Here’s a look at arts and culture news around metro Phoenix — from a new billboard that’s replacing anti-Trump artwork on Grand Avenue to a mural project in Roosevelt Row designed to highlight Latinx and indigenous artists.
IN FLUX Performances
The city of Phoenix recently announced the six projects it will present through a multi-city public art program called IN FLUX. First up is The Story of Our Journey, a film sharing several refugee experiences. Other projects will feature Barbershop Harmony Society, Whistling Moon, Erin V. Sotak, Katharine Leigh Simpson, and a collaboration between Patricia Sannit and Nicole L. Olson. Most will be presented online due to COVID-19.
Several designs by California artist Karen Fiorito have graced a Grand Avenue billboard during the past four years, including a controversial piece called Trumpocalypse. Her latest design will be replaced in late January by a billboard set to include the text “Black History Matters.” It’s part of a Black History Month project being organized by Gizette Knight, whose plan to install a Black Lives Matter street mural in downtown Phoenix last year did not garner City Council approval.
The Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts is awarding $3.9 million in fall 2020 grants to a total of 51 recipients, including Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. The museum will receive $80,000 in program support during a two-year period. Funds will support solo exhibits (with accompanying publications) for artists Diedrick Brackens, Brad Kahlhamer, Beverly McIver, and Zineb Sedira.
Four artists have been commissioned to paint murals on shipping containers in Roosevelt Row in 2021 as part of the Uncontained Project designed to highlight Latinx and indigenous artists. The first mural, a piece by Jesse Yazzie titled Triumph Over Tragedy, premiered on January 15. Future muralists will include Danny Upshaw, Zachary Justin, and Cora Jean Quiroz.
Arizona Commission on the Arts has information on several COVID-19 relief programs and resources of interest to artists and cultural organizations, including the Paycheck Protection Program, Save Our Spaces, and more. Details are available on the commission's website.
New Chorale Director
Phoenix Chorale has named Mary Deissler as interim executive director, and is preparing to launch a nationwide search to fill the position. The Grammy Award-winning choral group founded in 1958 is under the creative direction of artistic director Christopher Gabbitas, and reaches 7,500 people each year through performances and community outreach.
Bank of America has launched Masterpiece Moments, a new series of videos featuring artworks in the collections of 25 museums across the country, including the Heard Museum. Videos will feature museum directors discussing select works and sharing tips for experiencing and appreciating art. The series continues through the end of 2021.
House Studios Throwback
Jessica Abril curated an exhibit featuring work by Rose Johnson and other artists who once showed at House Studios. The art show will be on view through the end of February at the WalkBy Gallery next to Barrio Café. Featured artists include Robert Anderson, Jeff Cochran, Melanie Corradi, and others who were active in the early grassroots arts scene in Phoenix.
State Arts Budget
The Arizona budget process is currently underway for fiscal year 2022, which begins on July 1, 2021, and continues through June 30, 2022. Governor Ducey’s proposed budget includes a $2 million allocation from the general fund for Arizona Commission on the Arts, which had requested a $5 million allocation. The legislature will propose a budget as well, and subsequent negotiations will determine the final total for the arts allocation.
Military Access Program
Phoenix Art Museum is offering free admission to veterans, active duty military members, and reserve members (as well as their immediate family members) through December 31, 2022. It’s part of a Military Access Program first launched in 2016, which was temporarily paused in May 2020 due in part to COVID-19.
The Arizona Science Center will present a new exhibit called “Astronaut” from February 6 to May 31. The interactive exhibit explores the mental and physical challenges of space exploration while helping viewers imagine life beyond our own planet.
A journal called Write On, Downtown is looking for poetry, flash prose, and visual art to include in an upcoming issue. Editors are especially interested in pieces with 750 words or less that “celebrate the resilience of Phoenix.” They’re accepting submissions through February 14.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.