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68: Claire Carter

When we last put the spotlight on 100 creative forces in Phoenix, it was no secret there were more than 100 individuals who were making waves in the local arts community. So as we count down to our annual Best of Phoenix issue, we're profiling 100 more. Welcome (back) to 100 Creatives

68: Claire Carter
Claire Carter, photograph by Aric Mei

Claire Carter is the Assistant Curator at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. She's originally from the Midwest (Indiana to be specific) but moved to Phoenix in 2003 for Teach For America. She moved again to complete her MA in Curatorial Studies/Contemporary Art History and when she returned from London, SMoCA had an opening in curatorial.

"I love my job -- working with artists, traveling to see art, researching, writing, working with my dedicated colleagues," she says. "I am an educator at heart; if I could, I'd ask visitors to bring their curiosity, but check their inhibitions at the front desk."

68: Claire Carter
Rewind Remix Replay at SMoCA

I came to Phoenix with . . . boxes of books, my laptop, CDs (yes, it was that long ago) and summer clothes--I didn't realize Arizona's winter was cold enough to require a coat.

I curate contemporary art . . . because I love art. I love politics. I love culture. I love music, dance, theater, writing. And I love to push myself right into the middle of it all, learn with the artists, dig in, discover. If I'm doing my job properly, my creativity lies in helping artists share their unique voice with the world. Every new exhibition is like writing a new thesis--and I'm a glutton for tackling subjects I know nothing about. (For a perfect example visit SMoCA and get to know the indie-classical composition and art installation I commissioned from the artist collaborative New Catalogue and the young composer Judd Greenstein.)

I'm most productive when . . . I am buried under a crushing deadline. I'm usually sitting on the floor surrounded by papers and books with a cache of pencils within reach.

My inspiration wall is full of . . . sketches, concert and performance tickets, calendars, draft floorplans, poems, NASA imagery and museum flyers for SMoCA programming.

I've learned the most from . . . artists--asking questions, observing them while they work, poking around their studios, opening drawers and sifting through their supplies, prints, notebooks.

Good work should always . . . come at the expense of sanity. No, just kidding, although sometimes I feel like that is my lot in life.

68: Claire Carter
Reimagining the West at SMoCA

The Phoenix creative scene could use . . . more field trips. We live in a megalopolis -- it shouldn't be a surprise we need to travel beyond our little fiefdoms. I admit guilt as well -- I can go weeks migrating only between Scottsdale, Arcadia and downtown Phoenix. Back to field trips. Maybe it escapes us, maybe we are jaded but there are a lot of ways to get a culture fix. Even as an art curator, I need to find experiences outside of the visual realm.

Have you been on one of Mod Phx's or the AIA's stellar architecture tours? Checked out any of the independent film festivals like the nomadic No Festival Required? Phoenix Chorale holds free open rehearsals a few times a season. In September Ballet Arizona gives six free performances around the valley and all you have to do is sit in the park under the stars. Trinity Cathedral holds tranquil a cappella evensong every Sunday evening. Every month ASU Astronomy graduate students hold an open house, share their telescope and give celestial tours. If you want to get 10 degrees cooler, road trip it. In one long weekend to Tucson you can experience Biosphere 2, the Titan Missile Silo, San Xavier del Bac Mission and take a breathtaking midnight tour of the Kitt Peak observatory. For contemporary art, check out MOCA Tucson. Head north of Phoenix and visit artist Paolo Soleri's amazing architectural experiment, Arcosanti. Spend the night in an artist-designed guestroom for $30; fall asleep looking at the stars and wake up with a beautiful canyon view.

Lastly, I want to give a shout-out to the Valley institutions we know and appreciate-- ASU Art Museum, Changing Hands, Crescent Ballroom, FilmBar, Phoenix Art Museum, Rhythm Room, Roosevelt Row, Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, SMoCA (of course I would say that), Trunk Space, among many others. They know Phoenix always has room for more culture and they are working hard to share it with us.

The Creatives, so far ... (And while you're here, check out 100 Tastemakers on Chow Bella.)

100:Lara Plecas 99. Isaac Caruso 98. Brandon Gore 97. Kelsey Dake 96. Hector Ruiz 95. Caroline Battle 94: Jennifer Campbell 93. Jeff Chabot 92. Tiffiney Yazzie 91. Daniel Germani 90. Irma Sanchez 89. Daniel m. Davis 88. Kirstin Van Cleef 87. Emmett Potter 86. Sarah Hurwitz 85. Christine Cassano 84. Fred Tieken 83. Lindsay Kinkade 82. Ruben Galicia 81. Robert Uribe 80. Heidi Abrahamson 79. Josephine Davis 78. Travis Ladue 77. Taz Loomans 76. Mikey Jackson 75. Alex Empty 74. Joe Ray 73. Carol Roque 72. Daniel Funkhouser 71. Carla Chavarria 70. Hugo Medina 69. Cavin Costello

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