James D. Porter of Arizona Curriculum Theater: 100 Creatives

Categories: 100 Creatives

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ACT Inc.
Meet James Porter.

Phoenix is brimming with creativity. And every other year, we put the spotlight on 100 of the city's creative forces. Leading up to the release of this year's Best of Phoenix issue, we're profiling 100 more. Welcome to the 2014 edition of 100 Creatives. Up today: 46. James D. Porter.

"Typically we go about our work quietly in classrooms and libraries across Arizona bringing education to life," James D. Porter says.

Porter, 45, is referring to his work with Arizona Curriculum Theater, a nonprofit troupe he founded in 2009 that travels to schools in the Phoenix area and connects the arts to in-class curriculum.

But once a year, Porter and Arizona Curriculum Theater step out of the classroom and onto the stage for their annual PoeFest. "PoeFest is ACT Inc.'s biggest event of the year and the only time the public gets to see what we do," Porter says.

See also: Phoenix Artist Constance McBride: 100 Creatives

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Arizona Curriculum Theater
Beau Heckman shares the story of "The Black Cat" at PoeFest.

In October, ACT will present the sixth annual edition of PoeFest (which is exactly what it sounds like: a festival of Edgar Allan Poe's works) at Hotel San Carlos. If past editions of the event are any indication, it'll be a scream.

I came to Phoenix with too many winter coats.

I make art because I eat, drink, and breathe for my body and I make art for my soul. I think every human desires to create art and we express it in a variety of ways as diverse as the colors of the rainbow. Art fills our world - it is everywhere. It is like another language - a form of communication more powerful than any other.

I'm most productive when I am inspired. An idea can almost seize my being and not let go until the thought has been expressed.

My inspiration wall is full of autographed photos and posters from artists who have inspired or delighted me. My collection includes Mel Brooks, John Cleese, Gene Wilder, Mummenschanz, and "Weird Al" Yankovic.

I've learned most from observation. As an actor, there is no greater tool than keeping your mind and your eyes open.

Good work should always be shared. I believe art is a form of language that must be communicated in order to complete the cycle. If you're doing good work, it isn't art until that work is communicated to others. Emily Dickinson, for example, was just some strange recluse until her poems were published. Now we think of her as one of the greatest poets in history.

The Phoenix creative scene could use more support. More people need to rediscover the rich local arts that we have in Phoenix. You don't always need to go to the big venues to see the big names or popular shows in order to see great art. There is more great art right in our backyards being created by our neighbors that you can go and see everyday.

Location Info

Hotel San Carlos

202 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

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