Feathered Bastard

Joe Arpaio Harpooned by Art? Let's Hope So. A Call for Artists for ALAC's "Dignity" Exhibit

I've been pimping the idea of an anti-Joe Arpaio art show for years, but the local art "scene," if you want to call it that, has been scared witless of doing something so bold, for fear of being raided by the MCSO.

It's unlikely anything of the kind would occur, of course. (And if it did, so much the better.) There have been art shows before that have included anti-Arpaio elements. Also, in the past, Phoenix human rights activists have pulled such stunts as an Arpaio haunted house, and an Arpaio pinata bash. The latter was particularly amusing.

Now the Arizona Latino Arts and Cultural Center in downtown Phoenix has put out a call to artists for a "Dignity Art Exhibition," which "hopes to shine light on the subjects of humanity and dignity." 

While that sounds pretty broad, one of the curators, Annette Sexton-Ruiz, says they're giving preference to those that address the theme as it applies to the undocumented, Sheriff Joe, and so on. (For more info, you can e-mail Sexton-Ruiz here, [email protected]. Deadline to apply is March 18.)

I'll be interested to see what they come up with, still, I'd like to see a full-on anti-Arpaio show downtown somewhere, one of these days. 

The First Friday crowd is always patting itself on the back, for no good reason that I can tell. Too many seem far more concerned with amusing themselves than in tackling the 800 pound sheriff's deputy breathing down the necks of their Latino friends.

Such is the prerogative of PHX artistes, I suppose. Though, their collective cowardice earns no plaudits from me. 

However, some, like Sexton-Ruiz, and others, are at least trying to address the number one human rights dilemma in the United States. You know, the one that just happens to be in our front yard. I give 'em props, though I wish they'd kick some courage into their fellow daubers.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons