Here's a quick look at the latest culture news to help you keep up with the evolving arts scene in metro Phoenix.
FilmBar at Phoenix Art Museum
Phoenix Art Museum is launching a four-month partnership with FilmBar this month, for a series of outdoor screenings that will start on February 12. The Films in the Garden series includes eight films, including El Topo, Black Orpheus, and Gimme Shelter. Capacity is 50 people per screening, and tickets are $12.
Governor’s Arts Awards
More than 100 individuals and organizations have been nominated for the 40th annual Governor’s Arts Awards, which are presented by Arizona Citizens for the Arts and the Office of the Governor. Finalists will be announced in February; awards will be presented in seven categories, including artist and small business, in March. Recipients receive awards created by Arizona artists.
Poet Makes History
Natalie Diaz, who heads the Center for Imagination in the Borderlands at ASU, is the youngest poet elected to the board of chancellors for the Academy of American Poets. The 42-year-old poet is also an associate professor at ASU. This marks the first time the board comprises a majority of people of color and a majority of women. Past chancellors include ASU professor Alberto Rios, the inaugural poet laureate for Arizona and head of the ASU Piper Center.
New Public Art
Several new works of public art were recently installed at stops for the Tempe Streetcar. The designs were created by Mary Lucking, Bobby Zokaites, and the artist team of Simon Donovan and Ben Olmstead. The artists were commissioned through a partnership between the city of Tempe, Tempe Public Art, and Valley Metro.
Arts Congress Changes
The annual Arts Congress event typically presented by Arizona Citizens for the Arts at the Arizona Capitol will take a different form this year, due to COVID-19 guidelines about limiting large crowds. The arts advocacy organization will hold more than 20 calls with legislators and creatives in districts around the state rather than gathering hundreds of people on the Capitol lawn for a day of advocacy trainings and meetings with legislators.
Ballet Arizona Performances
Ballet Arizona will present two limited-capacity spring performances, which will also be available for online viewing. In February, they’ll perform ENERGY featuring new works by Ib Andersen and Nayon Iovino plus excerpts from a classical ballet by Marius Petipa. In April, they’ll perform works (including excerpts) of pieces by George Balanchine.
‘Big Read’ Lineup
The Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at ASU is presenting more than two dozen events, and giving away 250 books, as part of the National Endowment for the Arts’ Big Read project. The center is focusing on indigenous literary arts and culture with assorted talks, book clubs, performances, exhibits, and other virtual happenings in February and March.
Vibrant City Grants
The city of Tempe recently awarded Vibrant City Grants to eight projects, expanding the number of projects funded for its 2020-2021 grant cycle. Grant recipients include the Arizona Hip Hop Alliance, Kraken Still and Film, and Tempe Artist Guild. One recipient, Yes And Productions, performs alternative comedic movement-based pop-up performances under the name The Ladies.
Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit
Several artists based in metro Phoenix have works featured in the inaugural exhibition for a new sculpture park in Tucson. “Rough Terrain,” which will run from February 13 to July 4, includes works by nearly two dozen artists, including Kevin Caron, John Nelson, and Joan Waters.
Call for Award Nominations
Arizona Humanities, the state affiliate for the National Endowment for the Humanities, is accepting nominations for its 2021 Humanities Awards, which recognize outstanding contributions to the humanities in Arizona. Categories include Humanities Public Scholar, Friend of the Humanities, and Humanities Rising Star. Previous recipients include poet Natalie Diaz and Palabras Bilingual Bookstore founder Rosaura “Chawa” Magaña. Nominations are due on March 31.
Firefighter Museum Exhibit
The Hall of Flame Museum of Firefighting has a new interactive safety exhibit for children, which was created with support from over a dozen firefighting charities. The exhibit features a pair of animal characters named Milo and Moxie who share safety tips for indoor and outdoor spaces, and was created in partnership with the Arizona Burn Foundation, which also designed an app for sharing safety information.
Theater Spans U.S.-Mexico Border
Arizona Theatre Company is one of several companies presenting a monthlong lineup of diverse virtual and live theater events called RomeroFest, which will feature the work of ATC playwright-in-residence Elaine Romero. The international festival will include March performances by companies in the U.S. and Mexico.