James D. Porter of Arizona Curriculum Theater: 100 Creatives

Meet James Porter.
Meet James Porter.
ACT Inc.

Phoenix is brimming with creativity. And every other year, we put the spotlight on 100 of the city's creative forces. Leading up to the release of this year's Best of Phoenix issue, we're profiling 100 more. Welcome to the 2014 edition of 100 Creatives. Up today: 46. James D. Porter.

"Typically we go about our work quietly in classrooms and libraries across Arizona bringing education to life," James D. Porter says.

Porter, 45, is referring to his work with Arizona Curriculum Theater, a nonprofit troupe he founded in 2009 that travels to schools in the Phoenix area and connects the arts to in-class curriculum.

But once a year, Porter and Arizona Curriculum Theater step out of the classroom and onto the stage for their annual PoeFest. "PoeFest is ACT Inc.'s biggest event of the year and the only time the public gets to see what we do," Porter says.

See also: Phoenix Artist Constance McBride: 100 Creatives

Beau Heckman shares the story of "The Black Cat" at PoeFest.
Beau Heckman shares the story of "The Black Cat" at PoeFest.
Arizona Curriculum Theater

In October, ACT will present the sixth annual edition of PoeFest (which is exactly what it sounds like: a festival of Edgar Allan Poe's works) at Hotel San Carlos. If past editions of the event are any indication, it'll be a scream.

I came to Phoenix with too many winter coats.

I make art because I eat, drink, and breathe for my body and I make art for my soul. I think every human desires to create art and we express it in a variety of ways as diverse as the colors of the rainbow. Art fills our world - it is everywhere. It is like another language - a form of communication more powerful than any other.

I'm most productive when I am inspired. An idea can almost seize my being and not let go until the thought has been expressed.

My inspiration wall is full of autographed photos and posters from artists who have inspired or delighted me. My collection includes Mel Brooks, John Cleese, Gene Wilder, Mummenschanz, and "Weird Al" Yankovic.

I've learned most from observation. As an actor, there is no greater tool than keeping your mind and your eyes open.

Good work should always be shared. I believe art is a form of language that must be communicated in order to complete the cycle. If you're doing good work, it isn't art until that work is communicated to others. Emily Dickinson, for example, was just some strange recluse until her poems were published. Now we think of her as one of the greatest poets in history.

The Phoenix creative scene could use more support. More people need to rediscover the rich local arts that we have in Phoenix. You don't always need to go to the big venues to see the big names or popular shows in order to see great art. There is more great art right in our backyards being created by our neighbors that you can go and see everyday. 

James D. Porter of Arizona Curriculum Theater: 100 Creatives

See the 2014 edition of 100 Creatives:

100. Bill Dambrova 99. Niki Blaker 98. Jeff Slim 97. Beth May 96. Doug Bell 95. Daniel Langhans 94. Nanibaa Beck 93. Nicole Royse 92. Ib Andersen 91. Casandra Hernandez 90. Chris Reed 89. Shelby Maticic 88. Olivia Timmons 87. Courtney Price 86. Travis Mills 85. Catrina Kahler 84. Angel Castro 83. Cole Reed 82. Lisa Albinger 81. Larry Madrigal 80. Julieta Felix 79. Lauren Strohacker 78. Levi Christiansen 77. Thomas Porter 76. Carrie Leigh Hobson 75. Cody Carpenter 74. Jon Jenkins 73. Aurelie Flores 72. Michelle Ponce 71. Devin Fleenor 70. Noelle Martinez 69. Bucky Miller 68. Liliana Gomez 67. Jake Friedman 66. Clarita Lulić 65. Randy Murray 64. Mo Neuharth 63. Jeremy Hamman 62. La Muñeca 61. Kevin Goldman 60. Emily Costello 59. Kerstin Dale 58. Vara Ayanna 57. Nathaniel Lewis 56. Ruben Gonzales 55. Lisa Poje 54. Bobby Zokaites 53. Frances Smith Cohen 52. Julie Rada 51. David Miller 50. Xanthia Walker 49. Kyllan Maney 48. Cary Truelick 47. Constance McBride

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Hotel San Carlos

202 N. Central Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85004


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