Culture News

Tania Katan to Leave Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

Tania Katan is leaving Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.

The writer, performer, and erstwhile bingo hostess has been with the museum for about three years, working as its curator of performing arts to create events, including the mega-hit Lit Lounge, that engaged Valley dwellers in innovative ways and built an audience and brand for the museum's SMoCA Lounge. She announced her departure from the museum on Friday, December 19, in an e-mail to SMoCA Lounge supporters.

See also: Inside Tania Katan's Midcentury Modern Ralph Haver Ranch Home in Phoenix

The Lounge's original look was designed by the late Janis Leonard. The space was made over earlier this year with murals by James "Dalek" Marshall.

"The space was designed to be redesigned every three years ," Katan says. "I would pitch that every time the lounge changes, there should be a new curator of the lounge."

Katan will stay on at SMoCA through Friday, January 9's edition of Lit Lounge, which will be her last, but not the last for the museum.

"To know that we have successfully had thousands of people attend these performances, that's so exciting to me," she says. "I'm excited to pass the baton [while] we're on an upward swing. That is so satisfying to me. I always want to leave something when I'm ahead. So it feels like with that momentum the next person they get will be able to bring new programs and new audiences."

Katan says she's optimistic that the Scottsdale Cultural Council will continue to support SMoCA Lounge. "Everybody in-house at SMoCA wants to keep this dedicated and interested audience going."

She credits her theater background and outgoing personality with activating the successful space and engaging Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts and Scottsdale Public Art with it. Katan notes that because her position at SMoCA didn't exist prior to her taking it on, she is interested to see how the position changes in the hands of the next performing arts curator. Her advice to her yet-unnamed successor? "Err on the side of being expansive rather than proprietary."

As for Katan, she will take on the role of brand evangelist at software company Axosoft and refocus on her own creative output.

"My job really heavily has been to focus on nurturing and highlighting other people's creativity," she says. "Now I get to highlight mine a little bit more. I'm finding my way back to my own creative practice."

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Becky Bartkowski is an award-winning journalist and the arts and music editor at New Times, where she writes about art, fashion, and pop culture.
Contact: Becky Bartkowski