Dear Downtown Phoenix,
What a difference a decade can make! It has been incredibly gratifying to see the work of so many people that has resulted in today’s vibrant downtown. I have worked at Phoenix Art Museum at the northeast corner of Central Avenue and McDowell Road for the past forty years, and my wife Linda and I are residents of the Willo historic neighborhood so we’ve had an additional ringside seat to watch it all happen. We at the museum will continue to invest in helping further the success of our arts community and neighborhoods. When I look back on the growth that Phoenix Art Museum has experienced since I started here in my twenties – in physically expanding from the original 72,000 square feet to the 285,000 square feet it is today, as well as expanding our collection, our budget, and our reputation both nationally and internationally – it is tremendously satisfying.
There have been many milestones during my years at the museum. For me the most critical may have been with the City of Phoenix Bond Election in 1988. That was the launching point for the museum’s growth, and transformative to the entire arts community of Phoenix. I’m proud to have played a key role in that election and to have served as Treasurer for two City of Phoenix Bond Programs. Funds from the bond allowed Phoenix Art Museum to create and expand the Steele Gallery, Cummings Great Hall, JP Morgan Chase Lobby, Harnett Gallery and Whiteman Hall and to prepare for our first “blockbuster” exhibition, Splendors of Ancient Egypt in 1998, that attracted sellout crowds. We followed with other hit exhibitions including Monet at Giverny in 1999 and Secret World of The Forbidden City: Splendors from China’s Imperial Palace in 2001.
Five years later, after a $41.2 million campaign that included another cultural bond program, the museum completed our 18-year facilities master plan by opening the Greenbaum Lobby, Dorrance Sculpture Garden and the Marshall, Hendler, Anderman, Marcus, Marley, Brown, Norton and Men’s Art Council galleries in the Katz Wing for Modern Art. Shortly thereafter we opened Rembrandt and the Golden Age of Dutch Art: Treasures from the Rijksmusen, Amsterdam. At that time our acclaimed model program with The University of Arizona’s Center for Creative Photography was unveiled.
As you may have heard, in April 2014 I announced my intention to retire from my position as The Sybil Harrington Director after forty years of working at Phoenix Art Museum. Combined with the fact that I turned 65 this year and Linda and I have our eighth grandchild on the way, I decided it was the right time. As a result, the museum’s board of trustees has initiated a search process to find my replacement that I hope will take the reins of Phoenix Art Museum for the next generation. I plan to remain in my current role as long as necessary to ensure a deliberate, seamless succession process and a smooth transition.
Our staff and trustee leadership has always firmly believed in the museum’s mission: bringing great art from all over the world to the people of Arizona to enrich their lives and communities. Our board believes that Phoenix Art Museum should be a leader in the community and that philosophy has allowed me latitude, for which I am most grateful. I have had the privilege of working with many dedicated volunteers, great trustees and incredible staff members who have always worked together for the good of the museum. Many of those people have taught me a lot. With Linda’s support and that of our family we have enjoyed knowing and working with so many people.
I am most proud of how Phoenix Art Museum has served the community beyond our walls including the arts community and neighborhoods of downtown Phoenix. I am particularly grateful for the support I have received from museum members, the community, and many colleagues, and I look forward to watching as the museum continues adding to the cultural quality, enjoyment, and way of life in Arizona.
Phoenix Art Museum is moving forward with a great exhibition schedule planned through 2016, a quality staff, enthusiastic support organizations, and a strong Board of Trustees. It is crucial the museum keep its momentum strong to remain one of the top amenities of downtown Phoenix and specifically the arts community of our wonderful city.
With sincere thanks,
James K. Ballinger,
The Sybil Harrington Director
Join Downtown Phoenix business, community, and city leaders on October 21 for RadiatePHX, the free downtown networking event that invites you to “connect to the core” on the third Tuesday of each month.
Presented by Downtown Phoenix, Inc., Downtown Phoenix Journal, and Phoenix Community Alliance, RadiatePHX provides a forum to learn about downtown opportunities, issues, and solutions; receive key updates from guest speakers on what’s happening downtown; and discover how individuals and businesses can contribute to building the downtown we want.
This month’s RadiatePHX invites you to “get in the game” by getting involved in downtown. Coinciding with the cooler weather and the launch of the new Phoenix Suns season, brief announcements about new downtown-based health and fitness initiatives, FitPHX and Meet Me Downtown, will be shared.
The event is hosted by the Phoenix Suns and US Airways Center in the Verve Lounge, a spacious, comfortable venue with a bird’s eye view of the arena. Complimentary food and drink is provided by Levy Restaurants. Free parking in the US Airways garage is available.
Guest speakers are Phoenix District 5 City Councilman Daniel Valenzuela; Suns President Jason Rowley; and Ralph Marchetta, Senior Vice President, Ticket Operations & General Manager of Sports & Entertainment Services for US Airways Center.
What: RadiatePHX – a monthly networking event
When: Tuesday, October 21, 5 to 7 p.m.
Where: Verve Lounge at US Airways Center, 201 E. Jefferson St.
Cost: FREE, with complimentary bites and bar
Parking: Complimentary parking in US Airways Center garage (enter from 1st Street)
RSVP: Click here to RSVP
DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
The Yard Gets its Groove on to Host Second Annual YardStock Music Festival
Mid-year music fest hosted in partnership with McDowell Mountain Music Festival
You don’t have to wait until March to take in McDowell Mountain Music Festival’s “Party for the People” because The Yard in Phoenix is offering music lovers an exclusive preview at its second annual YardStock Music Festival from 3:30 – 11 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 18.
The free festival, which is being hosted by The Yard’s Culinary Dropout and Little Cleo’s Seafood Legend in partnership with McDowell Mountain Music Festival and Deschutes Brewery, will feature one and a half-hour sets from some of the Valley’s best local artists.
The lineup is as follow:
- 3:30 – 5 p.m. Black Bottom Lighters
- 5 – 6:30 p.m. The Hourglass Cats
- 6:30 – 8 p.m. Bryan Hawkesworth & Sydney Collins
- 8 – 9:30 p.m. Gus Campbell
- 9:30 – 11 p.m. Carvin Jones
A portion of proceeds from each Deschutes beer sold during the event will be donated to McDowell Mountain Music Festival, the only 100 percent non-profit music festival in Arizona, and ultimately its designated charities including Phoenix Children’s Hospital Foundation and UMOM New Day Center.
Guests can enjoy the music while dining at Culinary Dropout or Little Cleo’s, and take part in backyard-style games including cornhole, ping-pong, and shuffleboard. The Yard encourages locals to pedal their way into YardStock and utilize one of the provided bike racks.
The Yard is located at 5632 N. Seventh St. in Phoenix. Visit www.foxrc.com or call 602-680-4040 for more details.
Images courtesy of Fox Restaurant Concepts.
While our changing leaves may not be as colorful as back east, Phoenix has one unique signifier of fall that comes back every year, right on time: PoeFest.
Every October, suspense fans from around the Valley gather to hear classic Edgar Allan Poe stories recited in decidedly dramatic fashion by local actors at the storied, and probably haunted, Hotel San Carlos. This year marks the sixth showing of the local event, which features dramatic recitations of classic Edgar Allan Poe stories such as “The Raven,” “The Red Mask of Death,” and the “Tell-Tale Heart.”
Perfect for Poe fans, literature nerds, and adventurous first dates, PoeFest is the creepy brainchild of the Arizona Curriculum Theater (ACT), an educational charity that works in Valley schools to help students learn in new ways with the help of performance. From literature and history, to more traditionally staid subjects like math and science, ACT brings new life to standard subjects and attempts to make education more fun.
James David Porter, the founder and executive director of ACT, said the idea for PoeFest came about thanks to some very disappointing experiences in run-of-the-mill haunted houses.
“I longed for something different in Halloween entertainment. And the idea for PoeFest was born out of that disappointment. I had always loved the works of Edgar Allan Poe, and I had always wanted to perform “The Tell-Tale Heart” on stage,” Porter said.
The first run in October 2009 debuted in a small art space in the Grand Avenue arts district, provided by friends of Porter’s. The first show featured two classic stories, one performed by Porter himself, and a quaint six people in the audience.
“We did four shows over two weekends for the run, and by closing night we were turning people away. The show became very popular very quickly.”
By the third year, the show had outgrown the small space, so Porter began the search for a new venue: specifically, a haunted venue. He soon came across the many stories behind Downtown Phoenix’s Hotel San Carlos.
“At that historic hotel you can walk with all kinds of ghosts from the past – taking up the same space once occupied by Marilyn Monroe, Mae West, Spencer Tracy, Jean Harlow, Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Gary Cooper, Humphrey Bogart, and Gene Autry,” said Porter.
“The history seeps from the walls … It sounded like a perfect place for PoeFest. So I called up the hotel, had a meeting with General Manager Angela Hentz, and she agreed to let us try out one weekend inside the Ghost Lounge. It was such a success that we moved into the Hotel for our entire run the following year.”
After six years, Porter says his nightly audiences are a mixture of diehard fans and newbies looking for a thrill.
“PoeFest is also a fundraiser for our company, and I think our audience really digs that they are not just getting some great Halloween theater, but they are also helping our literacy and arts programs in Arizona schools and libraries. Our audiences care deeply about keeping the arts in schools, and so it’s a win-win for them.”
Phoenix resident and first-time PoeFest attendee Danielle Stephens said she found the format unconventional, but completely enthralling.
“PoeFest was a refreshing look at our favorite stories written by Edgar Allan Poe. I loved it!”
Porter started ACT after his work with the Southwest Shakespeare Company and taking part in their education outreach program in area schools.
“We just thought, ‘Why stop at Shakespeare? Why not do Poe, Emily Dickinson, historical reenactments, interactive story-telling, teach math through music, science through dance?’ I read a report that said the arts had declined more than 40 percent in Arizona schools, and there was all of this emphasis on curriculum – and so it was natural to find a way to connect the arts and the curriculum together. Why not use the arts to teach the curriculum? Two birds with one stone, as they say.”
ACT has brought the arts to more than 100 Arizona schools and libraries from Bisbee to Flagstaff, and have matched private donors to 37 schools in underserved or underfunded areas, schools that could not ordinarily afford professional artists or who have lost their funding for arts programs.
“What better way to learn about the Salem witchcraft trials, for instance, than to take part in a historically-accurate reenactment of the examination of an accused Salem witch?”
Porter hopes to continue traveling to schools across the valley and developing their programs to better serve teachers in classrooms. By continuing PoeFest, they are able to reach out to a new audience, share the goals of ACT, and inspire community support for their efforts.
In PoeFest, however, Porter hopes to finally provide a cure for the common haunted house by creating an Edgar Allan Poe-themed haunted asylum, in which each room features a different story or poem.
“Poe wrote many of his stories and poems as first person narratives, so the transition to the stage was quite natural. His stories sound like the confessions of the kinds of madmen that haunt my own nightmares. I don’t think there could be a more perfect marriage between the stage and classic literature.”
If you go:
Where: The Ghost Lounge at the Hotel San Carlos, 202 N. Central, downtown Phoenix
When: October 17 & 18, 24 & 25, Oct 31* & Nov 1 at 8:00 – 9:30 p.m.
Tickets: (for each individual night) $25 – general admission; $20 – students, seniors and military; Festival passes (good for all dates) are available for $38. Buy online.
*Special performances of “The Raven” will be presented on Halloween Night, Oct. 31, 2014 every twenty minutes from 7:30pm-9:30pm at Rosson House Museum, 113 N 6th St Phoenix, AZ. No seating is available, standing room only. (“The Raven” explores adult themes. This show is not recommended for very young children. Parental discretion is advised. Children under 13 will not be admitted without an adult.)
The Annual Grand Avenue Festival is a well-loved community event filled with interactive arts projects, vendors, music, food and more. This year, the Sixth Annual Grand Avenue Festival is teaming up with the Phoenix Annual Parade of the Arts (P.A.P.A.) to create a full day of participatory fun for the whole family.
The festival features a variety of ways for the community to get involved as participants, artists, vendors, or sponsors (DPJ is one). Take a minute to check out the options below and join the fun!
Festival Sponsorship Opportunities
Your contribution will help replace 35 missing trees along lower Grand Ave. with 24″ boxed trees that are large and sturdy enough to withstand the highly trafficked right of way along Grand. Your name will be listed in the Tree Sponsor Thank You section of festival program.
Make your tax deductible donation to Phoenix Community Alliance, Attn: JoMarie McDonald, 234 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85004 (note that it’s for the Grand Ave Tree Program).
Overall Festival Sponsor – packages from $100 to $2,500.
For more information on all festival sponsorships, contact Beatrice Moore at 602-391-4016, or email@example.com.
Grand P.A.P.A. Sponsor – packages from $5 to $1,000. Learn more.
NOTE: deadline for all sponsorships: October 15 (for inclusion in the festival program)
Be a Vendor at the Grand Avenue Craft Fair
A popular element of the Grand Avenue Festival is the Grand Avenue Craft Fair (formerly Coffee, Cookies & Crafts). Craft fair hours will be from 11:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Bragg’s Pie Factory parking lot. Spaces are $25 for a 10′ x 10′ space. Vendors must provide their own tables, chairs and tents. Electricity is not available. Vendors are required to have AZ and City of Phoenix sales permits and are responsible for collecting their own sales tax. Set-up starts at 9 am, teardown at 5:30 pm.
To apply to be a vendor, please email the following information to GrandAvenueCraftFair@gmail.com:
- Your name
- Your company name
- Description of what you make
- Link to your website or online store
VENDOR APPLICATION DEADLINE: OCTOBER 15 (for inclusion in the festival program)
OTHER WAYS TO PARTICIPATE
Recycle Fashion Show – learn more here.
Hanging Garden and/or Woven Fence – Art made primarily from trash and recycled materials will be displayed from tree branches, wrapped trunks, woven on fences and other unexpected locations. Create your entry at home or in the studio and hang it morning of the event. A location will be assigned to you after you register. For more information, contact Beatrice: 602-391-4016 firstname.lastname@example.org
Politi-Art – Make art from recycled political signs that will be displayed on the fence at Bragg’s Pie Factory during the fest. Mixed Media welcome! For more information, contact Beatrice: 602-391-4016 email@example.com
Parade Costume Contest – Members of the community do not have to register to march, however, participants who choose to enter the contests must check in by 5:00pm for judging. Winners in 5 categories: best float, best group, best bike, best costume and best “cute” (typically kids and pets) will receive prizes designed by local artists. Floats and participants must be non-motorized (bicycle, skateboards and other human powered vehicles are acceptable). PAPA takes pride in its “non motorized floats” policy to keep the parade ecologically friendly. Learn more.
See you on Grand!
Poster art by Carolyn Watson Dubisch
Logo design by Ismael Duenas
Photography by Stephen G. Dreiseszun/Viewpoint Photographers