News, Updates and Information


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Governor’s Arts Awards 2015

On Tuesday, March 24, 2015, our friends at Arizona Citizens for the Arts, a statewide arts advocacy network, hosted the 34th annual Governor’s Arts Awards.

Each year, Arizona Citizens for the Arts partners with the Arizona Commission on the Arts and the Governor’s Office to cast a spotlight on the organizations, businesses and individuals that best represent the excellence and diversity of Arizona’s arts and cultural community. (more…)

2015 Southwest Invitational


The Southwest Invitational was born in 1966, the same year as the Arizona Commission on the Arts, and for decades the annual touring exhibition received support from the Arts Commission to present Arizona’s most exciting contemporary artists in galleries and venues throughout the state. (more…)

Zaskia Villa of Nogales High School is Arizona’s 2015 Poetry Out Loud State Champion

IMG_2939aZaskia Villa, a senior at Nogales High School in Nogales, Arizona, will represent Arizona at the 10th annual Poetry Out Loud National Finals competition in Washington, D.C., in April. Zaskia claimed the title of 2015 Arizona State Champion on Thursday, March 12, at the State Finals competition in Phoenix.

1st runner-up was Lena Blackmon of University High School in Tucson. 2nd runner-up was Adriana Hurtado of Tri-City High School in Prescott. Jessica Han of Coconino High School in Flagstaff, rounded out the top four. (more…)

Arts Commission Cut by $1 Million in Legislature’s Fiscal Year 2016 Budget

This past Saturday morning, after nearly 24 continuous hours of discussion and debate, the Arizona State Legislature passed a budget for Fiscal Year 2016. We regret to report that this budget does not continue the $1 million appropriation that the Arizona Commission on the Arts has received for the last two fiscal years.

This outcome is extremely disappointing. Still we are grateful to Arizona Citizens for the Arts and our friends in the State Legislature, on both sides of the aisle, who fought to reinstate and grow the $1 million allocation to the Arts Commission. For two fiscal years these allocations, derived from interest accrued on the state’s Rainy Day Fund, were devoted exclusively to grantmaking and made a significant impact in communities and schools across the state.

The absence of this funding will be sorely felt. Vital programs will be cut. Next year’s grants will be smaller. As a result, there will certainly be fewer opportunities for Arizona citizens to experience quality arts experiences.

Nevertheless, we remain steadfast and determined, committed to the opportunity within our mission: to imagine a future where everyone can participate in and experience the arts. To that end, we resolve to be evermore strategic, diligent and creative in the deployment of the Arts Commission’s remaining resources.

The challenge is not ours alone. Our partners in Arizona’s arts industry continue to share this burden and we are proud to stand with them in this time of austerity. We have seen difficult times before and together we have proven our strength, resilience and value. We will do so again.


Robert C. Booker
Executive Director
Arizona Commission on the Arts

Poetry Out Loud: State Finals Judge Reflects on Her Years as a Participant


The 10th Annual Arizona Poetry Out Loud State Finals will be held on Thursday, March 12, at the Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix. Of the 11,000 high school students from 47 schools statewide who participated in the poetry recitation competition this year, nine have advanced to this, the final state-level stage. On the Herberger’s Stage West, before a live audience and a panel of judges, these talented young people will compete for the opportunity to represent Arizona at the National Finals in Washington, D.C. in April.

One of this year’s judges has a better idea than most of what those nine students must be feeling right now, as they prepare for the big day. Not so long ago, Carly Bates was one of them.  (more…)

NEA Invites Arizonans to “Share Your Stories”

neaourtownThis year, 2015, is the 50th anniversary of the signing of the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act of 1965, which created the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. To better recount the story of the NEA and the arts in America, the NEA wants to share your story of how the arts have influenced your life. (more…)

NALAC Leadership Institute: Critical Training for Latino Arts Leaders

Last July, I participated in one of the most powerful and invigorating professional development experiences of my career. I was part of an intergenerational group of 28 Latino artists, arts administrators and culture workers from fourteen states and Puerto Rico that attended the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture (NALAC) Leadership Institute in San Antonio, Texas. (more…)

Creative Aging: a New Approach to the Second Half of Life

When I first ask someone if they’re familiar with Creative Aging, the initial response is often a little tongue-in-cheek, but also perfectly appropriate:

How does one age creatively? (more…)

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