Resilience, Creativity, Innovation


Buyi Zama as “Rafiki” in the opening number “The Circle of Life” from THE LION KING National Tour.  ©Disney.  Photo:  Joan Marcus.  THE LION KING appears at ASU Gammage October 22 – November 17.

Buyi Zama as “Rafiki” in the opening number “The Circle of Life” from THE LION KING National Tour. ©Disney. Photo: Joan Marcus. THE LION KING appears at ASU Gammage October 22 – November 17.

Arizona’s performing arts take center stage

By Kathryn M. Miller ~ Creativity and innovation – two driving forces in the performing arts – were seen in the last few years as many organizations struggled to stay open. Some were unsuccessful, others, like Actors Theatre, took a step back, regrouped and are now preparing for a new season.

“This is an exciting time for Actors Theatre and contemporary theatre in the Valley,” says Renee Gertsman, president of the Actors Theatre 2013-14 board of directors. “The board and artistic management took a very brave step in pulling back to rethink and redesign and we’re all very anxious to experience the outcome of this new strategic direction.”

Arizona’s arts and culture organizations are significant contributors to economic health and competitiveness, generating $581,318,224 annually according the Arizona Cultural Data Project (AZCDP) – and this figure represents less than half of active arts and culture organizations in Arizona.

In its report released in March, AZCDP ranked Arizona 50th in the nation in per capita state appropriations for arts and culture. But despite this ranking, the report concludes that, “Demonstrating resilience in the face of challenges, Arizona’s arts and culture sector embodies the best of American creativity and innovation.”

An optimistic attitude is shared by many in the arts community.

“I am cautiously optimistic,” says David Saar, founder and artistic director of Childsplay. “Last year was a good one for us, and signs look even better for this season.”

But Saar recognizes that there are plenty of challenges ahead.

See the full Arts preview on page 48.

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