Issue: March - April 2015
In this Issue:



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Advocacy Highlight
Two keys to effective advocacy are the strength of numbers and the ability to react quickly when important decisions about arts issues are being made by our elected officials. Now is the time to sign up for our advocacy alert network, Voter Voice by visiting the Legislative Action Center at  

You will receive timely alerts asking you to contact your Congressional and legislative Representatives about important arts policy issues.

Sponsor Spotlight

During its 70-plus years in Arizona, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ) has consistently included arts and cultural programs among its four corporate giving initiatives, not only with financial support but with volunteers.  In 2014, BCBSAZ volunteers donated more than 1,200 hours to a range of great causes.


In recognition of those efforts, the company received the 2008 Governor's Arts Awards for Business and remains deeply involved with the both the event and in promoting, supporting and advocating for a strong arts education for Arizona's children.


You'll see their involvement at venues across the Valley, from the Mesa Arts Center to the Phoenix Art Museum, and with individual arts and cultural organizations from Arizona Citizens for the Arts to the Tucson Festival of Books.


For more information, visit


Member News

The Arizona Opera tagline says it all:  We tell stories worth singing.


Originally founded in 1971 as the Tucson Opera Company, its inaugural season featured two performances of Rossini's The Barber of Seville.  Five years later, the renamed Arizona Opera was performing complete seasons in both Tucson and Phoenix.


Since its inaugural year, Arizona Opera has produced more than 170 fully staged operas and concerts, offering a blend of traditional repertoire.  Arizona Opera has also produced Wagner's complete Ring Cycle twice, a feat only achieved in North America by four other companies.


Today in an effort to energize and expand audiences for the arts, Arizona Opera has created Arizona Bold, a new community-based initiative to bring new and exciting stories to Arizona that feature relevant and family tales to Arizona - combining classic operas with new challenging and innovative work.


An example was this season's production of "Cruzar la Cara de la Luna," the world's first mariachi opera.


In addition to producing five grand operas each year in Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona Opera offers in-school touring productions and numerous outreach events for children and adults of all ages.


Visit for more information.


Norman Lear: The Arts Will Save Us

Following his speech for Americans for the Arts at the Kennedy Center in late March, 92-year old television writer and producer Norman Lear (All in the Family, The Jeffersons, Sanford and Son, Maude) wrote to The Hill, a publication for Congressional lawmakers and policy professionals, with a simple message.


Yes, things around the world are dire and "while many people feel hopeless, I don't want to wake up on the morning ... without hope.  We will save our world and when we do the door will have been kicked open by the Arts and the politics and politicians will follow."


He wrote that "music, film, literature, theater - arts that cause us to see and hear as one will lead the way.  While art allows us to delight in our individual taste, in its embrace we are all one.  This is what will help save us."


Lear's letter pointed to the centuries-long efforts to suppress art and that technology, "more specifically the Internet and all of the ways we connect to it - has increased the power of the arts exponentially" and how "Art works its magic and people often don't know that it's happening to them."


To read the complete letter, go to

Phoenix Arts office sponsors professional development for emerging/grassroots arts groups

Arizona Citizens for the Arts' Business Volunteers for the Arts initiative is partnering with the AZ Commission on the Arts and Pave Program in Arts Entrepreneurship in a program offered by the City of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture to offer training in important capacity building techniques through workshop sessions and lunch table discussions. This half-day event is tailored to emerging and/or grassroots organizations.

The event will take place on Friday, May 15, 2015 at Ballet Arizona, 2835 East Washington Street, Phoenix, AZ 85034.

There is a $25 fee to attend. To register click here. Additional information is available at



Michael Vargas


Robert Knight 

Vice President 

Phil Jones


Rick Pfannenstiel


Joel Hiller 

Past President

Laurie Goldstein


Jeff Rich 


Bernadette Mills  

Advocacy Chair



 Allan Affeldt

 Winslow Arts Trust

 Jason Baran

Salt River Project

Rep. Kate Brophy McGee

 Arizona House of Representatives

Dawn Brown

AZ Business Consulting

Jennifer Burns

Public Policy Consultant 

Sam Campana  

Chair Emeritus 

Tom Chapman

Arts Advocate

Senator Steve Farley

Arizona State Senate

Mark Feldman

Miller-Russell & Associates

Chuck Goldstein


Cindy Gresser

Smoki Museum 

Anne Kleindienst 

Polsinelli, PC

Steve Martin


Maureen O'Brien

Musical Instrument Museum

Leah Fregulia Roberts

Arizona School for the Arts

Peter Rutti

Westlake Reed Leskosky
Lynn Tuttle

Arizona Board of Education

Vincent VanVleet

Phoenix Theatre

Suzanne Walden-Wells

DMB Associates, Inc.

Thomas Wilson

Arizona Museum of Natural History


Message from the director

In a challenging year for the arts, what's next?


This year has shaped up to be one of contrasts for us.   For every encouraging sign of support for Arizona arts and culture, we're confronted with challenges to the health and value of our sector.


Consider the passion for the arts found in the individuals and organizations recognized last month with Governor's Arts Awards -  the remarkable philanthropy of business people like the Papp family of Phoenix and developer Mike Kasser of Tucson, and the impact  of corporations like CopperPoint Mutual,  the creative placemaking partnership between the West Valley cities and the young people of the West Valley Arts Council Gallery 37;  the educational opportunities created by the Phoenix Conservatory of Music and Dr. Margaret Schmidt of ASU, and the influence artist William Eaton has had on art and community.


But tempering these inspiring stories, has been the political wrangling that will cause state funding for the arts to plunge next year because the Arizona Commission on the Arts received no allocation in the recently-passed state budget.


And the stellar examples of private sector support belie the fact individual giving and corporate support for arts organizations hasn't come close to recovering to pre-recession levels, and as a result, organizations still struggle.


Arts education as well faces a new challenge from an Arizona Board of Regents policy nearing final adoption. This policy threatens to reduce high school arts education by allowing the Fine Arts credit required for university admission to be waived in favor of a Career Technical Education credit.  Yes, many students will continue to earn the Fine Arts credit for college admission, the option for some students to use a CTE credit instead is bound to impact enrollment in high school arts classes and lead to fewer high school art education offerings.


So what does all of this mean for Arizona Citizens for the Arts and arts advocates like you?

We still have a lot of work to do.


Through our new Arts Education Outreach and Advocacy, soon we will be inviting any and all of you to participate in a movement to restore arts in our schools.


We'll continue to advocate for the Fine Arts requirement for university admission, and we will support the adoption - and the enforcement --  of the new K-12 Arts Education Standards discussed elsewhere in this newsletter


Phoenix and other Arizona cities will hold elections this year. We'll be encouraging arts supporters to vote, and educating them and the candidates about the issues at stake.


While we all fell short this year, we'll keep working with our legislative friends because we are convinced that with unrelenting advocacy, arts support will grow again.


We will engage with the Arizona Commission on the Arts in its plan - promised in a recent letter to arts organizations - "to map out a bold way forward for Arizona's arts sector."

Arizona Citizens for the Arts encompasses more voices for the arts than ever before. More than 100 arts and culture organizations statewide are members. Corporate and foundation support has grown, and our network of 5,000 advocates statewide can be a force to be reckoned with.


However, our collective voice is only valuable if we use it. Your support and your energetic engagement remains the key. So let's keep at it.  




Catherine "Rusty" Foley

Executive Director

Arizona Citizens for the Arts

Governor's Arts Awards Brings More than 640 to Celebration

A change of format and a new venue only enhanced the experience for the more than 640 arts advocates, artists, supporters, business leaders and elected officials who celebrated the 2015 Governor's Arts Awards at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown last month.


With opening remarks from Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, the event was hosted by CBS5 anchor Nicole Crites and  featured performances by Flamenco Por La Vida, Theater Works and 2014 honoree Anni Beach and her JAM PAK Blues 'N Grass Neighborhood Band.


But the highlight of the evening were the presentations of awards to honorees, many of whom reflected a common theme in their acceptance remarks --  the need and hope for public funding for the arts to be part of the state's future sooner rather than later.


2015 honorees were:

  • Shelley Award: The Papp family: the late L. Roy Papp, Marilynn A. Papp, Harry A. Papp, Rosellen Papp.
  • William Eaton, Artist Award
  • I. Michael Kasser, Individual Award
  • Dr. Margaret Schmidt, Arizona State University, Arts In Education Individual Award
  • Phoenix Conservatory of Music, Arts in Education Organization Award
  • West Valley Arts Council Gallery 37, Community Award
  • CopperPoint Mutual, Business Award.

Sixty-five nominations were submitted from 22 Arizona communities in six categories for this year's awards. SRP was the Presenting Sponsor; APS, the Nominees Sponsor; Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, the Entertainment Sponsor; and the Arizona Lottery was the Artist Award Sponsor. Event pictures can be found on the Arizona Citizens for the Arts' Facebook page

Comment period open for new Arizona Arts Education Standards 

Interested in how Arizona is revising arts education standards to better incorporate them into K-12 curriculum?


Public comment is being sought now on the draft Arizona Arts Standards developed by teachers and community artists from across the state.  The draft standards will be used to revise Arizona's current standards for dance, media arts, music, theater and visual arts. 


Comments via an online survey, mail and fax will be taken until April 24. The Department of Education also has scheduled three statewide public webinars and four public meetings, two in Phoenix and one each in Tucson and Flagstaff.  Comments from all sessions will be recorded.


Details about how to comment and copies of the draft standards are available at

AzCA Internship offers experience in public policy and the arts; apply by May 8

Arizona Citizens for the Arts is seeking an individual interested in arts administration and public policy-making to assist the organization this summer as we work to educate candidates in the Phoenix city elections, and develop systems to implement our arts education outreach and advocacy initiatives. For a student who is an energetic, innovative self-starter and a multi-tasker, this could be the  answer to getting hands-on experience in arts advocacy


And there is a stipend available for this 10 week internship.

Apply by submitting the following by email to with the subject line "Summer Internship":

  • A letter of inquiry speaking to coursework, experience or special interests and skills related to the position, and what you hope to gain from this internship.
  • Resume.
  • A short non-fiction writing sample that demonstrates ability to communicate factual information.
  • References.

Click here for more information about specific job requirements and a description of duties.

Phoenix city budget hearings focus on flat spending for FY16

Hearings are scheduled at locations throughout Phoenix during April for comments and input on the proposed City of Phoenix trial budget which includes funding for the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture at the same level as last year.


The $1.2 billion general fund budget is up 0.4 percent over fiscal 2015, according to the Phoenix Business Journal.  The trial budget includes nearly $100 million in innovation and efficiency savings in place since 2010 that included eliminating 100 management positions and a 50 percent cut in overtime expenses, the Business Journal reported.


Information about where and when hearings are scheduled can be found at

Register now for the PAVE Symposium Focus on Entrepreneurship and the Arts

Ruby Lerner, CEO of Creative Capital, and Steven J. Tepper, Dean of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at ASU, will keynote the 4th PAVE Biennial Symposium on Entrepreneurship and the Arts, Friday and Saturday, May 8-9 at the Memorial Union on the ASU campus.


At the event, presented in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Bolz Center for Arts Administration, participants will explore the processes, outcomes and impacts of new venture creation in the arts through hands-on workshops, speakers, pitch sessions and research presentations.


Registration is required. Cost is $125 for the general public, $105 for presenters and $50 for ASU students.  For more information, go to

Nominations open for 2015 Arizona Art Education Association Awards

Nominations are open for Arizona Art Education Association Awards (AAEA) to recognize often-unsung individuals whose continued hard work and dedication promote and bring distinction to the field.  AAEA members can nominate individuals who make a positive difference for the visual arts in schools and other institutions.


Forms and information are available at and information must be submitted on or before June 30. 

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