Magical Enchanted Pumpkin Garden Returns to Carefree

Halloween visits the Town of Carefree in the form of whimsical pumpkin carvings from master sculptor Ray Villafane and the Villafane Studios team (www.villafanestudios.com) for a fifth incredible year. The Enchanted Pumpkin Garden, a one-of-a-kind fall festival celebrating the magic of the season, takes place Oct. 18–27, with the amazing artistry of Villafane Studios on display throughout the four-acre Carefree Desert Gardens in downtown Carefree.

Admission to the Gardens will be $15 per person Friday through Sunday, and $10 Monday through Thursday. Children 2 and under are free. Weekdays will feature the talented Villafane Studios carving team creating new and exciting pumpkin artworks, a variety of unique fall-themed edible creations and merchandise, and special Halloween-themed performances throughout the gardens. Weekend entry includes full access to the Gardens, a Harvest Market, live musical performances on two stages, novelty concessions and local food trucks, as well as admission to the Haunted Happenings zone, including a haunted house attraction, giant slide, obstacle course, carnival games, petting zoo, pony rides and more.

New in 2019 is a partnership with the Arizona Giant Pumpkin Growers Association to host an official Great Pumpkin Commonwealth (GPC) Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off Saturday, Oct. 19 at 11am. The best giant gourd growers in the Southwest will be bringing their obscenely large, fascinating, ginormous orange orbs to town, in hopes of squashing the giant pumpkin world record. All of the pumpkins entered in the contest will remain on-site, with Villafane’s team of carvers working their artistry on the gourds live throughout the garden during the remaining days of the event. The Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off is free to attend, and will be held on the Community Stage, just outside of Historic Spanish Village in downtown Carefree.

Photos: Desert Hearts Photography/Tiffany Copeland

Friday and Saturday nights will feature live headline entertainment each evening from 7–9:30pm on the Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion stage. Valley favorites The Walkens Band brings their unique blend of country and Southern rock favorites Friday, Oct. 18. Phoenix native and American Idol season 17 favorite Wade Cota performs with his band Saturday, Oct. 19. The second weekend kicks off Friday, Oct. 25 with Rock Lobster playing the biggest music hits of the ’80s and ’90s. The ultimate Steve Miller tribute band, Pompatus of Love, rocks the stage Saturday, Oct. 26, featuring Steve Miller Band and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame guitarist Greg Douglass.

Additional weekend event highlights include: Bashas’ “Adopt a Pumpkin” patch, with proceeds benefiting Desert Foothills YMCA; a Harvest Market, featuring a variety of fall-themed vendor goods and autumnal treats; the Jack O’Lantern beer garden with seasonal craft beers provided by Four Peaks Brewery, operated by the Sonoran Arts League; and the Haunted Happenings area, with family-friendly attractions for kids of all ages. Popular holiday-themed activities include pie-eating contests both weekends, sponsored by Venues Café; and costume contests for kids, adults and pets Sunday, Oct. 27. Other special events will round out the week.

For hours of operation, event schedules and more information about this annual Halloween attraction, visit www.enchantedpumpkingarden.com or call 480.488.3686.

Get Ready for the 2019–20 Cave Creek Special Events Issue!

Click here and check out what’s in store for 2019-2020 in The Town of Cave Creek!

As the Town of Cave Creek gears up for its season of events around town, CITYSunTimes, in conjunction with the Town, is hard at work on October’s 2019 Cave Creek Special Events Issue. This annual issue includes a calendar of events for the upcoming season, a special advertiser’s section and a preview of some of the biggest events heading to town for the season.

“Cave Creek is preparing for yet another busy special event season,” says Town of Cave Creek’s Marshal Adam Stein. “Each year we are seeing more and more visitors coming to our great events in Cave Creek. Residents and visitors alike are realizing that Cave Creek is the place to be and the place everyone wants to visit. The town has welcomed more and more special events in town and driving through our town during the ‘busy’ season will clearly show you that Cave Creek is a happening place. From mountain bike events to Cave Creek Bike Week to the Taste of Cave Creek and Hidden in the Hills.

“People who want to have fun…come to Cave Creek. Welcome back to our friends and visitors, and if you have never come to Cave Creek…what are you waiting for? All your friends are visiting us, see what you are missing.” |CST

Foothills Caring Corps Seeks Volunteers

Binka Schwan, volunteer, and her certified therapy dog, Rascal

Join a growing and thriving community

Studies show volunteering provides a boost to one’s self-confidence, self-esteem and overall life satisfaction. Doing good things for others in the community provides a natural sense of accomplishment, and a sense of pride and loyalty.

Ask Carefree-based nonprofit Foothills Caring Corps volunteers how they feel, and they echo the same sentiment.

Binka Schwan, who leads the Friendly Pet Visiting program for the 501(c)(3) organization says, “To be able to give back to my community gives me such great satisfaction. The joy my two therapy dogs, Rascal and Maizee, bring to our Foothills Caring Corps Neighbors is equal to my own joy as a volunteer.”

Schwan, a long time Foothills Caring Corps supporter, is one of the organization’s nearly 600 volunteers who provide the community with a variety of invaluable services including friendly people and pet visits, mobile meals, an expansive mobility equipment loan closet, help with computers and paperwork, handyman services, shopping assistance, medical and van transportation, health advocacy and more.

Last year alone, the nonprofit organization’s volunteer force logged nearly 36,000 hours helping to promote independence and enhance the quality of life for elderly residents in the Northeast Valley.

“It is a pleasure to see our volunteers work together for the community’s greater good. The personal connections they make strengthen our Neighbor’s lives as well as the volunteer’s own wellbeing,” said Executive Director Debbra Determan.

“Based on a volunteers’ schedule, favorite things to do and skill set, the Foothills Caring Corps staff will find the perfect way each individual can serve our Neighbors. Our volunteers report a highly rewarding experience that fits easily into their schedules because of the many choices that are available for them,” says Determan.

Those who are interested in volunteering are invited to attend a monthly orientation on the second Thursday of each month, 9–11am, at the Caring Corps offices, 7275 East Easy Street, Suite B106, in Carefree, or call 480.488.1105 for more information. Learn more about Foothills Caring Corps at http://www.foothillscaringcorps.com.

Indulge in Ten Days of Culinary Discovery

2019 Fall Arizona Restaurant Week

 The Arizona Restaurant Association announces the arrival of its 2019 Fall Arizona Restaurant Week (ARW), which takes place from Friday, Sept. 20, through Sunday, Sept. 29. During these 10 days, diners can take advantage of three-course meals and prix-fixe menus for just $33 or $44 per person at participating restaurants around the state.

 “Consumer demand for restaurants in Arizona has been the highest it’s ever been and that’s why we see such support each year during both Spring and Fall Restaurant Week,” says Arizona Restaurant Association president and CEO Steve Chucri. “We are proud to be leading the charge in an initiative that helps diners discover some of the best local, chef-driven restaurants as well as support some of the most well-known restaurants in the state.”

This year marks the 12th anniversary of Arizona Restaurant Week, a twice-a-year opportunity (including Spring Arizona Restaurant Week, which takes place in May) for local food aficionados to indulge in some of the state’s finest menus and discover hidden local gems while also giving Arizona chefs a chance to showcase their culinary creativity beyond their regular menus. Here is just a sampling of current participating restaurants: Ajo Al’s, Barrio Queen, Buck and Rider, Chart House, Citizen Public House, Different Pointe of View, Fuego Bistro, Ghost Ranch Modern Southwest Cuisine, Kovo Modern Mediterranean, La Locanda Ristorante Italiano, Ling & Louie’s, Marigold Maison, Mowry & Cotton, Nobuo at Teeter House, Pasta Brioni, Salut Kitchen Bar, Southern Rail, T. Cook’s, The Dhaba, The Gladly, The Parlor Pizzeria, The Sicilian Butcher, Vincent on Camelback and Virtu Honest Craft.

Diners can view a complete list of restaurants participating in Fall Arizona Restaurant Week online at www.arizonarestaurantweek.com. New restaurants and menus will be added as participation grows.

Where Passion & Industry Intersect

Fall 2018 North Valley Arts Academy Theatre production of Spamalot; Photo: Christi Johnstone

 

Fostering the Arts in Arizona

By Kathryn M. Miller ~

In Arizona, arts and culture industries are more than just passionate undertakings that enrich lives — they are a force that enriches Arizona’s economy. According to the Arizona Commission on the Arts’ 2018 Report to the Governor, Arizona’s arts and culture industries contributed $9 billion to the state’s economy, employing 90,000 Arizonans who earned a combined total of $4.9 billion annually. In addition, arts-related retail trade contributed $1.6 billion to Arizona’s economy.

But the arts are unique in industry — they are passion driven and they enrich the lives of those who create and those who witness in ways that numbers cannot begin to quantify. And nowhere is that more apparent than in the performing arts.

This year, The Phoenix Theatre Company celebrates its 100th season. No institution reaches that milestone without a passion for its mission, which the Company says is, in part, “…inspiring hope and understanding through the arts…” So, where does this passion for performing begin? Look no further than North Valley Arts Academies at PVSchools.

Part of the Paradise Valley Unified School District (PVSchools), the North Valley Arts Academies (NVAA) program is the brainchild of the district’s recently retired superintendent, Dr. James Lee. The goal was to create a program that would be a draw for students wanting to explore their love of the arts. It began with fifth through eighth grade at Desert Cove Elementary and Shea Middle School, offering dance and theater. Soon, visual arts and music technology classes were added.

As the students progressed in their educational careers, the program eventually grew to include Shadow Mountain High School (SMHS). This school year, the NVAA Theatre program at SMHS will graduate its first four-year class.

Under the guidance of teachers Joseph Flowers and Dr. Teresa Minarsich, the Theatre program provides students with rigorous academic classes combined with a college-intensive theater arts emphasis. Accelerated movement, voice, acting, directing and playwriting courses are offered, in addition to a technical track that includes set design and construction, costume and makeup, and lighting and sound.

The programs at SMHS bring together a diverse student population with a singular goal — to create art collaboratively. And many students have found their calling and their ‘people’ within the program.

The NVAA Theatre program presents its fall musical, Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka. The production includes students from all three NVAA schools and runs Nov. 7–9 at SMHS, 2902 East Shea Boulevard. To learn more about NVAA Theatre, visit www.nvaadrama.com. For additional information about PVSchools, visit www.pvschools.net.

“High school is a really difficult time for most young people, especially given what’s happening in the world,” says Minarsich, who has been at SMHS for four years. “I think it’s vital that every student finds a place that they belong. That could be a sports program, it could be a club, and for a lot of kids it ends up being the arts. I think the arts give you the chance to find people who feel as passionate as you do about an art or expressing yourself in a certain way — singing, dancing, band…you have a sense of belonging and I think that’s really important.”

One of Dr. Minarsich’s students, SMHS senior Aunah Johnson, agrees wholeheartedly.

“As I have come into my senior year, I’ve realized that the thing I love most about theater is the diversity,” Aunah says. “I’ve worked with athletes, cheerleaders, scholars, emos, artists, political junkies; everyone, and they’ve all become people I love immensely because they are so vastly different but still belong to our theatrical family.”

The performing arts can also help young people put a sometimes-confusing world into perspective and provide them with tools that they will carry into adulthood.

“Theatre gave me, as a young high school student, a way to understand the world around me,” says Flowers, who is in his 13th year teaching at SMHS. “It provided me with viewpoints and experiences I didn’t have growing up in Glendale, Arizona. It taught me the power of collaboration and the joy and sweat that go into long-term, complex projects.”

Both teachers say that this power of collaboration brings students a deep sense of satisfaction when they successfully create something that is meaningful to them.

“The performing arts are so collaborative, and the skills you learn from taking an idea that you have, then fleshing that out and creating something that you can then share with the public teaches students so much,” says Minarsich.

The skills that students develop go far beyond the marketable, though, and into the deeply meaningful. Flowers says that students are hungry for an “analogue form of communication” that allows them to connect with each other and the audience, and theater can provide this artistic outlet.

“There is such a disconnect with our society’s use of technology to communicate and our need as humans for face-to-face storytelling and connection. I’ve found both students and community members really respond to getting back to the basics of storytelling with heart.”

Minarsich adds that the art of storytelling also helps students develop empathy — something she believes is severely lacking in the world right now.

“Especially in acting,” she says, “learning how to put yourself in other people’s shoes and live their stories and understand why — their motivations for things, why people do things the way they do — and to see outside yourself.”

“Theater is an art form that brings people together in places where they would otherwise tear each other apart,” agrees Aunah. “I used to believe that it would be impossible for a nerdy, religious girl like me to find a social home, especially in a highly liberal community. Yet here I am, repeatedly embraced by my fellow artists and friends for who I am because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where you come from, it only matters that you joined our ensemble in this cast called life.” | CST

Kiwanis Marketplace Celebrates Fifth Anniversary

The Kiwanis Marketplace Thrift Store is approaching its five-year anniversary. Opening Aug. 14, 2014 with no paid staff, the store is now led by its general manager, Sandra Carrier, along with the help of a small staff and a committed group of nearly 80 active volunteers. The volunteers at the Marketplace serve as store personnel or as “roadies,” who offer free pickup service for larger, gently used donations from homes in the area.

Pictured, L–R: J. Scott Brown, Kiwanis Marketplace Committee Chairman, and Sandra Carrier, general manager

Aside from its wide selection of affordable items for customers, ranging from furniture and house wares to clothing and electronics, the Marketplace provides a fun environment with meaningful and rewarding work for volunteers, most of whom are retirees. The store functions as a tight-knit community within itself, with staff and volunteers who are passionate about service, and loyal customers who can hunt for treasures while supporting a charitable organization.

The Marketplace serves the community in several ways by funding projects to help local students as well as community projects. Over the past several years, the Marketplace has generated over $1,000,000 in scholarships and merit awards for area graduating high school seniors who are entering college. It has also sponsored many other projects including the STEAM Lab at Foothills Academy, the Kiwanis Kids Creative Corner at the Desert Foothills Library, the Kiwanis Sundial Splash Park in Carefree and the Kiwanis Field’s Little League scoreboard.

Donated items that are not marketable by the Marketplace are passed on to Sunshine Acres in Mesa, which has its own thrift store to provide funding for a home for children who have been separated from their parents. Additionally, the Marketplace helps the environment by repurposing items that otherwise might end up in landfills.

The Kiwanis Marketplace is no ordinary thrift store; it is an organization committed to enriching the lives of children. To learn more about the Marketplace and its impact on the community, or to find out how to volunteer, visit www.kiwanismarketplace.org.

Taliesin West Inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List

Joins seven other Wright sites

With 11 of his buildings in the Greater Phoenix area alone, most Valley residents are familiar with the work of Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright’s visionary work cemented his place as the American Institute of Architects’ “greatest American architect of all time.” And in July, the World Heritage Committee, meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan, officially inscribed The 20th-Century Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, which includes eight major works spanning 50 years of Wright’s career, on the UNESCO World Heritage List (whc.unesco.org).
The sites include Unity Temple (Oak Park, Illinois), the Frederick C. Robie House (Chicago, Illinois), Taliesin (Spring Green, Wisconsin), Hollyhock House (Los Angeles, California), Fallingwater (Mill Run, Pennsylvania), the Herbert and Katherine Jacobs House (Madison, Wisconsin), Taliesin West (Scottsdale) and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York, New York).
There are more than 1,000 World Heritage sites around the world, and the group of Wright sites is now among only 24 sites in the U.S. The collection represents the first modern architecture designation in the country on the prestigious list.
“This recognition by UNESCO is a significant way for us to reconfirm how important Frank Lloyd Wright was to the development of modern architecture around the world,” says Barbara Gordon, executive director of the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy. “There are nearly 400 remaining structures designed by Wright. Our hope is that the inscription of these eight major works also brings awareness to the importance of preserving all of his buildings as a vital part of our artistic, cultural and architectural heritage. All communities where a Wright building stands should appreciate what they have and share in the responsibility to protect their local — and world — heritage.”
Here in Arizona, Taliesin West, also a National Historic Landmark, is nestled in the desert foothills of the McDowell Mountains. It serves as the home of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and the School of Architecture at Taliesin. Wright’s beloved winter home, and the bustling headquarters of the Taliesin Fellowship, was established in 1937 and handcrafted over many years. Deeply connected to the desert from which it was forged, Taliesin West was built and maintained almost entirely by Wright and his apprentices, making it among the most personal of the architect’s creations.

“These sites are not simply World Heritage monuments because they are beautiful,” said Stuart Graff, president and CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. “It’s so much more than that. These are places of profound influence, inspiration and connection.”

To learn more about the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation or to tour Taliesin West, visit www.franklloydwright.org.

 

Hidden in the Hills Chooses Tour Directory Cover Artist

Scottsdale artist Sue Hunter stands with her mixed media collage, “All Tied Up”.
Photos courtesy of the Sonoran Arts League

Scottsdale painter Sue Hunter’s mixed media collage painting, “All Tied Up,” featuring a rare scarlet ibis, will grace the cover of the 23rd Annual Hidden in the Hills Artist Studio Tour artist directory. An ibis is a long-legged wading bird that inhabits wetlands, forests and plains.

A signature event of the nonprofit Sonoran Arts League, Hidden in the Hills is Arizona’s largest and longest-running artist studio tour. This year’s free, self-guided tour features 198 artists at 47 studio locations throughout the scenic Desert Foothills communities of Carefree, Cave Creek and North Scottsdale during the last two weekends of November: Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 22–24 and Nov. 29 – Dec. 1.

Over the years, the popular four-color, glossy artist directory has become a collectible among patrons. Hunter’s colorful, whimsical collage painting was among more than 75 pieces of diverse fine art entries submitted for consideration of the cover art during a juried selection process on May 11.

“There were so many terrific entries, but we kept going back to Sue’s whimsy and bright mixed media collage painting,” said Hidden in the Hills co-chair, Jane Boggs.

This will be Hunter’s 19th year participating in Hidden in the Hills. While she has been painting with acrylics, oils and watercolors for several decades, she has only been doing collage painting for about two years.

“When I create collages, it’s for pure fun, with no rules,” Hunter said, adding that she uses acrylic paints, stamps, molding paste and objects, such as glass beads, feathers, eyeglasses, wire, embroidery thread and other unique items.

Hunter said “All Tied Up” also includes a subtle message.

“While creating it, I began to think of how so many items we discard end up in the environment, causing harm to the animals,” she said.

Hunter has received many accolades for her work, and she shares her passion by teaching classes.

“I believe art is the best therapy for everyone,” she said. “I have had many students who had never painted and who did not believe they could produce a painting. But when they completed their first painting, the wonder and joy were unbelievable!”

Art enthusiasts will be able to find details about all participating artists as well as studio locations and downloadable maps at www.hiddeninthehills.org. In addition, the Sonoran Arts League’s Center for the Arts will serve as the event’s information headquarters and Youth Art Studio No. 1.

The League office is located at 7100 East Cave Creek Road, Suite 144, at Stagecoach Village in Cave Creek. For additional information, call 480.575.6624.

Blast Off With Arizona Science Center

Celebrate 50th anniversary of Apollo 11

The partly illuminated Earth rising over the lunar horizon; Photo courtesy of NASA

Arizona Science Center is celebrating one of the greatest achievements in science — human’s first steps on the moon.

Apollo 11 launched from Cape Kennedy July 16, 1969, carrying Commander Neil Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin into an initial Earth-orbit of 114 by 116 miles. An estimated 650 million people watched Armstrong’s televised image and heard his voice describe the event as he took “…one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind” July 20, 1969.

All month long, the Science Center will be commemorating this historic mission with events and space-themed programming. All leading to a 50th anniversary celebration Saturday, July 20, when residents are invited to join the Science Center for an out-of-this-world celebration of man’s first steps on the moon on that monumental day in 1969 as part of NASA’s Apollo 11 lunar mission. From exploring the Sun, Earth, Universe exhibit to engaging in hands-on space and moon-themed activities, the Science Center hopes to spark curiosity in what’s next in innovation and exploration through a fun-filled day for the entire family.

Apollo 11 liftoff from launch tower camera; Photo courtesy of NASA

The month-long Apollo 11 50th anniversary celebration includes the following events and programming:

  • July 16: Global Rocket Launch Day
    10am–5pm — Rocket building and launches in CREATE at Arizona Science Center
    5–9pm — Observe the Moon Family Night
  • July 19: Apollo 11 Anniversary Family Celebration; 10am–5pm
  • July 19: Science with A Twist; 6–10pm (adult 21 and over event)
  • July 20: Continuing Apollo 11 Anniversary Family Celebration; 10am–5pm
  • July 27: Teen Night at CREATE; 6–10pm

Arizona Science Center is located at 600 East Washington Street, Phoenix. For additional information, call 602.716.2000 or visit www.azscience.org/apollo11.

Art Lover’s Delight: Chill Out at SMoCA This Summer

”KnightRise” Photo: Sean Deckert

Summer in the Valley is the perfect time to get out of the heat and into a museum. Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) presents a wide range of exciting and diverse events, to keep art lovers cool in a 68-degree museum. This season is packed with artist-led talks and workshops and the return of fan favorites Mystery at the Museum and Art Handlers Triathlon. Additionally, several events relate to the 2019 summer exhibitions. These events offer guests the opportunity to engage with artists, the community and museumgoers to consider the questions and themes explored throughout the Museum. Schedule of summer events (subject to change):

June 6: Artist Talk — Aakash Nihalani and Daniel Rozin
7pm
Artists Aakash Nihalani and Daniel Rozin team up to talk about their work in the exhibition “Mutual Reality: Art on the Edge of Technology.” Guests will get a sneak peek of Nihalani’s new artwork inside SMoCA Lounge before it’s revealed to the public.

June 7: Summer Opening Party
7–9pm
Join SMoCA in celebrating another season of new exhibitions. Chat with curators, mingle with artists and explore the exhibitions. Cash bar.

June 21: Sunset in the Skyspace
7:30pm; $10
Spend the longest day of the year at SMoCA. Celebrate the summer solstice by watching the sunset in James Turrell’s “Knight Rise” Skyspace. Refreshments included.

July 6: The Studio @SMoCA — Simply Succulents with Dig It
Noon–3pm; $45, pair; $30, individual
Horticulture experts from Dig It Gardens in Phoenix will show participants how to create and care for their own succulent terrarium. Materials provided. Light refreshments included.

July 19: Beer ‘n Bingo
7pm; $15 (includes one drink)
Anwar Newton hosts an evening of craft beer and bingo with a SMoCA twist. This is not your grandmother’s bingo night. One free beer sample per person. Cash bar and snacks included.

All events are free and take place in SMoCA Lounge, unless noted otherwise. Free events at SMoCA fill quickly and are first come, first served; early arrival is encouraged. Visitors can RSVP and purchase tickets at www.smoca.org.

 

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