Top Phoenix Arts and Culture Stories of the Week

If Bob Ross were alive today, he'd be painting happy little trees all over the place in ecstatic fervor for all the arts and culture happenings in Phoenix. To help you see the forest for the trees, here's a recap of the top arts and culture stories of the week.

Three Phoenix Arts Organizations Awarded National "Our Town" Grant

On Wednesday morning three local arts organizations found out they had a bit more money in the bank to transform their communities.

The National Endowment for the Arts awarded 80 "Our Town" grants to cities across the country to invest in creative placemaking.

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The awards, given to cities in 44 states, totaled nearly $5 million, and the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture, ASU Art Museum, and Roosevelt Row CDC were given $100,000 to "reinforce the district's identity by improving the perception of safety, bringing artwork to the street, and creating connections and access to established institutions."

"The grant will be used to connect the dots in a lot of ways," says Ed Lebow, Director of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture Public Art Program. "We're hoping to really work together to bolster the 'in between' spaces around Phoenix and build a new kind of cultural spine along the light rail and throughout the city."

--Claire Lawton

5 Essential Ingredients for Your Breaking Bad Party

Sunday marks the premier of the first half of Breaking Bad's fifth and final season (yes, they're splitting the season into two parts, because apparently they want to torture us).

Following an explosive finale in season four, the final chapter of Breaking Bad centers around former high school chemistry teacher Walter White's ultimate rise to King Pin of the seedy drug underworld.

Combine the series' suspenseful story line with a year-long withdrawal, and you'll find that fans of AMC's hit prime-time drama are about as twitchy as the characters. And it's why we expect to see some serious celebrating this weekend. Check out our list of 5 ways to celebrate the return of Breaking Bad.

--Katie Johnson

Scottsdale International Film Festival Announces 2012 Lineup

After a summer of Blockbusters, the Valley should be more than ready to welcome the lineup of 36 international films set for screening this October at the 12th Annual Scottsdale International Film Festival.

The titles of 20 films have been released so far including four Oscar contenders from the 2012 award season.

The five-day fest will feature films from well over a dozen countries including the 2012 submissions to the Best of Foreign Language Film category from Ireland, Albania, Philippines and India. Get the full list of titles, trailers and event details.

--Lauren Saria

Wet Paint Artist Supply to Stay Open

Good news for fans of Tempe's venerated art supply joint Wet Paint: The shop is going to stay open after all.

Despite announcing the impending closure of the long-running store (which has sold paint and other supplies to local artists and graf fiends for more than 11 years) back in May, owner Jessica Jordan decided to keep things going. Wet Paint was originally scheduled to close July 1.

According to the 32-year-old artist, plans by two potential parties to take over Wet Paint's Ash Avenue space ultimately fell through. As a result, she plans to keep the shop open for the foreseeable future.

--Benjamin Leatherman

Mural City: Alan Rodgerson on Artistic Tattoo

It's about time Phoenix sees some serious mural love. In the interest of giving credit to their artists and because we're losing track of the times we've said, "Woah, when did that go up?", we bring you Mural City, a series on the murals springing up around town -- their artists, their hosts, and their inspirations.

Alan Rodgerson pays the bills working in custom jewelry, but when business slows down, he breaks out his paint and goes to work on large-scale, public "canvases."

His most recent project was on the facade of the Artistic Tattoo building on Camelback. Rodgerson says he drew inspiration for the mural from his own tattoos as well as from designs he found while pouring over nearly 100 different tattoo magazines.

--Lauren Saria

Don't forget to check out Jackalope Ranch's continuing series, 100 Creatives.

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