What's the State of the Arts in Arizona? A Questionnaire for Phoenix and Beyond

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Jackalope Ranch wants your take on the arts in Arizona.

Take a deep breath, Phoenix. Between shakeups at major institutions, changes coming to arts hubs, and a slew of closings and openings, there's a lot going on -- and even more to take in.

What better time to take the pulse of the state's arts scene?

Jackalope Ranch wants your take on what's happening, what should be happening, and what's next for all aspects of the arts in and around metro Phoenix, including murals, spoken word, theater, museums, galleries, public art, and dance.

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Lisa Sette Gallery Opens 30th Season with "The Brief Forever" in Phoenix

Categories: Review, Visual Art

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Lynn Trimble
Basking in the glow of Lisa Sette Gallery during the opening for "The Brief Forever."
Curious members of the human colony descended on Lisa Sette Gallery on Saturday, January 10, for the opening of "The Brief Forever" featuring works by Mayme Kratz and Alan Bur Johnson, and "Nostalgia" by Neha Vedpathak.

Drenched in honey-colored light from the impending sunset, the gallery sat quiet like an undisturbed bee hive until swarms of gallery-goers descended, transforming the space into a human hive filled with frenetic activity. The dance of dichotomies had begun.


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Orange Theatre Among Top Grant Winners at Arizona Art Tank 2015

Categories: Visual Art

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Courtesy of Arizona Commission on the Arts
Orange Theatre landed a $10,000 Arizona Art Tank grant after giving their 6-minute pitch in Peoria.
Business types will tell you it's best to keep a one-minute "elevator speech" at the ready. Typically, that's about all the time you get to reply after someone asks about what you make or do.

But 32 Arizona artists and arts organizations had the luxury of a full six minutes to pitch their "innovative arts-based ventures" during this year's round of Arizona Art Tank events presented by the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

"It's fascinating to see how different artists explain the work they're doing and the work they want to do," says Robert Booker, executive director for Arizona Commission on the Arts. When the Arizona Association of the Deaf pitched their venture in Peoria, an on-stage presenter used sign language while a translator in front of the audience helped those not proficient in American Sign Language to understand their words. "Everybody that presented this year was really at the top of their game," Booker says.


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Roosevelt Row Developments Inspire Protest in Phoenix

Categories: News, Visual Art

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Lynn Trimble
The building at 420 East Roosevelt Street faces demolition in the wake of new development.
What started with a petition to save one building is poised to morph into a full-blown movement protesting developments that significantly would change the urban landscape of Roosevelt Row.

Though some are preparing pop-up art experiences for Super Bowl fans who visit Roosevelt Row, arguably the best-known arts district in metro Phoenix, others are planning to stage very visible protests.

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[nueBOX] Creates Platform for Phoenix-Area Performance Artists

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Courtesy of [nueBOX]
[nueBOX] provides burgeoning performance and installation artists with studio space and exhibition opportunities.

How do performance and installation artists make the transition from the structure of school to the chaos and uncertainty of the real world? [nueBox], a nonprofit arts organization, has some ideas. Their year-long residency programs provide creatives with studio space (through a partnership with Phoenix Center for the Arts) as well as performance opportunities and a platform for critical analysis of their working pieces.

[nueBOX] will hold its launch party (aptly dubbed "[nueLAUNCH]") on February 5 at First Draft Book Bar. We chatted with co-director Matthew Mosher about the event and the state of Phoenix's performance art scene.


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7 Cool Things We Saw at January's Third Friday

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Mikey Estes
Part of Patricia Sannit's ceramic installation at Halt Gallery's shipping container


The first round of Third Friday exhibitions in 2015 is setting the bar high for the rest of the year. It was a pretty quiet evening on the streets, but most of the galleries were filled with work and people to view it. Most of these exhibitions will be around for February's First Friday, so don't miss out. We're sure that with the cold beginning to dissipate, it'll be a busy year on Roosevelt Row. Here are some of our favorites.


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7 Must-See Third Friday Shows in Phoenix on January 16

Categories: Events, Visual Art

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Courtesy of Christy Puetz
Work by Christy Puetz being exhibited at Modified Arts.
We're figuring the year's first Third Friday is bound to be busy, after a relative lull in some parts of the metro Phoenix art scene for First Friday earlier this month. By now, you've either recovered from New Year's festivities, or you need a little jump start to make it happen. So there's little reason not to go, especially when you consider the diverse assortment of local artwork that's out there for your viewing and buying pleasure. We chose a few more "must-sees" than usual since so many venues chose to open shows this week rather than launching them in the midst of New Year's mayhem. So get an early start, and art hop 'til you drop.


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Preserving the Phoenix DeGrazia Murals: Here's What We Know

Categories: News, Visual Art

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Catherine Slye
Portion of the larger Ettore "Ted" DeGrazia mural inside the 222 East Roosevelt building.
While the trio of petitioners who've so far gathered just over 900 signatures continue to hope for a final-hour reprieve on the fate of the building at 222 East Roosevelt, home of the GreenHaus until Cole and Dayna Reed move their business to Portland, there's no real reason to expect it won't be demolished. Still, there's some good news -- but bad news as well. Here's what we know:

Baron Properties of Denver, which is building a residential property at 222 East Roosevelt Street and an adjacent lot to the east on the corner of Roosevelt and Third streets, tells us that we'll all get a chance to see the building's two interior murals painted by Ted DeGrazia before the walls come tumbling down. The largest mural features various scenes of people making or using alcohol. It was signed by DeGrazia and dates from 1950, according to Dayna Reed, who says Baron Properties has been "very proactive and inquisitive regarding the murals." A smaller mural, depicting a dancer inside what's been described as both a champagne glass and a martini glass, is believed to have been painted at the same time.


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Project Phoenix: Screen Printing with Scottsdale Artist Jon Arvizu

Categories: How To, Visual Art

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Evie Carpenter
We got an inside look at Jon Arvizu's screen printing process.
Happy New Year, Phoenix! What, you've already broken all your resolutions? Yeah, us too. But we're bouncing back with some inspiration. Whether you've been considering a new hair style or a new kitchen project, we're here to help with Project PHX, our annual "how to" guide. Step into Pane Bianco's kitchen to learn how to pull mozzarella. Or brew beer, crochet dread locks, learn how to build an electric guitar and make a screen print. Five local experts are here to guide you. Today: Screen printing with Jon Arvizu.

"I like to try new things," says Jon Arvizu.

It's a phrase we hear often from creatives, but when it comes from the mouth of this Scottsdale-based artist, there's one key difference: He means it. Although Arvizu considers himself an illustrator at heart (he's fortunate enough to rely solely on his craft as his bread and butter), it doesn't stop him from exploring other artistic avenues.


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El Mac on His Latest Mural in Phoenix -- And Why It Almost Didn't Happen

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Lynn Trimble
Artist El Mac, about 40 cans of spray paint into his newest collaborative mural in Phoenix.
We caught muralist El Mac in the act of art-making at The Heavy Pedal, 1309 E. Van Buren last week, working on his latest Phoenix mural. It's a collaboration between El Mac, Pablo Luna, and Mando Rascón that took a full week of steady work to execute. The results are stunning.

We're wondering how the folks who first commissioned the work will be feeling once they see it. Turns out, The Heavy Pedal team snagged the work for their east-facing wall only after the design's original commissioners decided it wasn't a good fit for their site.

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