Open Season

You've heard of the Heard, but have you truly experienced it? The Heard Museum in Phoenix, which houses one of the most comprehensive collections of Southwestern and Native American art in the country, is opening its doors after hours for a glimpse behind the scenes.

At the Heard Museum After Hours Preview, visitors can enjoy an opening reception with refreshments, a hoop dancing performance by the Yellowbird Indian Dancers, and an exclusive tour of the museum's current exhibits. Guests can wander the museum's halls freely, but docents will also conduct guided tours, and curators will be on hand to answer questions about the displays and their creators.

Art aficionados and novices alike will benefit from the event, says Lisa Goin, corporate and individual membership manager. "Either people have heard of the museum and never been here, or they come here and they're so amazed with the beauty and everything we have to offer," Goin says. "This is really an open house for people to get to know the Heard better."

In addition to the evening's artistic events, visitors can learn how to become involved with the museum through its membership program. Packages start at $50 for a family, but attending the after-hours gathering will take $10 off the fee. There will also be prize drawings for memberships, gift certificates to the Heard Museum Gift Shop, restaurant certificates and hotel stays.

The museum's permanent collection, which includes Native American pots, baskets and katsina dolls, is closed for remodeling, but some items will be on display that night. Current exhibits include Todd Defoe's "Symphony in Stone," which showcases life-size stone sculptures of musical instruments, and "Picarte! Photography Beyond Representation," a sampling of modern photography, art exhibitions and publications.