Arts & Culture
Thanks to the efforts of Jill Johnson (Program Manager) and Doctor Diane Facinelli, students who participate in the course are steeped like tea bags in everything “downtown Phoenix” through a combination of tours and presentations by local historians, business people, city officials, arts community representatives, local community development wizards and urban sustainability advocates.
The goal is to break down any myths and misapprehensions young people who are new to downtown may have about their surroundings, and to give them access to the people on the ground who are transforming our urban core.
The course is divided into six areas, including Downtown Phoenix History; Entrepreneurship & Local Business; Governance, Politics and Activism; Places, Spaces and Adaptive Re-Use; Promoting Arts & Culture; and Sustainable and Vital Living.
Local experts in each area are brought in to meet with students and share their insights about how and why they do what they do and to show the impact they’re having. Students are not only encouraged to get involved, they are introduced to the very people and organizations that can get them started bringing their own passions and skills to bear on making the urban core vibrant.
“Incoming freshmen are sometimes disappointed to find themselves in downtown Phoenix versus the ASU campus in Tempe,” says Jill Johnson, the “connector” who makes the class viable and relevant. “We use ‘Community Encounters’ to dispel their fears, to show them what is happening right outside their student bubble, and to educate them about the wealth of opportunities they have available to them in downtown.”
The value of growing this connection between young ASU students and the downtown community is in reaching a potential new generation of residents who will want to live, work and play in downtown and create sustained vibrancy on our streets.
Jim McPherson, co-author with J. Seth Anderson and Suad Mahmuljin of Downtown Phoenix History, opens the course by sharing the historic context of the city’s evolution. “Students read our book before class,” said McPherson, “and then we take them on a combination bus and walking tour that enables them to see some of the areas featured in the book. We show them how historic places are contributing to the contemporary landscape of the city.”
“The purpose of the class is to provide students with variety of entry points for them to become active, engaged urban citizens,” said Johnson. “The students benefit from being exposed to the rich variety of experiences available to them in downtown, and the community benefits from the talent and energy the students can bring to making the best downtown possible. It’s as they say, a ‘win-win’ situation.”
Find out what this years’ students learned and how the class has impacted their perceptions of downtown at ENCOUNTER THIS! Community Encounters Showcase. At this free public event, groups of students who have worked together will show the community what they’ve learned and share how it has changed their perspective.
If You Go
When: Thursday, December 5, 7:00 pm
Where: A.E. England Building, Civic Space Park
Cost: FREE to public, but reservations are appreciated. Reserve your space now.
Contact: Jill.Johnson@asu.edu; 602-496-0557.
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PHOENIX PHABULOUS EXPERIENCE AND PHOENIX CENTER FOR THE ARTS HOST LIVE OPEN MIC STORYTELLING SHOWCASE ON DEC. 11 TO CREATE PHOENIX COMMUNITY HISTORY MURAL
On December 11 in Downtown Phoenix, storytellers will gather to share their personal connections to major Phoenix time periods at an open mic event designed to help local artists create the first, comprehensive Phoenix history mural.
The public is invited to join celebrity storytellers Bob Boze Bell, Jana Bommersbach, Frank Barrios and Marshall Shore at the Phoenix Phabulous Storytelling Showcase on Wednesday, December 11 at Phoenix Center for the arts. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with open mic hosted for live storytelling from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is free and space is limited to the first 200 attendees.
“Stories will enhance downtown Phoenix place making, spotlighting nine major periods in Phoenix history,” said Hugo Medina, artist and mural curator. “Storytellers will help local artists shape a Phoenix history mural to be created the following weekend at Phoenix Festival of the Arts held at Margaret Hance Park.”
Once completed, organizers will install the community history mural at a Downtown Phoenix gallery in spring of 2014, with plans to produce a 3-D animated story of Phoenix.
At the Dec. 11 event, top storytellers will be selected by a panel of listeners and invited by The Arizona Republic to speak at an Arizona Storytellers Project event in 2014 when the community mural is installed in Downtown Phoenix.
Audience participants are invited to share three-minute personal stories connected to life in Phoenix, focused on one of the following Phoenix time periods.
Pre 1867 (ancient Phoenix) – Hohokam heritage and ancient desert life.
1867 to 1880 – Phoenix early pioneer years and the Wild West following the U.S. Civil War.
1881 to 1911 – Phoenix pre-statehood.
1912 to 1945 – Statehood and early Phoenix expansion.
1945 (post World War II) to 1960 – Phoenix economic growth beyond Five “Cs,” including manufacturing.
1960 to 1980 – Boom/bust years and growth away from Downtown Phoenix.
1980 to 2000 – Expansion of sports, culture and early Downtown Phoenix revitalization.
2001 to Today – Biosciences, higher education, more sports and major downtown revitalization.
Imagined Future – Storytellers share ideas for the future of Phoenix.
About Phoenix Phabulous Experience™
Phoenix Phabulous Experience™ is a spectacular, community storytelling experience in Downtown Phoenix founded by Dr. Carol Poore, showcasing Phoenix to the world with the ultimate goal of combining civic engagement, storytelling, and family-friendly entertainment. In attracting residents and visitors to enjoy and explore downtown, Phoenix Phabulous Experience™ forges community-based collaboration through its production.
About Phoenix Center for the Arts
The Phoenix Center for the Arts is the heartbeat of Phoenix’s arts community. Phoenix Center for the Arts produces Phoenix Festival of the Arts, to be held December 13-15, 2013 at Margaret Hance Park. Located in downtown Phoenix and directed by Joseph Benesh, the Center offers Phoenicians an exciting variety of performing and visual arts, both educationally and as a presenting organization. The Center was started in 1975 and run by the City of Phoenix until 2011.
About Hugo Medina, artist and Phoenix history mural curator
Hugo Medina is a renowned Phoenix-based artist and art instructor who specializes in mural storytelling. At Phoenix Festival for the Arts to be held December 13-15, 2013 at Margaret Hance Park, Hugo will coordinate the work of nine participating mural artists to create the first, comprehensive Phoenix history mural.
If you go:
Event: Storytelling showcase by Phoenix Phabulous Experience and Phoenix Center for the Arts
Date: Wednesday, December 11
Time: 6 – 8 pm
In just a few short days, the city sidewalks of CityScape will be decked in holiday style when the downtown Phoenix entertainment hub makes its annual transformation to a winter wonderland.
Thanksgiving weekend marks the beginning of the holiday festivities at CityScape, including their Alternative Black Friday featuring a Vintage Market with unique local shopping on November 29, and CitySkate, the glittering ice skating rink and light display set in the middle of Central Avenue from November 30 through January 14.
According to Jeff Moloznik, vice president of development for RED, CityScape’s real estate development company, downtown is a natural fit for events like this that showcase what a “creative, diverse, and entrepreneurial community Phoenix really is.”
With the sounds of ice skaters swirling around a frozen rink, shoppers finding that (sugar) plum gift that’s been dancing in their heads, and with the holidays’ greatest hits filling the air in downtown, CityScape will be buzzing like lights on the tree over the next six weeks.
Ready to bring on the downtown holiday cheer? Here’s what you need to know:
Alternative Black Friday – Vintage Market
Shop over 20 local vendors including Meat Market Vintage, Antique Sugar, Grow-Op and Annie Boomer Vintage for clothing, home decor, jewelry and lots more. Also score some sweet Black Friday deals at CityScape shops like Urban Outfitters, Lawless Denim & Co., Charming Charlie and Jos A. Bank.
Make your shopping experience a little merrier with mimosas, local beer and wine from Chloe’s Corner and live music and DJ’s or take a spin on the ice with half-price skating during a sneak-peek of CitySkate.
When: Friday, November 29, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: Patriots Square at CityScape
Take in the sights and sounds of the season while cruising around the ice. CitySkate’s official opening is set for Saturday, November 30, beginning at 3 p.m. with crafts for kids, a visit from Santa, and live music from the ASU Gospel Choir and The Phoenix Symphony.
At 6 p.m. that night, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and his family will be on hand for the official City of Phoenix tree lighting, followed by a figure skating performance and the official opening of the CitySkate rink..
Along with daily skating, the next six weeks are filled with activities to keep kids and adults in the holiday spirit. Look for a Monday through Friday Lunch and Skate special, Adult Skate every Saturday night with DJ’s and games and a special Disney on Ice performance on January 8.
And if you’re not quite ready to leave the festivities, Kimpton’s Hotel Palomar Phoenix is offering a “Stay & Skate” package that includes a special room rate from $129 per night, two tickets to CitySkate, and 20 percent off all spa services at Repose Salon & Spa.
NRG Energy is the presenting sponsor for CitySkate and a portion of the proceeds from the event will go to Republic Media’s Season for Sharing campaign.
Ice Rink Dates and Hours
Nov. 30 through Jan. 14
Monday – Friday: 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Saturday – Sunday: 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Christmas Eve: 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Christmas Day: 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Admission includes skate rental and unlimited skating all day
Kids and Adults – $12 each
Military – $6 each
Seniors – $10 each
Kids under 3 – $6 each
Students (with ID) – $10 each
Groups of 10 or more – $10 each
Tickets available at the rink or online through Ticketmaster
For more information about the CityScape Phoenix, visit www.cityscapephoenix.com.
Images provided by CityScape
Detainees, military families, scholars, interrogators, and refugees offer perspectives of the controversial United States Naval Base at Guantánamo — also known as GTMO or Gitmo — through the final weekend of an exhibition at Burton Barr Central Library.
The 13-panel Guantánamo Public Memory Project exhibit, arranged on the library’s second floor, scratches the surface of a historical debate that continues to resonate with current issues of borders, indefinite and preventive detention, and foreign relations.
Established as a Caribbean base on indefinite lease in 1903 despite Cuban protests, and later made notorious as the purgatorial site of incarceration for thousands of Haitians and Cubans, GTMO is now infamous as an internment camp for war prisoners.
The exhibit explores Guantánamo’s history, the many roles of the base, and its potential closure through video testimonies, interactive discussions and activities, and complementary films at Phoenix Art Museum (Dirty Wars on Nov. 24 and Zero Dark Thirty on Dec. 8). Related topics include the progression of detention from the Japanese concentration camps in Arizona to refugees and enemy combatants at GTMO.
Initiated by Columbia University, the Guantánamo Public Memory Project continues to grow through collaboration and support from universities, organizations, and individuals, and solicits new narratives via its website and its traveling exhibit.
Although the second-floor exhibit runs through Sunday, November 24, the companion first-floor @Central Gallery photo exhibition Cuba: Through Each Others Eyes [sic] continues through December 1, displaying the work of five photographers from a 2002 Phoenix-Havana exchange.
- Guantánamo Public Memory Project at Phoenix Public Library’s Burton Barr Central Library
- Witness to Guantánamo website
- Recent news about the potential closure of GTMO
- The American Civil Liberties Union’s “Guantánamo by the Numbers” infographic
- A brief history of GTMO from Paul Kramer in The New Yorker
- Further reading recommended by Phoenix Public Library staff
Here at DPJ, we’re all about sharing what we love. Beyond the stories that make us love downtown, we often come across things that catch our eye, tingle our senses or have us dancing in delight. “We Like…” turns a brief spotlight on the little treasures that make our day, with helpful links so you can share in the fun.
When I was young I thought that artists were born fully formed and able to accomplish amazing work right out of the gate. Later I came to recognize that what makes an artist truly great is all of the time spent learning technique, honing their craft, refining their vision, solving problems, and growing into their talent. Recently I stumbled across an example of that kind of evolution in the work of a remarkable local artist, Jordan Alexander Thomas.
I first came across his delicious robot constructions at Made art boutique a few years ago. I don’t really care one way or another about robots, but these charmed me immediately. Not only were they imaginative, cheerful and affordable, they also had magical little “secret compartments” built into their bodies. I am a sucker for a box, and the hidden boxes in these robot bodies had me leaping for joy.
Flash forward a couple of years to just a week or so ago, when I wandered into Practical Art one afternoon with a friend and discovered an entire exhibition of Thomas’s newest robots. In just a few short years his constructions have evolved from charming, slightly rough-hewn curiosities, to gorgeously wrought works of art. I kid you not, they are absolutely beautiful.
So, quick like a bunny, before the show comes down, trundle yourself off to Practical Art and spend a little time marveling at these fabulous constructions. They’d make a perfect gift, especially if you tuck a little surprise into the secret compartment. For those of you who don’t want to commit to a larger piece, Thomas has created smaller scale “busts,” as well as some sweet and wearable pins.
Jordan Alexander Thomas bills himself as a robot artist, which might lead some people to overlook his work. Don’t make that mistake. He has created unique, exquisite, finely detailed sculptures that just happen to be robots. When you slow down enough to look closely, you will be amazed and delighted. Your mind will be blown and Santa may just have to bring me one for Christmas!