling Smithsonian exhibit at the Arizona Museum for Youth and the diverse exhibits of the Arizona Museum for Natural History