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Artist Research & Development Grant Spotlight: Jeremy Muller

The following blog post was written by Katie Selph, currently the Communications Intern at the Arizona Commission on the Arts. She is a recent graduate from the University of Arizona with a degree in Creative Writing.

“With percussion, it’s a very young tradition compared to other instruments like the piano or violin. We have the ability to shape its history.”

Leading up to the application deadline for Fiscal Year 2015 Artistic Research & Development Grants, we’re following up with some of the program’s past recipients. Today, we hear from Fiscal Year 2014 Artist Research & Development Grant recipient, Jeremy Muller.

MaracasRecordingJeremy Muller is a percussionist whose work explores the union of technology and modern performance. Muller received funding in support of his collaboration with three composers on three different compositions. Each composition employed a novel approach or unusual technique: one used ecoacoustics and sounds of the natural world, another involved the use of found objects, and the final piece utilized cutting-edge, interactive technology. We recently contacted Muller to discuss the evolution of these collaborations, as well as his creative process and his interpretation of percussion.

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Artist Research & Development Grant Spotlight: Kevin Frei

The following blog post was written by Katie Selph, currently the Communications Intern at the Arizona Commission on the Arts. She is a recent graduate from the University of Arizona with a degree in Creative Writing.

“I have never had my sights set on Broadway. I write for youth, school, and community theatres because they give people an opportunity to discover themselves through the creative process.”

- Kevin Frei

Leading up to the application deadline for Fiscal Year 2015 Artistic Research & Development Grants, we’re following- up with some of the program’s past recipients. Today, we hear from Fiscal Year 2013 recipient Kevin Frei.

Kevin FreiIn December 2012, Kevin Frei was one of 7 Arizona artists to receive an Arizona Commission on the Arts Artist Research & Development Grant. Frei was awarded funding to push forward with the creation and development of a musical for young performers. Inspired by his own past and experience in theater, Frei believes in the positive effect of musical theater and strives to create lasting pieces that transition well into school and community spaces. A true entrepreneur, Frei licenses his ever-growing body of work to high schools and community theaters through his own company, Go Musicals. Recently, Frei took the time to discuss his creative process, musical theater and the development of his project. (more…)

Artist Research & Development Grant Spotlight: Nicole Walker

Katie_SelphThe following blog post was written by Katie Selph, currently the Communications Intern at the Arizona Commission on the Arts. She is a recent graduate from the University of Arizona with a degree in Creative Writing.

“To compensate implies some sort of balance—a zero sum game where systems become equal. But what is this equality? Does nature always fall into balance? Is balance a Romantic myth? When we talk about sustainability, what do we mean? Sustainable for humans? For our current lifestyle? For the coyotes?”

- excerpt from Nicole Walker’s Artist Research & Development Grant Proposal

Every year, the Arizona Commission on the Arts awards funding to individual artists through Artist Research and Development Grants. This grant program is designed to support the work and practice of artists who are making an impact in Arizona’s communities, as well as in their artistic discipline.

nicole photoNicole Walker, an established Arizona poet, applied for an Artist Research and Development Grant last year. Along with 10 other individuals, she was awarded funding for her project. Pairing her interest in science and environmental issues with her background in poetry and nonfiction, her project utilizes these passions and skills cohesively. Her proposal focused on a lyrical nonfiction book discussing the challenges of scarcity, abundance, sustainability and regeneration. Recently, Walker was able to take a few minutes to talk to us about the source of inspiration, her writing process and the development of her project. (more…)

Art Mobile: Arizona Art Tank Grant Recipients Deliver Big Impact

This past January, Art4All and Phoenix Center for the Arts joined forces to pitch an arts-based venture at Arizona Art Tank: West in Peoria. Their innovative concept for delivering quality arts learning experiences to children who may not otherwise have access won over the review panel and earned the team $6,000 in seed-funding. From there, the Art Mobile project shifted into high-gear, covering an incredible distance in just a few short months.

Check out their story in the video below:  

Got your own innovative arts-based venture in mind? You could take home up to $10,000 in seed-funding at Arizona Art Tank:2015! The deadline to submit an application is Thursday, September 18, 2014. Eligibility requirements, application instructions and other essential information about the program can be found in the Grant Guidelines.

Artist Research & Development Grant Spotlight: Ann Morton

Katie_SelphThe following blog post was written by Katie Selph, currently the Communications Intern at the Arizona Commission on the Arts. She is a recent graduate from the University of Arizona with a degree in Creative Writing.

“Making this textile portrait reveals a person in grand scale that would otherwise be unnoticed, even invisible. By using this cast-off clothing to create the portrait, it is naturally imbued with the history of all those that once wore and touched this fabric. However discarded or abandoned, it still carries a collective energy from a broader community – a collective consciousness that one day may gather the will to decide that homelessness in our society is no longer acceptable.” – Ann Morton

Every year, the Arizona Commission on the Arts awards funding to projects through Artist Research and Development Grants. This grant program is designed as a way to support artists who are making an impact in Arizona’s communities, as well as in their artistic discipline.

ann mortonLast year, Ann Morton was one of 11 Arizona artists to receive an Arizona Commission on the Arts Artist Research & Development Grant. Her proposal focused on the development of a large scale textile project centered on homeless individuals and homelessness in Phoenix. Recently, Morton was able to take a few minutes to talk to us about the inspiration, process and development of her project. (more…)

Three More Reasons to Take our Annual Satisfaction Survey

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Have you been putting off taking our Annual Satisfaction Survey? Have you been waiting for a little extra incentive to speak your mind and share your insights? Do you like prizes?

As we approach the final week of the survey, we’re offering three more reasons for you to take our survey. From here on out, when you take our Satisfaction Survey, you’ll be given the opportunity to enter a drawing for one of three exciting prizes:

  1. An advertisement for you or your organization in the program for all four regional Arizona Art Tank events to be held in January 2015.
  2. A Spotlight article about you or your organization on AzArts417 Blog. The article will be promoted through the Arts Commission’s Facebook & Twitter accounts and in our monthly Agency Newsletter.
  3. An advertisement in the program for the 2014/2015 Poetry Out Loud State Finals Competition to be held in March, 2015 at the Herberger Theatre Center in Phoenix.

If we pick your name, you’ll pick your prize.

Your survey responses will be collected separately, so fear not: your anonymity will remain intact.

What’s that? You already took the survey? Don’t worry, you’re still eligible to be entered into the drawing. Simply send an email to swilcox@azarts.gov with the subject line “Earlybird” and we’ll send you a link to enter the drawing.

So, what are you waiting for? Go take that survey!

Rising Youth Theatre: A Light Rail Tale of Innovation

Katie_SelphThe following blog post was written by Katie Selph, currently the Communications Intern at the Arizona Commission on the Arts. She is a recent graduate from the University of Arizona with a degree in Creative Writing.

Earlier this summer, a daring theatre company delivered their particular brand of youth-centered theatre to the masses in a manner (and a venue) you might not expect.

Rising Youth Theatre debuted their latest project, “View from the Tracks: The Light Rail Plays,” during the weekend of June 6-8 on the light rail trains that run along Phoenix’s Central Avenue and at the light rail stops at Roosevelt and Camelback.

A train arriving at a Light Rail Plays Performance. Photo by MiracleMakingMedia 2014

Co-founded by Sarah Sullivan and Xanthia Walker in 2011, Rising Youth Theatre (RYT) creates original work through collaborations between professional artists and young people. Unlike many youth theatres, RYT invites young people to tell their own stories, rooted in their own thoughts, feelings and experiences. This latest project involved eight young performers, each working with an adult partner to develop and perform a short play. Opening up dialogues between young and old brought greater depth to the plays. The diverse backgrounds and experiences of everyone involved in the project created an environment of discovery and exploration. (more…)

Poetry Out Loud: Registration Now Open!

Elizabeth Andronic at the POL National FinalsHow do we make poetry matter to students? The Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest offers an answer to this question. Since its inception, Poetry Out Loud (POL) has sought to foster a love of poetry in high school students and connect them with our collective literary heritage.

The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation partner with State Arts Agencies to bring the POL to all 50 states and US territories. The program builds on the resurgence of poetry as an oral art form, as seen in the slam poetry movement and the immense popularity of rap music among youth. Poetry Out Loud invites the dynamic aspects of slam poetry, spoken word, and theater into the English class.  In addition, POL allows students to master public speaking skills and build self-confidence—tools that have life-long benefits for growth and community interaction.

Read an interview with 2014’s State Champion, Matthew Kaplan of Phoenix.

Matthew Kaplan, Arizona State Champion, 2014The competition begins on a small scale with classroom and school level contests. Winners then compete at a Regional Competition, advance to State Finals, vie for the title of Arizona State Champion, and then finally move on to an all-expenses paid trip to Washington D.C. (with an adult chaperone) to compete at the Poetry Out Loud National Finals. Each winner at the state level receives $200 with his or her school receiving a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. One runner-up in each state receives $100; his or her school receives $200 for the purchase of poetry books. A total of $50,000 in scholarship awards and school stipends are awarded at the Poetry Out Loud National Finals, with a $20,000 college scholarship award for the National Champion.

While the competition sounds daunting, the core intention of POL is to create a shared experience for students nationwide, turning their individual love of poetry into a passion shared with thousands of others.

For more information on Poetry Out Loud, visit http://www.azarts.gov/arts-learning/poetry-out-loud/.

Poetry Out Loud is open to all Arizona High Schools. To register your school for the 2014-2015 season visit http://www.azarts.gov/arts-learning/poetry-out-loud/register-your-school/.  Online registration will be open until October 24, 2014.

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