Many artists spend an inordinate amount of time thinking when, really, they want to change the world. They are something like maniacal world leaders but without all the guns, killing and domination. They are sketching, writing, researching, reading, watching, futzing. As mentioned a few weeks ago, this time alone to brood and develop can be incredibly useful and productive. But, sometimes, at some point, an artist might come to a point where she’s stuck and doesn’t know how to move ahead.
A good, complex work doesn’t usually get there by coming up with an initial idea and immediately executing it. You can’t say you came up with an invention by just talking about it. You have to actually go through the process of making the thing. In order to avoid artwork becoming gimmicky or only concepts that you throw around at a party after a few drinks, a little more work is involved.
There are a lot of these ideas that float around the community—a lot of “what ifs.” But “what if” these ideas and projects began to take form and “what if” there was a source someone could go to get out of a rut, hear some suggestions and be encouraged to move on to the next stage?
Enough Talk, More Action
I’d like to propose a series of discussion/brainstorming sessions for the downtown Phoenix area. It’s been my experience that sometimes, people just need a little push. This could be by sitting back and letting someone talk out an idea or by bombarding them with questions. Call it a selfish act but I like to see interesting things happening around me. I like being part of them. I like to think and help others work out ideas.
Each month topics will rotate from something like text-based works to art using technology to creative computer hacking to new approaches with sculptural materials. People interested in participating will sign up or congregate via a website and then be prepared to talk for five minutes in front of a group about the project. The focus of the meet-up is to talk more about the work and less about ourselves. It doesn’t matter if you’re new to the area, an undergrad at ASU or an experienced artist with national exposure—the point of the group is to use the collective power of each other’s brains to come up with a solution or suggestion on where to take the work next.
Think of this less as social networking and more as project developing. There are plenty of outlets in Phoenix for social meet-ups of like-mindeds. The art openings on First and Third Fridays end up being a place where artists and other creative people can mix and relax but when can we sit down and discuss the details and the ugly truth of actually making a work possible? Somehow, maybe, we’re holding back.
This can be a venue to voice new work that an artist isn’t so sure about—something that functions outside a comfort zone. Artists who usually work in paint but have been toying around with the idea of a web-based project could come to a meeting and solicit suggestions from others who regularly and fluently work with the web.
Meetings would stay on track with a moderator to make sure that everyone can be heard and no one monopolizes the time (we know how artists like to talk). Guest artists, curators and writers will be invited to participate in the discussion in an effort to bring in an outside voice with a different perspective. The direction of the conversation would be constructive, direct and candid. Be prepared for someone to cry. I’ve seen it happen before… or perhaps I was the one doing the crying.
If this sounds like something you’d like to participate in some time in the near future or if you feel that a meeting like this will help push creation in Phoenix to a new level, please “like” this article, use the comments section here to voice your support or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some name suggestions for the group: Clash of the Artists, What Happens When Brains Collide (WHWBC), P-Art-Y (you decide what the P and Y stand for), We Make Artists Cry, Combustion, ThinkAct.
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PHOENIX CHOSEN FOR MAY 23 LAUNCH OF NATIONAL COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT CAMPAIGN FOR LANDMARK PBS DOCUMENTARY LATINO AMERICANS
Public screening and discussion tour for PBS special celebrating Latino American history opens with arts and culture event in downtown Phoenix
Eight, Arizona PBS in partnership with the City of Phoenix Latino Institute, will host two events on May 23 to launch the new three-part, six-hour PBS documentary series Latino Americans. The first is a daytime event for teens at 11:30 a.m., followed by an evening arts and cultural event from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Both events will be held in the historic A.E. England Building in downtown Phoenix (424 N. Central Ave., Phoenix 85004), and will feature a highlight screening from Latino Americans, scheduled to premiere Fall 2013 on Eight, Arizona PBS, and other PBS stations nationwide. Adriana Bosch, series producer for Latino Americans, and others from the documentary will participate in discussions at both the daytime and evening viewing events.
Latino Americans narrates the history, growth and experiences of Latinos in the United States from the 16th century to present day. The six-hour film special combines interviews with nearly 100 Latinos from the worlds of politics, business and pop culture. Emmy Award-winning producer Adriana Bosch will participate in a panel following the screening to discuss this first-of-its-kind film chronicle of the lives of Latino Americans, and the importance of this history in understating the Latino identity.
“It is time the Latino American history be told,” says Bosch, a Cuban-born filmmaker whose previous PBS projects include Latin Music U.S.A. and documentaries for the series American Experience on Presidents Dwight Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and Cuban leader Fidel Castro. “Latinos are an integral part of the U.S., and this series shares the stories of a rich collection of people coming from so many different countries and backgrounds. It is the story of Latinos, and it is the story of America.”
The City of Phoenix Latino Institute is presenting the Latino Americans film event as part of its Evening Community Connections Series, which takes place every Thursday at the A.E. England Building.
The film, narrated by actor Benjamin Bratt, will air nationally on PBS on three consecutive Tuesdays, premiering on September 17, September 24 and October 1.
WHO: Panelists include Emmy-award-winning producer of the PBS Latino Americans series Adriana Bosch, Latino labor rights pioneer Dolores Huerta, Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President Gonzalo de la Melena, and DREAMer youth. This event is a partnership between Eight, Arizona PBS and the City of Phoenix Latino Institute.
WHERE: The historic A.E. England Building in downtown Phoenix (424 N. Central Ave., Phoenix 85004), adjacent to Civic Space Park.
WHEN: Thursday, May 23 – daytime event for youth from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and evening arts and cultural event from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Register here.
In addition to the broadcast of Latino Americans in Fall 2013, a companion book by Ray Suarez, Senior Correspondent for PBS NEWSHOUR, will be released to coincide with the series. It will be published by Celebra, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA), and will be available in both English and Spanish. It may be pre-ordered now, and will go on-sale September 3. The project will also be accompanied by major bilingual digital engagement and public education campaigns, including the development of a school-based curriculum, which will be available in late summer 2013.
Latino Americans is a production of WETA Washington, DC; Bosch and Co., Inc.; and Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB); in association with Independent Television Service (ITVS). The series executive producers are Jeff Bieber and Dalton Delan for WETA, Sandie Viquez Pedlow for LPB, and Sally Jo Fifer for ITVS. The series producer is Adriana Bosch. The supervising producer is Salme Lopez. The producers are Nina Alvarez, Dan McCabe, Ray Telles and John Valadez. The associate producers are Sabrina Avilés, Yvan Iturriaga and Monika Navarro. For the re-enactment sequences, the producer is Cathleen O’Connell and the directors are David Belton and Sonia Fritz. Major funding for Latino Americans is provided by Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), Ford Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, The Rockefeller Foundation, The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations and The Summerlee Foundation. Funding for outreach is supported by a grant from The New York Community Trust.
Eight, Arizona PBS is a trusted community resource. For over 50 years, the PBS station has focused on educating children, reporting in-depth on public affairs, fostering lifelong learning and celebrating arts and culture. Eight achieves its mission through the power of noncommercial television, the Internet, educational outreach and community-based initiatives. Its signal reaches 86 percent of homes in Arizona. With more than 1 million viewers weekly, Eight consistently ranks among the most-viewed public television stations per capita in the country. For more information, visit azpbs.org. Eight is a member-supported service and the public media enterprise of Arizona State University.
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A free community presentation that highlights Phoenix’s development as a city will be held from 3 to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 25, at Burton Barr Central Library, Pulliam Auditorium, 1221 N. Central Ave.
The lecture will feature Alison King, founding editor of ModernPhoenix.net and associate professor of graphic design at the Art Institute of Phoenix. The lecture, titled “Modern Phoenix: Where Cantilever Meets Coyote,” will illustrate how explosive Phoenix growth in the post-war era made the Arizona desert a fertile palette for experimentation by some of the nation’s greatest modern architects including Frank Lloyd Wright.
The illustrated talk will spotlight custom and vernacular modern design created by five architects who relocated to Arizona, calling it home in the post-war era. Vintage imagery, legends and design philosophies of Al Beadle, Blaine Drake, Ralph Haver, Paolo Soleri and Fred Guirey will be discussed. An overview of current challenges and triumphs in mid-century preservation will paint a vivid picture of the state of modern design in Arizona. An update on Frank Lloyd Wright’s David Wright home also will be shared.
King is founder of the Modern Phoenix Neighborhood Network at the award-winning website modernphoenix.net. She has researched, written and documented Arizona’s modern culture on the web since 2003. She was honored twice by the Central Arizona American Institute of Architects for her contributions to interpreting design history and in 2011 published the authorized biography, “Ralph Burgess Haver: Everyman’s Modernist.”
The free series of public talks coincides with the exhibition, “Phoenix Icons: The Art of Our Historic Landmarks,” on display at the Gallery @ City Hall, 200 W. Washington St., first floor.
The show includes 33 photographs by artists Patrick Madigan and Michael Lundgren of historic Phoenix landmarks and buildings. The lecture series is supported with funds from the Arizona Commission on the Arts.
“Phoenix Icons: The Art of Our Historic Landmarks” is the second in a series of rotating exhibitions featuring the city’s historic Municipal Art Collection of 1,000 artworks.
The Gallery @ City Hall is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. The exhibit, on display through the end of May, is free to the public. The works were commissioned by the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture Public Art Program. The Phoenix Arts and Culture Commission and the Historic Preservation Commission have partnered in the exhibition. The gallery is supported by private contributions from businesses and residents throughout the city and region and operated by volunteers.
For more information, visit phoenix.gov/arts or call 602-262-4637. Follow us on Twitter @phxartsculture.
If you’re feeling the Thursday mental fatigue that comes near the end of the work week, give your tired synapses a pick-me-up at the world’s largest international pre-college science competition, and take a look at cutting-edge student research.
The Intel® International Science and Engineering Fair® (Intel ISEF) is a program of Society for Science & the Public, wrapping up this year’s event at the Phoenix Convention Center through Friday. Celebrate the joys of science at Thursday’s Public Outreach Day with hands-on interactive exhibits, and meet talented young finalists creating groundbreaking research in chemistry, computer science, engineering, and other disciplines.
Approximately 1,600 high school scientists competed from around the world, coming from 433 affiliate fairs and resulting in over 400 award-winning finalists and 17 “Best of Category” winners in fields including animal and plant sciences, cellular and molecular biology, behavioral and social sciences, medicine and health, bioengineering, and physics and astronomy.
The Special Awards Ceremony takes place Thursday evening, while the Grand Awards Ceremony starts Friday at 9AM. It’s intriguing to speculate on the prize-winning topics of research — finalists are competing for more than $4 million in awards.
Last year’s first-place winner was 15-year-old Jack Andraka of Maryland, who created a simple dip-stick sensor to test for pancreatic cancer. Astonishingly, Andraka’s study resulted in greater than 90% accuracy, and showed his sensor to be 28 times faster, far less expensive, and more than 100 times more sensitive than current tests.
Winners of Young Scientist Awards in 2012 included 17-year-old Canadian Nicholas Schiefer, who studies “microsearch,” developing ways to search tweets and Facebook status updates by improving the capabilities of search engines. Another winner, 18-year-old Ari Dyckovsky of Virginia, investigated the science of quantum teleportation, “entangling” atoms to transfer information.
Curious? Learn more about past projects through the abstract search, or stop by the Fair and see for yourself — you might find research exploring new drugs made from spiderweb silk, or discover an internal combustion engine with only four moving parts…or you just might meet the next great scientific mind in a teenager.
If you go:
- The Intel® International Science and Engineering Fair® (Intel ISEF): at the Phoenix Convention Center through Friday, May 17.
- Society for Science & the Public is a non-profit organization promoting the understanding and appreciation of science.
- The Intel ISEF Public Outreach Day features hands-on interactive exhibits and the opportunity to meet top young scientists.
- Check out highlights from last year’s Fair on YouTube.
This is definitely it. This is the last of it. A few cool soft breezes at night with the windows open will taunt you in your memory a week from now. Soon we’ll be closing the blinds and hissing at the sunlight like trapped vampires. It goes by many names but I like to call it “underwear weather.” More traditionally, it’s called summer. And, as every good Phoenician knows, summer begins in May.
Years ago, it used to be that once May rolled around, all of the art spaces in downtown Phoenix that didn’t have functioning A/C or swamp coolers would shut down for the summertime and stay closed until re-emerging in October. Now, considering the vast amounts of Facebook event invitations I’ve been getting, this tactic is no longer the case. Either art spaces have suddenly come across a windfall of cash or people in town are more willing to brave sweating together in a small room for the sake of seeing art.
While venues like Lawn Gnome, The Trunk Space, Frontal Lobe and Crescent Ballroom seem to have plans scheduled deep into the beast that is high summer in Phoenix, I see this time of year as having an additional advantage.
All good work needs time and focus to develop. With a self-imposed sun and heat quarantine, the summertime in Phoenix is the perfect time to think, read, write, develop, plan and scheme all of the ideas there was no time to focus on while friends were luring you out the door for beers on a patio or a hike in the mountains. The winter weather here can be blissful but is really not conducive to hours of concentration. I find myself staring longingly out the window and cursing our American workaholic existence.
When staring out the window means being blinded by a high noon reflection of the sun or witnessing a sweaty individual finding a sliver of shade to wait for the bus, the prospect of hiding indoors seems much more inviting. Living in such a unique environment, we must take advantage of the odd variances of this place.
Starting right now, you have five months to work on your grand plan. Instead of going stir crazy and disgusted with the sight of four walls, an entirely new project could be born. Most of the time, people don’t discover the benefits of focus and development. It can be ugly. Starting off is always a struggle of the conscious as it battles to defeat the beginnings of any idea. But this time, with fewer distractions, instead of saying no to the idea, you can say yes.
Philosopher Hannah Arendt wrote that philosophy is useless in the practical world without action that could take the form of writing or spoken words. Simply by stepping forth with the ideas in your head and putting them in to reality, we change the make-up of our world and begin participating in life.
So, although you might be sitting in your dark cave space, blinds closed, fan on, a/c set at 82 degrees so you don’t break the bank, and limiting contact with the “outside” world, you may ultimately be taking a greater part in it.
Once September or October approaches, emerge from your cool dark place and share your results with the city. If all works out, we should see some pretty amazing and weird work and maybe even some projects that expand on the conceptual groundwork that was created the previous year. Summer is the time to hibernate, develop and grow. Take this time to walk around in your underwear and see what’s possible.
Frontal Lobe, Go Joe show, May 24
Lawn Gnome Publishing, Sole: No Wising Up, No Settling Down Tour, June 18,
The Trunk Space, event calendar for June
Crescent Ballroom: Sea Wolf, June 17, Melvins, July 12