Tag Archives: volunteering

16 ways to celebrate museum day

After drawing a picture at the Tucson Children’s Museum, this child decided to hang it on the museum’s bulletin board.

Plenty of museums are celebrating International Museum Day on May 18 with free admission and/or other special offers. Check out these ideas for exploring and supporting museums with your family and friends…

Visit children’s museums with your family. Arizona options include the Arizona Museum for Youth, Children’s Museum of Phoenix and Tucson Children’s Museum.

Plan a family vacation to a museum-rich region. Treat your kids to a weekend exploring museums in Prescott, Tucson or Phoenix. Head to museums in other parts of the country — Chicago, New York, San Francisco or Washington, D.C. Or enjoy time together in Florence, Paris or London.

Introduce your kids to museum-sponsored events. Tell your teens about this weekend’s “Teen Night Out” at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. Take your children to see exhibits featuring works by youth, like “Visions” at SMoCA’s young@art gallery.

Make a donation to your favorite museum. Even small gifts are welcome because they add up to big results for museum goers as donations make new programs, events and exhibits possible.

Write letters in support of local museums. Send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper in praise of museums, or to a local legislator who supports museums and other homes for Arizona arts and culture.

Shop for gifts, games and more at your local museum. Visit the Musical Instrument Museum for child-friendly instruments, the Heard Museum for artwork by American Indian artists or the Arizona Science Center for hands-on activities.

Sign up to get museum e-newsletters. Request e-alerts from your favorite museums so you’ll be the first to know about new programs, family-friendly events, special exhibits and more.

Take friends to see a museum film screening. Catch “Gerard Richter Painting” (May 30) at the Tucson Museum of Art or “Between the Folds” (June 2, featuring ten paper artists) at the Phoenix Art Museum.

Enroll your kids in museum classes or summer camps. Check out offerings at the Arizona Museum of Natural HistoryShemer Art Center and Museum and other museums.

See an arts-related musical or play. Take older teens or friends to see Arizona Theatre Company’s production of “Red” (a John Logan play exploring Mark Rothko’s work) at the Herberger Theater Center.

Read books about great artists and museums. Pick up a couple of art books at your local museum shop or head to the library for titles about artists exhibited in the world’s famous museums and galleries.

Explore museum galleries online. Spend some time enjoying Google Art, or visiting online exhibitions from local and international museums so your children can see works by diverse artists.

Get a culture pass from your local library. Head to participating libraries to snag passes for free admission, and watch for museums offering free/discounted admission as part of International Museum Day.

Invite friends to dine at a local museum cafe. Enjoy lunch at the Phoenix Art Museum’s Palette, the MIM Cafe, the Heard Museum North Cafe or another museum restaurant.

Sign up to volunteer with a local museum. Train to be a docent, help with kids’ art classes or greet museum visitors.

Help your child’s teacher arrange a museum field trip. Suggest a few of your favorite museums for class field trips, and offer to help with legwork or actual field trip planning.

Learn more about Arizona museums from the Central Arizona Museum Association and the Arizona Museum Association. Click here explore Blue Star Museums, a national program that provides free summer admission to participating museums for active duty military personnel and their families.

— Lynn

Note: Click here to read a list of Arizona museums offering free admission compiled by the Scottsdale Public Library. Always check museum hours, admission costs and such before attending.

Coming up: Art from a recent United Nations exhibition of works by women


Art, art resolution!

If you’re keen on making New Year’s resolutions, consider one of the following resolutions that’ll help support local arts and culture…

I resolve to…hit arts & culture venues and events. Choose museum cafes for get-togethers with friends. Enjoy date nights at concerts, plays, poetry readings or dance events. Schedule playdates at children’s museums. Invite friends to join you for art festivals and art walks. Take your children to outdoor concerts. Shop for gifts at library, museum and performing art venue shops. Take out of town visitors to museums, galleries and performances.

I resolve to…donate to arts & culture groups. Make a year-end gift to your favorite art, music, dance or theater group. Pledge to give a set amount to one or more arts groups each month next year. Make donations on behalf of others to honor special birthdays or anniversaries. Include one or more arts organizations in your will. Organize a coin drive to help kids donate spare change to favorite arts groups. Give up one luxury next year and share the savings with a local arts or culture organization.

I resolve to…volunteer time with arts & culture organizations. Help a local theater group by sewing costumes, painting sets or covering the box office. Volunteer to work at boutiques held during symphony, opera or ballet performances. Sign up for docent training at a favorite museum. Serve as an usher at your local performing arts venue. Offer to help an arts and culture organization with clerical tasks. Volunteer to serve on an arts-related committee.

I resolve to…advocate for arts & culture. Talk with school leaders about increasing arts education. Attend the 2012 Arizona Arts Congress and other advocacy events. Contact local legislators about increasing arts funding. Let businesses know you value those that support arts and culture. Write letters to the editor about the role of arts and culture in building a strong economy. Consider candidate support for arts and culture when voting. Sign up for advocacy alerts from Arizona Citizens/Action for the Arts.

I resolve to…be informed about arts & culture. Read local and national news related to arts and culture. Sign up for e-newsletters from several arts and culture organizations. Follow the Arizona Commission on the Arts on social media. Attend lectures and demonstrations by local artists and perfomers. Take classes in music, writing, dance, painting or other types of art.

— Lynn

Note: Click here to learn more about the Arizona Commission on the Arts, and here to learn more about Arizona Citizens/Action for the Arts.

Coming up: Nesting tales

All artwork featured in this post is from a quilt titled “Juliette Low is Our Cup of Tea” created by Girl Scout Troop 325 in Pensacola, FL for the “Dream Rocket Project” (formerly exhibited at the Children’s Museum of Phoenix).  Photos by Lynn Trimble.

Homemade holiday ornaments

When our three children were younger, we often enjoyed crafting homemade holiday ornaments together. The kitchen table, covered with old newspapers or a tacky plastic tablecloth, was transformed into arts and crafts central — covered with yarn, pipe cleaners, glitter, fabric paints and other raw materials.

When you’re out and about running holiday errands, hit your local craft or creative papers store for some basic supplies so you’re ready when the mood for holiday ornament-making strikes. Think felt, craft paints, embroidery floss, popsicle sticks, molding clay, jumbo beads and such. Even clear ball-style ornaments you can partially fill with paint and swirl around to make one-of-a-kind decorations.

Tree filled with homemade ornaments

Sometimes we had a separate Christmas tree just for the ornaments crafted by our children — like the one at right covered with felt shapes traced with holiday cookie cutters and styrofoam balls decorated with glued-on buttons. Even the yarn and popsicle stick “God’s eyes” they learned to make while listening to lore about my childhood summer camp days.

If you’re entertaining during the holidays, consider filling a tree with edible ornaments. Rolls of storebought cookie dough thickly sliced and baked make a tasty decor/dessert combo assuming you remember to punch a hole in each cookie with a jumbo straw before baking. Once your cookies are baked and decorated, just thread a pretty ribbon through the hole and they’re ready for hanging. A few will crumble, but that’s half the fun. Those go to your tiny taste testers.

For folks needing a bit of inspiration on how to get started, here’s a list of simple ideas. Pick the ones that work best for your child’s age and your own family budget — then gather the supplies and go for it!

  • Make holiday shapes with cookie cutters and either store-bought or homemade modeling dough (some doughs require baking before painting and decoration)
  • Fold origami paper into cranes or other shapes — or use scissors to make kirigami (cut paper) designs like snowflakes
  • Make heart shapes with wire or pipe cleaners, then add tied-on strips of colorful fabric around the borders
  • Roll ball-shaped ornaments in glue, then roll again to cover with glitter, sequins or tiny seed beads (old cookie sheets are helpful here)
  • Make frames for family (and pet) photos — using popsicle sticks, thin sheets of craft foam, braided pipe cleaners and such
  • Dip pipe cleaners in glue, then cover with glitter — shaping them into hearts, stars and swirls once they’re nearly dry
  • Cover bendable wire or pipe cleaners with colorful beads before shaping them into hearts, teardrops or other designs
  • Cut felt after tracing designs with cookie cutters, then embellish with stitches of brightly-colored embroidery floss

Consider a theme tree if your family has a special interest like animals or reading together. Book lovers can create their own bookmarks, then hang them from the tree — and make miniature versions of their favorite books by folding plain white index cards in half and drawing or coloring the front and back “covers.”

Folks eager to reinforce the importance of giving while downplaying more material aspects of the holiday season can make their own “good works” or “good wishes” tree. Try filling a tree with hand-decorated messages family members write to each other then share on Christmas eve or Christmas day.

Or making a special tree now that’s covered in strips of paper (like Chinese cookie fortunes) noting different good deeds — like “Make cookies for a neighbor” or “Volunteer one hour helping hungry families” — then let family members take turns opening the notes each day, and doing the good deeds inside them. Like an advent calendar for random acts of kindness.

Those less daring in the do-it-yourself department have plenty of craft kit options, including Shrinky Dinks, that’ll bring fast and relatively easy results. Also fun places like pottery painting studios.

Don’t forget the tried-and-true favorites from your own childhood days, including multi-color paper chains crafted from strips of construction paper. They’re inexpensive to make and easy for family members of varying ages to create while enjoying a spot of hot chocolate or apple cider together.

— Lynn

Coming up: Smart kitty, Spring art classes for kids

More fun with “ThesCon” photos

More than 75 schools are participating in this year’s Arizona Thespian Festival, taking place Nov. 18 & 19 at the Phoenix Convention Center. Most are from the Phoenix metropolitan area, but other parts of the state are also represented. Think Tucson, Bisbee, San Tan Valley, Vail, Yuma, Holbrook, Payson, Sahuarita and Wickenberg.

Agua Fria High School students who decided to really dress for the occasion on Friday

The event program features a graphic with paw prints that reads “Thespians Can’t Be Tamed” and this year’s “We Were Born This Way” theme. Theater students, more than any others perhaps, combine respect for individual differences with love of working together. They’re some of the country’s most creative and hard-working youth, yet perpetually strive to get to the next level.

A group of high school theater students deciding which workshops to attend

So it’s no surprise that more than 80 workshops are being offered this year – on everything from “The Rap & Rhyme of Shakespeare” to “Advanced Playwriting.” Even “Rigging Safety,” “Intermediate Juggling,” “Speaking the British Dialect” and “Hand to Hand Combat.”

A couple of attendees check out the amazing number of festival offerings

The festival helps high school theater students hone on-stage and behind-the-scene skills, and helps teachers connect with others working to improve arts education despite budget shortfalls and other challenges.

Students from Notre Dame Preparatory High School enjoying a bit of down time

Two schools were selected to perform full-length productions at this year’s festival – Perry High School (“A Midsummer Night’s Dream”) and Desert Mountain High School (“Ruthless!”).

Students having a great time at the No Fear Ballroom Dancing workshop

Seventeen schools are presenting one-act plays, and some students are participating in competitions spotlighting specific abilities such as delivering monologues, designing costumes and creating short films.

More students demonstrating the fine art of ballroom dance

Between workshops, competitions and performances, students visit with representatives from various colleges and universities – some in Arizona, some from other states (including California, New York, New Mexico and Nevada). I was especially excited to see my own alma mater, Pepperdine University, on the list of places eager to recruit Arizona students.

Students from Glendale High School doing their ballroom dancing thing

An event of this magnitude takes extraordinary effort by dedicated individuals, and an incredible amount of teamwork. This year’s program lists 31 Arizona adult state board members, including Linda Phillips of Agua Fria High School, who serves as Arizona Thespian Chapter Director. It also notes the names of 22 Arizona student state board members, including Captain Thespian Chris Rodriguez of Desert Ridge High School.

A delightful gathering of several students volunteering at the festival this year

I’ll be heading out the festival again on Saturday morning, eager to glean tips I can share with young readers on topics like auditioning, applying for college theater programs, marketing shows and pursuing careers in theater.

Students from Sahuaro High School in Tucson with a piece entered in the tech challenge

Something tells me I’ll come home with enough stories to carry me through until next year’s festival. Have you ever heard the one about the horse’s head?

— Lynn

Note: Click here to learn more about the Arizona Thespians, an affiliate of the Educational Theatre Association

Coming up: A playground dispute takes center stage

A trio of tributes

Detail of artwork by theater students at Arizona School for the Arts

Detail of artwork by theater students at Arizona School for the Arts

In Tempe Beach Park, a flag is flying for each person who perished in the attacks of September 11, 2001. So too in Battery Park, New York — where stripes on the flags have been replaced by the names of those killed, and people gathered Saturday morning to form a human chain of solidarity and remembrance.

Candlelight vigils in Scottsdale and countless cities throughout the world are honoring those lost, as well as those who remain. A beam from the World Trade Center is being installed at a Gilbert memorial, and a sculpture crafted of three sections of WTC buildings has been unveiled in London’s Battersea Park — a tribute to the 67 Britons lost that day.

Detail of Tiles for America exhibit in New York City

But it’s a trio of tributes, our country’s permanent memorials to 9/11, that most will visit in coming days, decades and beyond. One in Pennsylvania. One in New York. One in Washington, D.C.

I was particularly moved while watching a live C-SPAN broadcast of the dedication ceremony Saturday morning for the Flight 93 National Memorial in Pennsylvania, where the heroism of everyday Americans was honored by dignitaries, artists, family members and others.

Poet Robert Pinsky read two works — “Souvenir of the Ancient World” by Carlos Drummond de Andrade and “Incantation” by Czeslaw Milosz. The second was interrupted at our house by a call from the National Republican Party. The timing made my stomach turn.

Art from one of two Tiles for America exhibits in NYC

I heard an interview with George Packer, who has a piece titled “Coming Apart” in the Sept 12, 2011 issue of New Yorker magazine, on NPR today. He noted that two things he’d hoped might change about America in the aftermath of 9/11 are much the same. Our partisan politics and the growing gap between America’s rich and poor.

I hope our national 9/11 memorials will help to change that. Reminding us of what we have in common. Reminding us that every person matters. Reminding us to volunteer in service to others. Reminding us to be grateful.

During the “New York Says Thank You” documentary broadcast on local FOX affiliates Saturday evening, several people involved with the “I Will” campaign shared ways they’ll be honoring those directly affected by 9/11.

More street art from Tiles for America

Actor Mariska Hargitay plans to volunteer at her local domestic violence shelter. A teen girl says she’ll “clean up my room.” A middle-aged man plans to plant a tree at the Flight 93 National Memorial. And a woman about my age says simply, “I will forgive.”

The Friends of Flight 93 and the National Parks Service (which operates the Flight 93 National Memorial) are partnering with the Fred M. Rogers Center at Saint Vincent’s College in Pennsylvania for an October event titled “9/11 Forum: Impact on Young Children.” And folks far and wide have started discussions about incorporating 9/11 into school curriculum materials.

My “I Will” is following the developments of the trio of tributes best known to Americans and sharing them with our readers, not just on 9/11 but throughout the year. But also the everyday stories of children, families, teachers, artists and others working to make September 12 and every day that follows a day of healing, humility and hope.

— Lynn

Note: Learn more about the Flight 93 National Memorial at www.npca.org and www.honorflight93.org, the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial at www.pentagonmemorial.org and the 9/11 Memorial in NYC at www.911memorial.org. All three appreciate gifts of time and money as they move forward honoring those affected by 9/11. Learn about “I Will” at www.911day.org.  Watch eight artists “talk about how that day and its aftermath have informed their work and lives” at www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/09/02/us/sept-11-reckoning/artists.html?ref=arts.

Coming up: A photo tour of memorials at Phoenix’s Wesley Bolin Plaza

Broadway remembers 9/11

A bustling evening in Times Square as Broadway shows are letting out nearby

I turned to the “Arts, Briefly” section of Thursday’s The New York Times to discover that Nick Jonas will be joining the cast of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” in late January.

The news surpised my son, Christopher, who hadn’t realized that Jonas performed on Broadway (“Annie Get Your Gun,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and “Les Miserables”) long before the Jonas Brothers went big time.

My daughter, Lizabeth, will likely laugh it off as just another case of mom being the last to know. She’s a proud Arizona baby turned New Yorker who’s already taken in two musicals since starting acting studies at Pace University — the final performance of “Catch Me If You Can” on Broadway and the Off-Broadway revival of “Rent.”

Tonight she attended a staged reading of Sara Tuft’s “110 Stories” at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts in Manhattan. Tuft describes it as “the human side of history, without politics and agenda, giving voice to those who experienced 9.11 directly.” In short, it’s “a love letter to New York City.”

One of many ways Broadway remembers

The benefit performance featured distinguished film, television and stage actors. Think Alec Baldwin, Katie Holmes, Aasif Mandvi, Kathleen Turner. Also Tony Shaloub, Melissa Leo, Samuel L. Jackson, Cynthia Nixon and many others. Even Ben Vereen, who performs at our very own Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts in November. There’ll be another staged reading tomorrow night.

Proceeds will help The New York Says Thank You Foundation, started in 2003 at the suggestion of a five year old boy, to transform a day of tragedy into a day of national volunteer service. The foundation sends volunteers throughout the country to assist with rebuilding after disasters. www.skirballcenter.nyu.edu and www.newyorksaysthankyou.org.

Lizabeth enjoyed the work, but wasn’t terribly thrilled with the shutterbugs who tooks photos and sent texts during much of the performance. The night was about remembering 9/11, she told me — not tacky celebrity sightings.

Seems she experienced a bit of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week while walking through Soho after the show, where the streets were crowded with folks doing the “Fashion’s Night Out” thing. I was at home watching an episode of “Project Runway” featuring contestants photographing Times Square neon for fashion inspiration.

Lizabeth will be heading to Times Square on Friday to attend a Broadway League production titled “Broadway Unites: 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance.” It’s the encore of a performance given a decade ago to demonstrate the solidarity and optimism of New York and the nation.

Broadway performers will gather Friday near the TKTS booth at Duffy Square for "Broadway Unites"

Lizabeth was thrilled to learn that the casts of several Broadway shows are scheduled to participate — “Anything Goes,” “The Addams Family,” “Billy Elliot The Musical,” “The Book of Mormon,” “Chicago,” “Godspell,” “Mamma Mia!,” “Memphis,” “Rock of Ages,” “Jersey Boys,” “Priscilla Queen of the Desert,” “Sister Act” and “Stomp.”

Also Matthew Broderick, Harvey Fierstein, Sutton Foster, Joel Grey, Bebe Neuwirth and Brooke Shields. Neuwirth, by the way, performs at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts in October. www.scottsdaleperformingarts.com.

Several additional participants were announced just today — Nick Adams, Kara DioGuardi, Josh Gad, Montego Glover, Nikki James, Chad Kimball, Darlene Love, Rory O’Malley, Brad Oscar, Hunter Parrish, Andrew Rannells, Roger Rees and Tony Sheldon. 

They’ll be singing Kander & Ebb’s “New York, New York” in Duffy Square at 4pm, accompanied by a 29-piece live orchestra. Operatic tenor NYPD officer Daniel Rodriguez will perform “God Bless America” and several fine folks will offer remarks.

Think Paul Lubin (chairman of the Broadway League), Bob Wankel (chairman of the Times Square Alliance), and David Payne and Jay Winuk (founders of My Good Deed). Also actor Joel Grey. The performance is being directed and choreographed by Denis Jones, a participant in the original 2001 performance. Musical direction in by Phil Reno.

They’re all participating in support of the “9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance” — inspired by the “I Will” campaign that encourages people to perform good deeds, support charitable causes and volunteer as a tribute to 9/11 victims and survivors — plus “those who rose in service in response to the attacks.” www.broadwayleague.com and www.ilovenytheater.com/broadwayunites.

It’s a remarkable time to be a new New Yorker. To witness the rebuilding of Ground Zero. To hear the stories of victims, families, first responders and everyday heroes. To celebrate the arts that reflect the best in humanity. To embrace the diversity and democracy no act of terror will ever destroy.

— Lynn

Note: During “Broadway Week” (Sept 18-30, 2011 ) you can enjoy 2 for 1 tickets to many Broadway shows.

Coming up: The 9/11 Memorial opens in NYC

Arizona celebrates civil rights

Arizona has the distinction of being one of the last states to adopt the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday.

While some say we’ve yet to make enough progress in the area of civil rights, plenty of Arizonans are eager to celebrate MLK, Jr. Day on Monday.

Families have all sorts of options — from events taking place at local arts venues, community centers and museums to events taking place at Arizona colleges and universities.

Those who prefer to spend MLK, Jr. Day doing community service can check with volunteer organizations about available opportunities to assist with projects ranging from trash pick up to assembling care packages for folks in need.

The following links will help you find ways to celebrate MLK, Jr. Day with your family — this weekend and throughout the month of January:

Performing arts venues holding MLK, Jr. Day celebrations include Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts and Mesa Arts Center.

Universities holding MLK, Jr. Day celebrations include Arizona State University (which has diverse events taking place all month), Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona.

UA in Tucson holds “The Power of a Dream: Martin Luther King Jr. March and Festival” Mon, Jan 17 from 8:30am-4:30pm.

The event kicks off with a welcome on the UA Mall, followed by a 9am march from the UA Mall to Reid Park. Festival activities take place 10:30am-4pm.

UA notes that the 2011 march and festival “will honor Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the other victims of the shooting that occured on Jan. 8.”

ASU festivities include an awards ceremony for K-12 winners of a statewide essay-poster contest, a student rally and a children’s march on the campus mall. 

Volunteer organizations offering MLK, Jr. Day volunteer/community service opportunities include HandsOn Greater Phoenix and the Volunteer Center of Southern Arizona.

Volunteer slots are filling up quickly so don’t delay if this is something you’d like to make a part of your family’s day.

If your community is hosting an arts-related MLK, Jr. Day celebration not featured here, please comment below to share brief details with our readers.

— Lynn

Note: Click here to learn more about the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. Click here to learn more about the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Coming up: Dreaming Darwin, Musings on “mature content” musicals