Phoenix Culture News: Governor’s Arts Awards Winners, Calls for Art, and More


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Here’s a look at all the latest arts and culture news to help you keep up with the Phoenix’s creative scene.

Governor’s Arts Awards

Several artists and organizations recently received 2021 Governor’s Arts Awards recognizing significant achievements and contributions in arts and culture. They include Kristin Atwell Ford (Artist) of Scottsdale and John Contreras (Arts Educator) of Scottsdale. Phoenix-based recipients include Black Theatre Troupe (Large Arts Organization), Young Arts Arizona (Small Arts Organization), Arts in Medicine/University of Arizona (Large Business), Emancipation Arts (Small Business), Molly DeFillipis (Philanthropy). Bobb Cooper of Phoenix received the Lifetime Achievement Award; Maribel Alvarez of Tucson received the Shelley Award. The awards were presented by Arizona Citizens for the Arts and the Office of the Governor.

The Let's Be Better Humans bus while it was being painted last year.EXPAND

The Let’s Be Better Humans bus while it was being painted last year.

Jon Linton

Better Humans Project

The Let’s Be Better Humans project will take its artist-decorated bus on the road again this month to continue its outreach to people and communities affected by homelessness. Phoenix-based photographer Jon Linton, who heads the project, will document the journey, which will include stops in Boulder, Colorado; Minneapolis; and several additional cities. Organizers will collaborate with activist Jennifer Yellowhorse during a final stop on the Navajo Nation.

Desert Ridge Marketplace is looking for artists to do more window designs.EXPAND

Desert Ridge Marketplace is looking for artists to do more window designs.

Desert Ridge Marketplace

Window Dressing

Desert Ridge Marketplace will be featuring artist designs in vacant storefront window spaces through its Artscapes program, which is focusing on the “explore” theme this season. Artists can submit design ideas for consideration through April 2. Selected artists will receive $500, and be featured on both on-site signage and digital promotions.

Racial Equity Arts Lab

The Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture is creating a Racial Equity Arts Lab Learning Cohort, which will engage 12 to 16 arts and cultural organizations in assessments, training, and other activities designed to foster anti-racist practices. Participating organizations will go through five sessions from May to September. Groups can complete an interest form through 5 p.m. on Monday, April 5.

Morgan Smith as Lassiter in Arizona Opera's Riders of the Purple Sage.EXPAND

Morgan Smith as Lassiter in Arizona Opera’s Riders of the Purple Sage.

Tim Trumble

Purple Sage Film

Several Arizona creatives worked on a 2020 film titled Riders of the Purple Sage: The Making of a Western Opera, which takes viewers through the creative process for the opera that premiered in 2017 at Phoenix Symphony Hall. Producers are screening the film online this month with half of the proceeds benefiting The Actors Fund, an organization that provides a safety net for a broad range of entertainment professionals. The opera features music by Craig Bohmler and sets designed by Ed Mell. The film was directed by Kristin Atwell Ford.

Checking out One-Eyed Jack in Old Town Scottsdale.EXPAND

Checking out One-Eyed Jack in Old Town Scottsdale.

Lynn Trimble

Augmented Reality Artworks

Eleven artworks in the Scottsdale Public Art permanent collection now have augmented reality elements accessible through a mobile device app. The works include Diamond Bloom by Curtis Pittman, LOVE by Robert Indiana, One-Eyed Jack by John Randall Nelson, Traceries by Mary Bates Neubauer, and Windows to the West by Louise Nevelson. Nelson, Neubauer, and Pittman appear with their artworks. Local experts appear with other pieces, sharing related historical and creative elements.

Tempe Artspace Plans

The Tempe City Council voted 7-0 on March 25 to authorize the city to enter into a development agreement with Artspace, a Minnesota-based real estate development company that specializes in artist work/live spaces and affordable housing. Current plans call for a five-story multifamily project with 68 units (with platform parking) plus a two-story open air parking structure to replace existing parking that will be lost, to be located near the intersection of South Dorsey Lane and Apache Boulevard. “Occupancy preference is for those committed to the arts to nurture and grow Tempe’s local art scene though all households are eligible as per fair housing laws,” according to a city presentation during that meeting.

Part of Hugo Medina's mural honoring essential workers while it was still a work in progress.EXPAND

Part of Hugo Medina’s mural honoring essential workers while it was still a work in progress.

Lynn Trimble

Art Meets Health Care

Health care workers (with valid hospital or equivalent identification) can get free timed-admission tickets to Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, where admission is normally $10 for adults. Hugo Medina (and several artists who assisted after Medina sustained an injury) recently completed a mural paying tribute to health care workers and first responders, which is located on the Ace Uniforms building at McDowell Road and East 15th Street.

Arts and the Economy

A national report issued on March 30 indicates that arts and culture contributed $10.87 billion to Arizona’s economy in 2019. The report reflects information on commercial and nonprofit activity gathered by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Activity and the National Endowment for the Arts. The sector employed nearly 89,033 Arizonans who collectively earned $5.59 billion, according to that report. The full report is available online.

Exploring Paolo Soleri architecture at Arcosanti in Mayer, Arizona.EXPAND

Exploring Paolo Soleri architecture at Arcosanti in Mayer, Arizona.

Jacob Tyler Dunn

Cosanti Foundation Change

Patrick McWhortor stepped down from his position as CEO and president of The Cosanti Foundation effective March 31. The foundation’s work includes overseeing Arcosanti in Mayer and Cosanti in Paradise Valley. The sites were created by Paolo Soleri, a 20th-century Italian-born architect renowned for blending architecture and ecology to create “arcology.” The board of directors has launched an international search to fill this position.

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