Arizona Citizen Newsletter
Issue: 19October/2011
Message from the Director 


This month we present some of the best of what is going on in the arts and culture sector right now, and, unfortunately, some of the worst - making our dual missions to raise awareness of the importance and impact of arts and culture and promote public support all the more important.


At the state level, we continue to make positive progress on the reauthorization of the Arizona Commission on the Arts, the agency that is the keystone of support for the arts industry in our state and an important source of grant funding, organizational support and program resources. We continue to meet with legislators and engage our advocates as the "Sunset Review" process unfolds.


At the same time, the Arts Commission is at work with legislative partners to help create an Arizona Poet Laureate program, thereby providing a boost to literary arts and education in our state.


And by all means, please take note of the Commission's Facebook throw down with the State of California and Washington, D.C. , and do whatever you can to help the Commission be the first to reach 10,000 friends.


On the bleak side, we're reporting a crisis campaign for survival by Actor's Theatre, one of Phoenix's oldest professional theatres.


But we continue to seek opportunities to build and rebuild.  We've been helping to promote the recommendations of the Arizona Town Hall, "Capitalizing on Arts and Culture" all over the state.  And we're encouraging voters in Phoenix and Tucson to seek out arts-friendly candidates for Mayor and Council. 


ASU President Michael Crow, speaks up in Slate for creativity in education; an eloquent counterpoint to the popular emphasis on STEM that ignores the contribution of the arts to the education of the whole student.


And finally, we offer you, our advocates and friends, opportunities to participate with us in arts advocacy.  Our annual Arts Congress, with a Centennial flare, is set for February 7, 2012, at the State Capitol. And you can join us for holiday fun at Phoenix Theatre on December 13.  Thank you for your support and your continued work for the arts in Arizona. 


Catherine 'Rusty' Foley

Executive Director
Arizona Citizens/Action for the Arts


City of Phoenix Elections Are Near
Outcomes May Determine Arts Support on the Council


Voting has begun in the City of Phoenix runoff elections. Mail-in ballots have arrived, and the contests for Mayor and for City Council seats in District 1 and 5 are heating up. Phoenix voters may submit their ballots in a variety ways noted below between now and November 8.


Support for the arts became a bit of a focus in mayoral runoff campaign between Wes Gullett and Greg Stanton when a series of negative ads  inaccurately portrayed Gullett's  support for the arts, according to Arizona Fact Check, a cooperative project between the ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and the Arizona Republic. The ads were funded by an independent expenditure committee separate from the Stanton campaign.


While the controversy at hand involved arts support, the Arizona Republic editorial page noted that the incident points to a bigger problem in Arizona politics in which independent third parties can insert themselves into political campaigns without having to fully disclose who they are or who is paying for the ads.


The clear position of Arizona Citizens/Action for the Arts is that arts and culture deserve a place in Phoenix's economic development and community growth strategies, through grants to local arts groups to expand their reach in the community, continuation of the public art program and arts-friendly policies that support and encourage the development of arts and culture-related businesses and activities.


For information about arts support obtained directly from the candidates, Alliance for Audience has shared the results of its Mayoral Candidate survey (links are below).


Wes Gullett

Greg Stanton


Arizona Action for the Arts also asked each of the mayoral candidates and candidates for Council Districts 1 and 5 to officially explain their support for the arts and arts-friendly policies by completing a survey earlier this summer.The results of that survey are available here for you to use in deciding who will get your vote. 


Please study the issues and get out and vote.




October 28          Last day to request an early ballot by mail

November 5         Voting begins* 

November 8         Voting ends


 *The City of Phoenix will be using voting centers for the first time this election; so voters no longer are required to vote at a specified polling place in the precinct where the voter resides.Any city voter can use any one of the 26 voting centers to cast a ballot, on the Saturday and Monday prior to Election Day. This new way of voting is only for elections conducted by the City of Phoenix. 

Tucson City Council Candidates
Show Support For The Arts

A new survey of City of Tucson council members and candidates showed strong support for the city's public art collection and a willingness to increase local arts funding when the economy improves.


Responses to The Tucson Pima Arts Council's seven-question survey showed that a majority favored a $1 per capita funding level "should the budget allow" or "after we address basic services."  There was unanimous support for the city's public art program and most respondents indicated that city-owned arts and cultural facilities are not sufficient to meet current needs.


Full results are posted on the Tucson Pima Arts Council website.
Arizona Commission on the Arts
Faces Sunset Audit

On November 9, the Arizona Commission on the Arts (ACA) will take the next step in a state-mandated regular audit known as a Sunset Review. On that date, a panel of legislators from the Arizona House and Senate, sitting as a so-called Committee of Reference will review whether the ACA should continue to exist under state law, and will recommend reauthorization for as  many as 10 years.   


Under the direction of ACA Executive Director Bob Booker and Deputy Director Jaime Dempsey, ACA staff has spent the last four months completing an extensive and impressive  response to the 13 Sunset Factors and four Agency Factors that are used, under law, by the Committee of Reference to determine the Commission's future.


Throughout the summer, Arizona Action for the Arts also has been working with our legislative liaisons for key members of the House and Senate to arrange meetings between them and their legislators to stress that absolute necessity that the Commission be reauthorized. Response has been positive, despite continued concern about the state budget and available funding for activities like the Arts Commission.


There's no question that, for the past 45 years, the Arizona Commission on the Arts has played a critical role in supporting arts and culture in Arizona through exceptional leadership, creative partnerships and collaborations and vital support to Arizona businesses, schools, individuals and communities. AzCA/AA strongly supports the continued existence of the ACA as our prime means of insuring arts continue to be a strong a contributor to our state's economic vitality, educational excellence and quality of life.


AzCA/AA will keep you posted following the Sunset Review hearing and as the reauthorization legislation is drafted and introduced in the 2012 legislative session. In the meantime, be sure you are registered in our Advocacy Center in order to receive automatic updates and requests for advocates to contact legislators about the reauthorization.

Follow-Up Town Hall Meetings 

Creating Important Dialogue


"We should not be optional.  We are a necessity; we are the arts." That is what Sedona International Film Festival Executive Director Pat Schweiss told an Arizona Town Hall follow-up meeting in Clarkdale this month.


The meeting, like others around the state following the 98th Arizona Town Hall: Capitalizing on Arizona's Arts and Culture attracted a strong showing of local residents and the media. 


An editorial in the Verde Valley newspapers concluded that "The Verde Valley's art scene reveals much of what is going on within the human population here right now. Good, bad or indifferent, it will be an enlightening, necessary study for future generations."


Meetings have been conducted in Yuma, Tempe, Show Low/Lakeside, Phoenix, Sierra Vista, Douglas, Surprise, Flagstaff, Phoenix, Tucson and Wickenburg - all with the objective of building momentum for the Town Hall recommendations to support the arts and culture sector.


Arizona Citizens/Action for the Arts has participated in most all of the follow up meetings and continues to meet with representatives of arts and culture organizations all over the state to help develop local and regional responses to the Town Hall recommendations.


For more information about the Town Hall and the recommendations that came out of the original session, visit And please feel free to contact us here at AzCA/AA for more information or to relay your thoughts about how we can build arts and culture in our state. 
Actors Theatre Faces Real Possibility
Of Closing Its Doors

Actors Theatre, which for 26 years has been staging thoughtful, compelling and, at times, controversial, shows is in danger of closing its doors in the next 30 days.


The company has designed a three-stage fund-raising plan supported by a communications effort involving social networks and media outreach to:


* raise $70,000 by November 30 to complete the run of Next Fall, its second show of the season;

* raise an additional $170,000 by December 31 to be able to continue the season, and

* raise another $260,000 by June 30 to stabilize the operation, establish a financial footing and move forward.


"Our challenge is urgent," said Producing Artistic Director Matthew Wiener. "We are simply out of money.  The November 30 deadline is critical."


The company faces challenges despite having already taken significant steps to cut expenses by reducing staff, freezing salaries, exploring a merger, strengthening the board and restructuring debt, Wiener said.


Although the company operated in the black last year - barely - and ticket sales have been solid this year, "we have been crippled because private and corporate contributions, individual donations and grant dollars have virtually dried up."


To make a donation, visit and use your own social media networks and address books to help get the word out.

Arizona Commission on the Arts
Goes All Out in Facebook Challenge


ACA Facebook ChallengeArizona Commission on the Arts Executive Director, Bob Booker, doesn't take a little competition lightly.  Responding to a challenge from the new Executive Director of the California Arts Council to see which state agency can reach 10,000 Facebook fans first, Booker pulled out all the stops.


"We will see you on the other side of 10,000," was Booker's answer, confident that "what Arizona might lack in numbers, our arts and culture sector make up for in talent and resourcefulness.  We are fierce, we are scrappy, and we fight to win."


The head-to-head competition also attracted interest from colleagues in Washington, D.C. and it's now a three-commission race to the finish.


Who needs gloves when you've got words and "send" buttons?  

How can you help? Go to and "like" the page.  Then share the Arts Commission's Facebook page with your friends.

Effort Underway to Create
Arizona Poet Laureate Position


The Arizona Commission on the Arts is working with a number of organizations around the state, including the Arizona State Poetry Society, to support legislation by State Senator Al Melvin (District 26) to designate an Arizona Poet Laureate.


The proposed legislation provides for a two-year term for each Poet Laureate whose duties will include at least 12 hours of public service from readings in public schools to organizing poetry-writing contests and other efforts that build awareness and appreciation for poetry. The legislation also creates a five-member selection committee appointed by the governor. While similar legislation last year stalled in the House, the commission and AzCA/AA look forward to working on this issue to bring more attention to the literary education of our young people and the cultural contributions of Arizona's literary community.

Write this Down, Circle it and Underline it
Arizona Arts Congress, February 7th


Arts CongressIt's not too early to start gearing up for the 2012 Arizona Arts Congress, our annual advocacy day which has become a critically important effort to connect and build relationships with our elected officials.


This year's event is Tuesday, Feb. 7 at the Arizona State Capitol. A mere one week before we celebrate Arizona's Centennial, this year's Arts Congress will feature some special performances and activities to emphasize the important role arts and culture has had in the life of our state for the past 100 years.


As always,Arts Congress will be your special chance to meet with your legislators to explain why you support the arts and the difference arts and culture make in your communities and throughout the state.

Register today by contacting Michelle Peralta at or by calling (602) 253-6535.

U.S. Senate Subcommittee Draft

Proposes Level NEA/NEH Funding


Americans for the Arts reports that the U.S. Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee has proposed level funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities at $155 million for Fiscal Year 2012.


Americans for the Arts testimony to the subcommittee earlier this year called for NEA funding at 167.5 million. The draft appropriations bill is not expected to be considered by the subcommittee as time is running out for Congress to complete FY12 appropriations work.


Currently the Senate is trying to pass a "minibus" funding bill which includes spending for a few departments (including transportation and commerce). If that effort is successful, then the Interior bill may be included in a second "minibus" effort.


These efforts are designed to avoid an end-of-year showdown with a larger "omnibus" bill. The appropriations status in the House remains unclear at this moment, according to Americans for the Arts.


We encourage you to communicate with your concerns about NEA/NEH funding to your Congressional representatives, especially Senator Jon Kyl and Senator McCain. Just click here to visit our legislative action center.
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In This Issue
Phoenix City Election -- Arts Support on the Council
Tucson City Council Candidates
ACA Faces Sunset Review
AZ Town Hall Meetings
Actors Theatre Faces Possibility of Closing
ACA Facebook Challenge
Arizona Poet Laureate
Arts Congress 2012

Support Az Citizens
Become a Member Today


Member Organization Spotlight


The Phoenix-based Ear Candy Charity provides access to music education for young people through instrument drives; field trips to concerts, recording studios and even radio stations and instrument manufacturers; and collaborates with local organizations for after-school music programming.




Advocacy Spotlight   

Michael Crow Takes on Florida Governor



ASU President Michael Crow, writing in the Oct. 21 edition of Slate, took exception to a recent speech by Florida Gov. Rick Scott who called for reductions in state appropriations for particular academic disciplines so public universities can focus on producing graduates in the STEM fields.


Crow labeled Scott's claim that Florida doesn't "need a lot more anthropologists" as "misguided and counterproductive." 


While agreeing that "the imperative to advance STEM education cannot be overstated," Crow pointed out that "resolving the complex challenges that confront our nation and the world requires more than expertise in science and technology. We must also educate individuals capable of meaningful civic participation, creative expression, and communicating insights across borders. The potential for graduates in any field to achieve professional success and to contribute significantly to our economy depends on an education that entails more than calculus."


Crow added that "curricula expressly tailored in response to the demands of the workforce must be balanced with opportunities for students to develop their capacity for critical thinking, analytical reasoning, creativity, and leadership-all of which we learn from the full spectrum of disciplines associated with a liberal arts education."

Upcoming Events
 City Elections, Tucson & Phoenix  
November 8, 2011


A Christmas Story 

at Phoenix Theatre

December 13, 2011    


Arts Congress

February 7, 2012      


Governor's Arts Awards

March 27, 2012

AzCA LogoColor
Board of Directors



Steve Martin,  

President, Arizona Citizens 

Brenda Bernardi,  

Vice President, Arizona Citizens 

Joel Hiller,  

President, Arizona Action

Julie Richard 

Vice President, Arizona Action

Tom Chapman,  


Dawn Brown,  


Jeff Rich,  


Jessica L. Andrews,  

Past President, Arizona Citizens 




Allan Affeldt,  

Winslow Arts Trust

Robert Benson,  

Peoria Unified School District

Jennifer Burns,

Consulting & Policy Development 

Sam Campana,  

Audobon Arizona

Bill DeWalt,

Musical Instrument Museum

Mary Dryden,  

Tucson Symphony Orchestra League  

Karen Falkenstrom

Odaiko Sonora 

Representative Steve Farley 

Arizona House of Representatives

Mark Feldman,

Certified Financial Planner

Barbara Fenster,

Free Arts of Arizona

Wes Gullett,  

First Strategic

Phillip C. Jones,

Community Volunteer 

Cathy Knapp,  

Quarles & Brady LLC

Kate Marquez,  

Southern Arizona Arts & Culture Alliance

Senator Michele Reagan,  

Arizona State Senate 

John Tannous,  

Flagstaff Cultural Partners

Jackie Thrasher,

Washington Elementary School District 

Lynn Tuttle,  

Arizona Department of Education

Roberta Ukura,  

City of Yuma Park & Recreation

Cathy Weiss,  

Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts



A Christmas Story
for AzCA


The weather may not be frightful (is it ever?), but the holidays are, indeed, nearby and so is a fund-raising opportunity for Arizona Citizens/Action for the Arts.


Phoenix Theatre has set aside Tuesday, Dec. 13th for a special production of "A Christmas Story".  


You remember the one-legged lamp and the Red Ryder BB gun don't you? If you loved the movie - the play will put you in a holiday mood in a special baby boomer kind of way.  


On this date only, the tickets will include a preshow gathering with light hors d'oeuvres, holiday snacks during intermission and fun raffle that you do not want to miss.


Premium Tickets are starting at $65, and Regular Reserved tickets are starting at $40.


These prices are a limited time offer. To buy tickets now, click here .