The Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

Holiday events abound this time of year, but they’re not the only game in town.

Here’s a look at creative ways to spend a bit of free time this week, from channeling legendary artist Jean-Michel Basquiat to watching experimental films by emerging talents.

Expect mask and social distancing requirements at live happenings, and remember that events are subject to change during the age of COVID-19.

Turns out, Kirk Strawn's interests run from art cars to drawing.EXPAND

Turns out, Kirk Strawn’s interests run from art cars to drawing.

Lynn Trimble

Street Art Portrait Workshop

He’s not a household name, but Kirk Strawn’s creative vision runs through several projects both in metro Phoenix and beyond. Strawn founded Walter Productions, which is best known to many for its giant art cars shown during events from Bonnaroo to Burning Man. On Monday, November 30, he’ll be leading an online art workshop, showing participants how to create artworks inspired by Jean-Michel Basquiat, a 20th century American artist whose work incorporated text, imagery, graffiti, poetics, and social commentary. The free event runs from 6 to 7 p.m.

Kate Breakey has several works in the "Little by Little" exhibit at Art Intersection.EXPAND

Kate Breakey has several works in the “Little by Little” exhibit at Art Intersection.

Kate Breakey

‘Little by Little’ Exhibit

You’ve heard the expression “good things come in small packages,” and it’s certainly true over at Art Intersection in Chandler, where the creative space is showing dozens of small-scale artworks — including drawings, paintings, photographs, sculptures, textiles, and more. Nothing measures more than 12 inches in any direction, but several pieces still make a big impact. Our favorites include works by Kate Breakey, Roman Sanchez, Kathy Vukasovich, and Jiyoung Yu. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

Holiday Cookies Class

Television cooking shows can help to ease the boredom of hunkering down at home during the age of COVID-19. But it’s no fun to watch all those holiday cooking shows if you never get the chance to try your own hand at making magic in the kitchen. Holiday cookies can be a great place to start, but you don’t have to do it alone. Sweet Basil Gourmetware and Cooking School in Scottsdale is doing three-hour cooking classes where you can learn how to make 10 different varieties of holiday cookies. Sign-up online before classes sell out. This week they’re being offered at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, December 3, and Saturday, December 5. The cost is $70.

Scene from Dexter Farley's Isolation, which was shown during a previous Video Art Festival at SMoCA.EXPAND

Scene from Dexter Farley’s Isolation, which was shown during a previous Video Art Festival at SMoCA.

Arizona State University

Video Art Festival

See works by emerging filmmakers during the Virtual Documentary Video Art Festival being presented by Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, December 3. The streaming event features “experimental short films highlighting social, cultural, and personal topics” produced by students in the intermedia program for the School of Art at Arizona State University. The museum doesn’t announce the titles in advance, but they’ve presented this event for many years, and the offerings are consistently eclectic and intriguing.

Jetsonorama, who created this Believe mural featuring poetry by Esther Belin, is part of an artist talk this week.EXPAND

Jetsonorama, who created this Believe mural featuring poetry by Esther Belin, is part of an artist talk this week.

Kirk Strawn

Land, Art, and Activism

Four artists will discuss the intersection of activism and art as the Heard Museum presents a virtual event called Artist Discussion: Land, Art, and Activism from 3 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, December 5. Featured creatives include Chip Thomas (aka Jetsonorama), Esther Belin, Thomas Breeze Marcus, and Yolanda Hart Stevens. They’ll be addressing “issues surrounding the land, land rights, and extractive practices.” Both Marcus and Thomas have painted myriad individual and collaborative murals around metro Phoenix; Thomas heads The Painted Desert Project on the Navajo Nation, where his recent work has highlighted the COVID-19 pandemic and public health.

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Glow-in-the-dark artwork by Kristin Wesley shown during a previous "Lighthouse" exhibit at Alwun House.EXPAND

Glow-in-the-dark artwork by Kristin Wesley shown during a previous “Lighthouse” exhibit at Alwun House.

Lynn Trimble

Green Art Park Opening

Alwun House, a creative space that’s been pivotal in fostering Phoenix arts and culture, is celebrating the opening of its new Art Park in the Garfield neighborhood with a free gathering at 5 p.m. on Friday, December 4. The park sits just north of Alwun House, which is located on the corner of Roosevelt and 12th streets. Mayor Kate Gallego is scheduled to do a ribbon cutting, but the evening will also include art vendors, music, and food trucks. While you’re there, check out the new “Lighthouse” exhibit at Alwun House, which includes a fun assortment of light-based artworks.

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