In creating her latest exhibition -- "Convergent Memory?," a collaboration with poet John Cauthorn -- Lisa Takata merely hoped to advance the working relationship between visual artists and poets. What the exhibition became, and what it promises to become for visitors to the @Central Gallery at Burton Barr Library, is more than an exploration of artistic acquiescence. It's a poignant and sometimes painful commentary on Alzheimer's disease -- for patients and their loved ones.
Within the brushstrokes of Japanese calligraphy, Takata's cyanotype photographs -- a sunlight-induced chemical process that creates bright blue hues -- merge with Cauthorn's poems on the daily lives of those with Alzheimer's. "Convergent Memory?" aims not just for aesthetics, but also for healing.
Takata, a Japanese-American, enlisted the help of Cauthorn, a Native American who lives in Coos Bay, Oregon, after learning that Cauthorn has been a caregiver for Alzheimer's patients for several years. The poems displayed within the borders of Takata's calligraphy were penned while Cauthorn cared for ailing patients.
"John notes the time and date on his poems, and all of these were written at 1 or 2 a.m. while he was caring for [patients] bedside," Takata says. "Knowing that, reading some just made me cry."
The display likely will generate a similar reaction from its audience, which is why Takata created an interactive installation in which visitors can write comments about giving or receiving care for Alzheimer's patients. "You get the most amazing statements that people share with others," she says.
The exhibition hangs from Sunday, August 1, through August 30 at the gallery, 1221 North Central. For more information, call 602-256-3521. - Joe Watson
Pros of Prose
Creative Writing Conference
In the sweltering summer, the learned and well-read know that relief resides to the north, curled up with a good book. On Thursday, July 29, and Friday, July 30, the Hassayampa Institute for Creative Writing Conference in Prescott offers anecdotes as an antidote. Take in free readings from K.L. Cook, winner of the 2003 Prairie Schooner Prize for Fiction, and Latino poet Martn Espada, whose book of poetry, Imagine the Angels of Bread, won an American Book Award. On Friday, the conference closes at 2:15 p.m. with a reading from John Nichols, author of The Milagro Beanfield War. For more information, call 928-776-2276. - Joe Watson
Peeks and Valleys
Artistic "highs and lows" of Arizona
It's a downhill coast for Michael Collier and his exhibition "A View From the Mountains," which comes to a close Sunday, August 1, at the West Valley Art Museum, 17420 North Avenue of the Arts in Surprise. Taken from the Arizona Highways book The Mountains Know Arizona: Images of the Land and Stories of Its People, which he worked on with author Rose Houk by traveling more than 30,000 miles over two years, Collier's images of Mount Trumbull, the Kofas, the White Mountains and Four Peaks "explore [Arizona's] endless fascinating diversity." Ain't no mountain high enough to keep us from this show. Call 623-972-0635 or see www.wvam.org. - Joe Watson
Model car contest
Try fitting sub-woofers, custom bucket seats and neon-lighted gauges to boot inside an eight-inch model car. If youÕve got the talent, take your ride to the 13th annual Copperstate Model Car Championship Friday, July 30, through Sunday, August 1, at the Wigwam Resort, 300 Wigwam Boulevard in Litchfield Park. More than 500 entrants in three age groups (12 and under, 13 to 17, and 18 and older) will be judged by members of local model car club Moonlight Modelers on detail, paint, interior and best overall assembly. First- through fourth-place finishers in each class receive plaques. Entry fee for adults is $15 for up to 10 models, free for kids. For details see hometown.aol.com/csmcc13. - Joe Watson