DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
A unique public/private partnership is saving dozens of mature trees and bringing additional shade and beauty to the increasingly walkable Downtown core.
When a City of Phoenix-owned lot on Second Street between Taylor and Polk was tabbed as the future site of Arizona State University’s new law school, a place-holding parking lot was created. When the timetable for construction of the law school was accelerated, it left the future of the lot’s 116 trees in doubt.
DPP recently boxed 43 trees that are being stored at the Partnership’s new activation project, the SPACE_BETWEEN, until weather permits more favorable planting conditions. DPR is salvaging 32 Palo Verde and Mulga trees along Taylor and Polk streets that will remain in place as part of the finished law school project.
Many of these displaced mature trees, which would cost between $1000 and $2000 to buy new, will be transported this fall to vacant Downtown tree wells along Adams Street between Second Street and Second Avenue. Others will stay at the SPACE_BETWEEN, which has seen its site plan break ground and will debut this fall on First Street between Valley Youth Theatre and Taylor Place.
“This is a great opportunity for us to put more established trees within our tree wells to provide more shade canopy, which we desperately need Downtown,” said Ray Cabrera, the Partnership’s Streetscape Programs Manager. “These trees have had three years to grow and provide shade to those who walk near the lot. It’s only appropriate we try to transplant as many of these valuable public assets as we can.”
Additionally, the Partnership will be switching out many Palo Brea trees along Adams Street. Palo Brea trees have been phased out of that street’s tree palette because they don’t do well in the tree wells and their branches have the propensity to break, often causing property damage. Trees will also be planted in abandoned tree wells near the former Matador building.
This project has also spawned the Downtown Tree and Shade Task force. Led by the Partnership and Downtown Phoenix, Inc., the task force will focus on education, advocacy and demonstration projects that will help Downtown become the model for how the City and region’s tree and shade goals are met and exceeded.
Arizona State University is building a new Arizona Center for Law and Society in downtown Phoenix on the block between Polk and Taylor and First and Second Streets.
With Phoenix’s City Council approving $12 million from the Community Reinvestment Fund to help finance ASU’s project, last December Mayor Greg Stanton joined ASU President Michael M. Crow to announce the Center’s intended 260,000-square-foot layout.
Crow and Stanton described a $129 million, six-story complex with two levels of underground parking, reserving 25% of the city block for the option of future development. Facilities will include not only the ASU College of Law but also a public law library and civic outreach center, a bookstore, a café, a “Great Hall,” and offices for the ASU Alumni Law Group, a non-profit, privately financed teaching law firm.
Members of the downtown Phoenix community expressed concern over seven proposed variances. In response, ASU organized public forums with participants from the Downtown Phoenix Partnership, the Thunderdome Neighborhood Association for NonAuto Mobility, and the Roosevelt Action Alliance. One meeting brought together Downtown Voices Coalition with representatives from the city, ASU, and the two design firms involved with this project (New York’s Ennead Architects and Phoenix’s Jones Studio). Discussion covered the project’s compatibility with the foot- and bike-friendly improvements made to First Street last October, which included tree plantings, parklets, and revised parking.
“First Street is developed as a pedestrian corridor,” maintained the Center’s zoning narrative, “accommodating pocket parks/pedestrian plazas/places of respite at the north and south ends of the site.”
While two of the variances reduced frontage on Taylor, First Street, and Polk, allowing more room to build, the narrative suggested that the shaded public areas on Polk and the mid-block cut-through will actually encourage pedestrian activity.
“All of these [variances] are consistent with a good urban building that invites the community and the campus onto the site, and with good planning by the City for greater density on the site over time,” says ASU Senior Vice President and University Planner Richard Stanley.
“Within the context of the campus and the context of the downtown,” Stanley continues, “it fulfills the intent and spirit…for that…district in terms of its ‘urban-ness,’ its walkability, and its general respect for downtown ambiance.”
Regarding foot-traffic concerns, “The pedestrian walkway along First Street is actually enhanced as a result of the building being there,” he says. “The landscaping and the trees that are in place along the edge of the parking lot now will be maintained, and then in addition to that we would build a berm on the building side of the sidewalk and put some benches in…and have some benches that would be integral into the berm itself.”
“The façade that will be along First Street starting from the south is an extremely open space…something which I think is visually quite active as you walk along the street,” Stanley elaborates. “And then at the northern corner of the building, on Taylor Street, there’s a seating area…and what some people have referred to as sort of a Speaker’s Corner.”
He concludes, “So I think there’s a lot of reasons why someone might choose…an equal choice of walking down First Street to get to Taylor or walking through the building.”
While the community appealed the variances through the standard process, the original approval of the design was ultimately upheld.
Initial discussion within ASU’s administration began around 2009, and the construction schedule spans two years. “I think it’s been a very good process,” he says, “a continuation of the partnership with the city…. It’s a big project both financially and programmatically for us, and so we needed to be very careful that we were planning it properly and that we had the financial wherewithal to be able to handle it.”
Stanley says that ASU’s endeavor may break ground as early as June, and the Center is scheduled to open for the fall term of 2016. “We’re just getting to the point of having the finalized bid prices in on the project,” he explains, “and that’s the point in the standard process at the universities that we take the project to the Board of Regents…we go back to them to have the final approval to proceed with the actual spending of the money.” Stanley adds, “We won’t be bringing them any surprises.”
“I will certainly be following up with…the groups that represent downtown neighborhoods,” said Stanley. “I’ll offer up regular progress reports on the building…. If there’s any dramatic change in the nature of the plans as we go along…we’d come back and talk to them about that.”
It’s hard to imagine how exciting it must have been to attend the 1913 premiere of Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, which ended in a riot because of the disturbing rhythms and incendiary musical patterns. Even Beethoven – now considered a staid staple of classical music – was once regarded as somewhat revolutionary in his harmonies.
A concert titled Opus II features premiere performances of works by members of the Arizona State University Society of Composers, Inc. (SCI) in the informal, inviting setting of Phoenix Art Museum, offering the chance to perhaps hear from a modern-day Stravinsky or Beethoven.
“The partnership with the museum is great,” says SCI president Collette Sipho Mabingani, “because…we have the same mission: exposing the public to this music that sometimes is not accessible.” Mabingani was born and raised in South Africa and obtained degrees at Grand Valley State University and Central Michigan University before earning his doctorate in music composition at ASU.
“I started with [percussion] performance,” he says, “and…you have to improvise, so you get this idea of creating…and I got tired of playing other people’s music. I love experimenting with new kinds of music, so I still try and discover something I’ve never heard before.” At Opus II Mabingani will perform his own composition, a solo autobiographical work using rhythms reflecting his personal journey from South Africa to the West, including Latin cadences.
Other composers will use various configurations of a “Pierrot ensemble” of flute, clarinet, violin, cello, percussion, and piano — named after the instrumentation used by Arnold Schoenberg in his landmark 1912 melodrama Pierrot Lunaire (Moonstruck Pierrot) –- plus saxophone.
“Even though it’s been around for over a hundred years,” says SCI public relations manager Elliot Sneider of the ensemble, “there’s something always new about it, for some reason. There’s a lot you can do with it, so it’s kind of fun to work with.” Shortly after Sneider wrote his dissertation analyzing blues in the music of Aaron Copland, Maurice Ravel, and George Gershwin, he composed Big Hands Blues for piano, then arranged it for Opus II.
“I…was drawn to jazz when I was very young,” he says, “…this pull to jazz composers like Charles Mingus and Thelonious Monk, and the idea of having these structures that…allow for improvisation.”
Sneider studied composition at New England Conservatory of Music and New York University, then received his DMA from ASU, where he was initially intrigued by the work of professor James DeMars. “I have a jazz background,” says Sneider, “so for me there’s always been a pull to accept other cultural music and ‘how do I bring things together?’” He continues, “I found he’s someone who has…made a career dealing with those issues, and so that’s why I wanted to study here.”
“He [DeMars] composes in the same way that I do, which is what we call ‘intercultural music’,” says Mabingani, who also found his advisor’s compositions appealing. “But he uses Native American music with Western music, combines it and makes it his own…so I just fell in love with the way he writes.”
“I think all of the composers at the school really have something unique to bring,” adds Sneider. “Usually you choose your composer and you work only with that person, but here [at ASU] they not only encourage but require you to…work with all of them for a much broader experience.”
“There’s no one dogma, or one style,” says Israeli composer and Doctor of Musical Arts student Gil Dori. “I really got into the music of [ASU professor] Glenn Hackbarth — he’s…into the music on the electronics side, and that’s what I’m interested in doing too.” Dori came to ASU for his master’s degree after graduating from Haifa University, which he describes as “really heavy on composition…the best composers in Israel.”
For Opus II, Dori wrote a work called Shevarim; “in Hebrew it means ‘fragments’ or ‘shards,’ he explains, “but it’s also one of the calls of the shofar [ram’s horn], and really that’s a work based on an old Eastern European Jewish folk tune…it just slowly emerges through this texture.” The piece is a duet for saxophone and bass clarinet, and Dori enjoyed integrating sound effects like tongue smacks, clicks, and breathing through the instruments.
Visit the Phoenix Art Museum this afternoon to hear these new works by Mabingani, Sneider, Dori, and other ASU composers — it’s free with museum admission, and the program promises previously unexplored treasures.
If you go:
When: Sunday, May 11 at 1PM
Where: Phoenix Art Museum
Cost: Free with museum admission
UPDATE (5/11/14 12:47PM): Here’s a live streaming link if you can’t attend the performance: http://ustre.am/1dGp0
DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
Arizona State University is joining with the Valley of the Sun YMCA to host the 45th edition of the Grand Canyon State’s oldest running event – the Y Race Phoenix.
The Y Race Phoenix half marathon, 5K race and 1-mile fun run on Sunday, Oct. 20, will be held at South Mountain Park, the nation’s largest municipal park, with rolling out-and-back routes featuring spectacular views of the desert landscape and Phoenix skyline.
ASU and the YMCA also will be hosting the inaugural Y Race Phoenix Fitness Festival on Friday, Oct. 18, in Civic Space Park, the city park nestled between the Lincoln Family Downtown YMCA on 1st Avenue and the ASU Downtown Phoenix Campus on Central Avenue.
“The Y and ASU – two of the Valley’s oldest institutions – share a passion and deep commitment to promoting fitness and healthy living among all Arizonans,” said George Scobas, president and CEO of the Valley of the Sun YMCA. “Combining our strengths will greatly enhance the Y Race and give everyone the opportunity to learn more about healthy living, exercise and nutrition at the Y Race Fitness Festival.”
For the first time, this year’s Y Race Phoenix will give runners the opportunity to create their own teams. “We are excited to see some great competitions among the various ASU schools and colleges, students and alumni, and faculty and staff, as well as teams from the 14 Valley Y locations and other local companies, schools and non-profits,” said ASU Downtown Campus Vice Provost Christopher Callahan.
The Y Race will feature a Kids Zone with a rock climbing wall, face painting, arts and crafts, and YMCA-certified child care professionals to watch children while their parents run the half marathon or the 5K race.
The top male and female finishers in each group will receive awards in both races, and every half marathon finisher will receive a medal commemorating their 13.1-mile run. Vendors will be on hand at South Mountain Park to provide runners with complimentary drinks, snacks and massages. Free parking is available at therace site.
Meanwhile, the Y Race Fitness Festival, to be held 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. two days earlier at Civic Space Park, will feature trainers, experts, instructors and researchers from the YMCA and ASU’s College of Health Solutions and College of Nursing and Health Innovation who will offer interactive exercise and wellness demonstrations, health screenings and talks about health, fitness and nutrition.
“Health goes beyond the physical experience to encompass cognitive, emotional, behavioral, social, spiritual and many other aspects of our shared human experience,” said Teri Pipe, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Innovation. “Health is deeply personal, yet it is also strongly influenced by our friends, families and communities. The Fitness Festival and the Y Race are wonderful opportunities to get together as a community to celebrate and strengthen the resources we have pertaining to health- personally and as a community – and have some fun at the same time!”
The Y Race Fitness Fest is free and open to the public. Y Race registration is available at: http://yracephoenix.com.
The Y Race Phoenix and Fitness Fest represent the latest collaboration between the Valley of the Sun YMCA and ASU. The Lincoln Family Downtown YMCA has served as the health and recreation center for Downtown Phoenix Campus students, faculty and staff since the campus opened in 2006. Next month ASU and the Y will unveil a new $24.1million, 73,800-square foot Downtown Campus Sun Devil Fitness Center, which will be part of the adjacent Lincoln Family YMCA.
Beset by financial demands, college students have become increasingly more inventive in devising ways to fund their educations. Arizona State University undergraduate Chaz Salazar has been literally playing his way through school.
At 21, Salazar is a success story from Rosie’s House, the downtown Phoenix-based non-profit providing lessons and instruments for young musicians. “I started to play [the flute] in fifth grade when I was at Valley View Elementary School,” says Salazar. “In eighth grade…my band director, Mr. [Edward] Gaona, told me about Rosie’s House and said, ‘…The next step to being a musician is to take private lessons.’”
Thanks to a recommendation from Phoenix Symphony flutist Joe Corral, Salazar was able to begin lessons with longtime Rosie’s House teacher Judy Conrad. “My first lesson was so packed and filled with things I didn’t even know,” exclaims Salazar, “…so much…and she told me about long tones and I started to do them and my sound just bloomed.” He smiles and continues, “It’s been amazing — Judy is like a grandma to me. She’s taught me so much…I owe most of it to her.”
Salazar went on to win a spot on the National Public Radio show From the Top, garnering a Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award and performing on several broadcasts. From that experience he was inspired to coach weekly sectionals and give private lessons to students at Valley View, his alma mater.
Now Salazar studies with Elizabeth Buck at Arizona State University’s School of Music, although he’s also worked with another Phoenix Symphony flutist, Brian Gordon. “He just gave me free private lessons out of the kindness of his heart,” says Salazar of Gordon. “He was very generous to me…and I still go to study with him every now and then.”
Salazar has a tangible affinity for his instrument. “I thought [of] the flute as being of a very pure sound, with a pure tone,” he explains, “and I wanted to be the one making that sound.” Today he performs on a high-quality Altus flute given to him by Arizona Musicfest during his freshman year of high school. “The flute really sings,” says Salazar.
The young flutist’s infectious enthusiasm, natural talent, and innate good manners have won him loyal supporters like Don Morse, Minister of Worship and the Arts at Central United Methodist Church, which hosted Salazar’s benefit recital in early June. Salazar raised funds to participate in two summer festivals: Canada’s Pacific Region International Summer Music Academy (PRISMA), and the Interharmony International Music Festival in Italy. “They’re very intensive, so we get high doses of information as far as our learning…very concentrated doses,” says Salazar.
His other patrons include Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust president and CEO Harriet Ivey, who matches funds earned by Salazar through his fundraising efforts and his part-time job at Target. Another source of encouragement is businessman James Hagger, who lives in the Phoenix retirement community where Salazar’s mother works as a caregiver. “He’s one of my big supporters as well,” says the flutist, “both financially and emotionally. Salazar’s father is a server assistant at Aunt Chilada’s, a restaurant at the Arizona Grand Resort, and neither he nor Chaz’s mother are musical. “Even though my dad knew nothing about this kind of music,” adds Salazar, “…he heard me play and that’s when it sold him.”
Salazar began performing benefit recitals as a high school sophomore, raising money to pay for school while gaining experience onstage and expanding his repertoire. “My idea is to get a good, small audience and really to move them,” he says, and that’s just what happened at his June recital with pianist Snezana Krstic, which was one of the best of the season.
The program opened with Philippe Gaubert’s rich but playful Fantasie, and continued with a brilliant, wide-ranging new sonata by ASU graduate Eric Hessel. “I gave the world premiere of the piece…and loved it so much that I programmed it on my recital,” declares Salazar.
He continued with the unaccompanied Syrinx by Claude Debussy, a haunting, unforgettable work, and ended with the vigorous Fantasie on themes from Der Freischutz by Paul Taffanel. “The piece is based on Weber’s opera by the same name, which loosely translates to The Free Shooter,” says Salazar. “There are very fast variations in the middle section that are quite virtuosic…it’s definitely a barn-burner.”
Keep an eye out for Salazar’s future performances — he’s an active member of Buck’s flute studio at ASU, and he occasionally offers free community recitals that you won’t want to miss as you follow his progress through the world of professional classical music.