Artist Melany Terranova Always Takes Visitors to The Farm at South Mountain

Artist Melany Terranova
Artist Melany Terranova
Katie Walter

Best of Phoenix hits newsstands Sept. 26. In conjunction with this year's Vintage Phoenix theme, New Times is collaborating with R. Pela Contemporary Art to present "Hot Plate!" It's an exhibition of one-of-a-kind, Phoenix-inspired commemorative plates made by local artists. Leading up to the show's Oct. 4 opening, we're profiling each of the contributing artists and visiting their studios. Today: Melany Terranova.

Painter and mixed media artist Melany Terranova is known for her vigorous exploration of color and thought-provoking paintings. Though she is largely self taught, she has studied at the New York Studio School, Scottsdale Community College, and the Scottsdale Artist's School. When she returned to Phoenix from New York a few years ago, she was afraid she would miss the big city. Instead, Terranova says she came back with a renewed appreciation for her home state. This appreciation was only fueled by the developments being made in the arts community.

See also: Hot Plate! Best of Phoenix Commemorative Collaboration Opens Oct. 4 at R. Pela Gallery

Terranova's studio
Terranova's studio
Katie Walter

Over the years, Terranova has spent much of her time in the Scottsdale and Phoenix art communities. She comes from a long line of artistically talented family members. Her earliest memories of creating art come from when she was a child, coloring Easter eggs with her family using a wax and dye process.

Terranova has published two children's books and displayed her art in a variety of locations from New York City to Tempe.

What is your earliest memory of Phoenix? July, 1981. My husband Al was considering relocating his business to Phoenix from the tri-state area. He flew me into Phoenix with our son Greg. The moment I got off the plane, I felt I had "come home." We stayed at Pointe at South Mountain. That did it. How could we not fall in love with the colors of the sky at 4:30 AM, the hospitality at the Pointe and everything else Arizona offered!! It is hard to imagine 32 years have passed so quickly.  

What inspired your plate for this show? The Farm at South Mountain, located at 32nd Street and Southern. What a historic treasure the farm is and it is still evolving! To think we have a 12-acre working organic farm in the middle of Phoenix, that invites us back to our authentic selves through the earth. I got to know The Farm well through an art residency I had at the Artist's Studio at The Farm several years ago. If you have not been there, go for a picnic or enjoy any of the three restaurants located there.

For years I had heard about The Farm. It was only because guests visited from the East coast that I said to myself, "What is opposite NYC?" and The Farm came to mind. Now I bring all my guests there for the experience. And, they love it!

I hope my plate motivates other Phoenicians' to visit and experience something wonderful that is historic, yet living!

Phoenix needs more: People places for gatherings. You can never have enough sense of community/belonging! That is why The Farm "speaks to me."

Phoenix needs less: Heat! Five months of high temperatures gets to be a bit much. I begin to get cranky in September.

What is on your plate this fall? Intensive studio work. Artistically, I have been undergoing a huge transition so I am eager to produce the new work.

See Terranova's work when "Hot Plate!" opens October 4 at R. Pela Contemporary Art.

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Related Locations

The Farm at South Mountain
Scottsdale Community College

9000 E. Chaparral Rd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85256


R. Pela Contemporary Art

335 W. McDowell Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85003

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