Local Food Bank: ‘Here to Serve Everyone’

Ready for a weekly backpack food delivery.

By Kathryn M. Miller

No one should have to go hungry, but due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, more people are — 54 million in the U.S. may experience food insecurity in 2020, including a potential 18 million children.

Closer to home, food insecurity is a problem that two million Arizonans are faced with every year. And as Valley residents continue to recover from the economic downturn, local services are feeling the impact as their neighbors try to make ends meet.

“We’ve seen more multiple generation families — grandparents, parents and kids. I’d say we’ve increased maybe 15 to 18 percent,” said Kay Norris, interim director of the Paradise Valley Emergency Food Bank. “But we’ve been keeping up with them, and I’m grateful for that, and our volunteers.”

Founded in 1986, the Paradise Valley Emergency Food Bank provides emergency food assistance to individuals living within the boundaries of the Paradise Valley Unified School District (PVSchools). The private food pantry does not operate under the auspices of any governmental or religious organization, and it is entirely volunteer run.

PVSchools (pvschools.net/about) covers 98-square miles of Northeast Phoenix and North Scottsdale in an area bounded by 7th Avenue and Pima Road, and Northern Avenue and Jomax Road. For the food bank’s two main programs, Weekend Food4Kids Backpack and Family Assist, that translates into roughly 800 Title 1 school students, 34 weeks of the school year, and 10,000–11,000 individuals every year, respectively.

“Our volunteers have been wonderful.”

A major source for the food bank’s stock is from food drives. Norris noted, “Schools last year donated over 60,000 pounds of food. And then we had synagogues and churches, Boy Scouts…” She added that all of that changed in early 2020, “We don’t have those food drives. We haven’t had any since March. So, we have relied on donations to purchase food, and we have never purchased so much food in our entire history.”

With physical donations down and their donated funds being spent on food, donations of items such as toilet paper, shampoo and other personal items have become a necessity. Of course, the need for food is constant, and non-perishable food items are always welcome. Donations can be brought to the Phoenix food bank at 10862 North 32nd St., 9am–3:30pm, Monday through Friday.

The work that is done could not be accomplished without the organization’s many volunteers.

“Our volunteers have been wonderful,” Norris said. “We’ve had to change everything. The day that the pandemic came, a third of our volunteers let us know they couldn’t be volunteering anymore.”

While many older volunteers and those with health issue have had to stay home, Norris said that the organization has been blessed with an influx of new recruits from area churches and through volunteermatch.org. And they always welcome additional support.

Above all, Norris wants residents to know that the food bank is there to help, regardless of circumstances, no questions asked, “If you live in the school district, you are welcome. We are here to serve everyone.” Si usted vive en el distrito escolar, por favor venga a nuestra Despensa Comunitaria DE Paradise Valley Emergency Food Bank. Estamos aquí para servir a todos.

No one should have to go hungry, and thanks to organizations like the Paradise Valley Emergency Food Bank and those who support it, fewer North Valley neighbors will. |CST

To Volunteer:
director@pvefb.org; volunteermatch.org

For Assistance or to Donate:
602.867.9228; pvefb.org

Photos courtesy of Paradise Valley Emergency Food Bank

The Performing Arts vs. The Pandemic: A Story in Three Acts

By Kathryn M. Miller

Act 1: The Villain Enters

In March, Valley theaters were in peak performance mode. Venues were full and residents were enjoying the remarkable variety of live entertainment that the Greater Phoenix area has to offer. And then, like an off-cue villain in a play, a pandemic made an untimely appearance on stage, stealing the spotlight and wreaking havoc on the scenery.

Theaters were shuttered, as were local music venues — live, in-person performance came to a standstill.

For Arizona Theatre Company (ATC), the last in-person performance was The Legend of Georgia McBride, “We opened and closed on March 13,” recalled Sean Daniels, artistic director at ATC.

ATC’s The Legend of Georgia McBride will close its 2020-21 season.

Arizona hunkered down and waited…and wondered. Would these beloved institutions be able to weather the storm?

Act 2: A Gauntlet is Thrown

“I think like everybody, this has been a challenging moment,” Daniels said. “The thing that we are hearing nationwide is that 40 percent of our not-for-profits are not going to survive this moment. So, that’s the bad news.”

Like other arts organizations, ATC had to get creative over the summer months and find ways to not only create art that will keep audiences engaged, but to keep the company viable. A safe return, especially for those whose livelihoods depend on the theater, was continually in the back of Daniels’ mind.

“I always want those people to know that we are doing everything that we can to make sure that the organization goes forward and that it is still here when they come back. The worst thing in all of this would be, it’s over in six to seven months and everybody returns, and the cultural landscape is gone.”

Daniels’ concerns are shared. According to an August Brookings report, the creative economy is one of the sectors most at risk from the COVID-19 crisis. Arts, culture and creativity are one of three key sectors that drive regional economies, and “Any lasting damage to the creative sector will drastically undercut our culture, well-being, and quality of life.”

In fact, Arizona’s arts and culture industries contribute $9.3 billion to the state’s economy, employing 91,878 Arizonans who earn a combined total of $4.9 billion annually.

So, as September rolls in, where do arts organizations stand?

Act 3: Undaunted, A Season Awaits

“The good news is that we have really used this moment to try to pivot to digital and to really try to refortify a healthy organization,” Daniels shared.

Abbey Messmer, programming director at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts feels the same, “We are really grateful as an organization to be intact after five months of completely shutting down our venue, but behind the scenes we’ve all been really active. We’ve managed to adapt in a lot of ways…and certainly that means staying connected.”

Now, six months after they were closed, theaters will crack the doors open ever so slightly. While most will wait until 2021 to resume in-person performances, some venues and organizations have created ways and spaces for people to gather in a safer manner. Others are creating digital programming that will allow them to continue to engage and connect with even broader audiences until they can once again throw the doors wide open.

The Center will kick off its season of live, in-person performances Sept. 26 with Jazz con Alma, part of its Jazz Lounge series.

“We are starting off with local, and I think it is important to activate our community who has been out of work,” added Messmer. “We’re kind of easing back into the season.”

ATC will begin its season with a full line-up of digital programming and, coming full circle, it will close its 2020–21 season with The Legend of Georgia McBride.

Like so many arts organizations, Daniels feels that ATC will come out of 2020 stronger for having faced the challenges presented, but they won’t be able to do it alone.

“We are going to make it through this, but we need the support of the community to be able to do it.” |CST

North Valley Schools Prepared for a Return to Learning

Back-to-school season is frequently a time of anxiety for students and parents alike, and that has never been truer than in 2020. While families are weighing their options for the upcoming school year, school administrators and staff have been working diligently behind the scenes to adjust to an ever-changing landscape. But the bottom line for all parties? Creating a safe environment in which the Valley’s young learners can thrive this school year.

A safe learning environment is something that Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman homed in on in a statement in late July.

“Like all educators, I want students back in our classrooms because that’s the best place for learning and growing. However, we cannot ask schools to make decisions that will impact their teachers’ and students’ health and safety without first providing them with the necessary public health data and funding to make safe decisions.”

At a local level, superintendents at both Paradise Valley Unified School District (PVSchools) and Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD) are focused on safety, and flexibility.

SUSD students will return to learning virtually Aug.10. The earliest SUSD campuses will open for full time on-campus learning is currently Sept. 8, but the school district reiterates that the date may change due to evolving health conditions, public health guidance and potential executive orders from the State of Arizona (susd.org/reopen). [Learn more from SUSD superintendent Dr. Scott A. Menzel in his August CST column on page 6.]

PVSchools will kick off the school year Aug. 5 and will conduct classes in an online learning environment through Labor Day (pvschools.net/reopening).

“In our heart, we all wanted to start the year on-time and in-person,” says Dr. Jesse Welsh, superintendent of PVSchools. “Unfortunately, for the safety of students, families, and staff, that is not possible. As we prepare to open online in PVSchools, students should know that their teachers all miss being able to see them in-person and are looking forward to getting to start learning with them this August.”

To help students and their families make the 2020–21 school year a success — whether learning takes place in-person or online — Dr. Welsh shared these three tips:

  1. Now is a good time to start getting students into a routine to prepare them for the start of school. With many districts beginning the school year online, it will be even more challenging to get back into those daily routines. Start on a regular schedule of what time to go to bed at night and wake up in the morning. Encourage students to start their daily morning routine with some time on learning activities you can do right now, such as reading a book, or online math practice.
  2. Before in-person classes resume, parents should practice with students on how to properly wear cloth masks. Even if just for short periods of time around the home or on trips to the grocery store, it will help prepare students for wearing masks at school.
  3. While many children may be excited to get to see their classmates again when in-person classes resume, some may have anxiety about being around others, particularly if they have been isolated since March. Parents should talk with their children about how they feel about returning to school and help them understand all of the safety measures that will be in place to ensure a safe environment for them.

Dr. Welsh concluded by saying, “While things are going to look different at schools this fall once in-person instruction can begin, we have been working hard throughout this summer to be prepared and we are excited for the new school year.” |CST

Providing the Essentials for Arizona’s Foster Children

Many hands make it work

Today, in the state of Arizona, there are 14,000 children in foster care. When a family is in crisis, and the Department of Child Safety steps in, it is often another family member who is called upon to temporarily care for children. But all too frequently, that family member may not be able to provide for some basic needs at a moment’s notice, which is where Arizona Helping Hands steps in.

“Arizona Helping Hands is the largest provider of essential needs to children in our foster care system, though our core program is providing children with a safe place to sleep,” says Dan Shufelt, president and CEO.

Shufelt says that in 2013, at what he describes as the height of the foster care crisis, the organization learned that many families in urgent foster situations had no one to turn to for essentials, so, they shifted their mission.

“We stepped in back in 2013 and started providing foster families in that type of situation with twin beds and cribs to give those children a safe place to sleep. And that was our toe in the door of helping children in foster care throughout the state of Arizona. And we haven’t looked back.”

In 2019, the organization provided 2,582 children with twin beds. Cribs were provided for 978 infants, many of whom Shufelt says were released into foster care from neo-natal intensive care units after overcoming substance abuse.

A volunteer sorts items in the organization’s 18,000-square-foot warehouse

In addition to beds, Arizona Helping Hands provides clothing, diapers and personal care items, as well as back-to-school items and even safety items to encourage other families to step up and become foster homes.

The organization also wants to make sure that children know that they are loved, which is why it launched a Birthday Package program.

“We want these kids to have a sense of self-esteem and want them to feel loved and supported and we want them to celebrate their birthday,” says Shufelt. “I’ve had many children in foster care who have never celebrated a birthday, and it’s not right. We have to do better than that.”

A representative for any child in Arizona’s foster care system can apply online for a birthday gift package. Pre-COVID-19, volunteers would head into the office every day and, taking the submitted applications, they “shop” throughout the organization’s 18,000-square-foot warehouse. Whether it is a Barbie doll or craft set, games, books or stuffed animals, volunteers find the perfect items for each individual child. The gifts are then wrapped and placed in bags with special messaging, “to let those kids know that they are not forgotten; that they are loved.”

“In 2019, we provided 3,596 children with a birthday package. Ten children every day of last year received a birthday package because of the work that we are doing at Arizona Helping Hands.”

A volunteer wraps birthday presents for Arizona foster children.

Volunteers are instrumental in the birthday program but also assist in other ways. Last year, 1,400 volunteers donated 13,000 hours of service. Of course, the coronavirus changed everything. After closures in March, volunteers began coming back in early June. The organization hopes to increase the number of participants this month and possibly reopen its doors the first week in August. Residents who are interested in volunteering can complete an application at azhelpinghands.org.

Another way that residents can support foster children is to donate to the organization’s Back-to-School Drive. Any donor can go online at ahhbacktoschool.org and make a $35 contribution, which will buy a backpack stuffed full of educational tools to help kids start the school year prepared for success.

“We rely on the generosity of our community in everything that we do, and everybody has the opportunity to utilize their time, talents and treasure to help others in our community,” says Shufelt. “And that’s what we rely on, generous people who have chosen to support an organization like ours that truly makes a difference for children who have been abused and neglected.” |CST

Photos courtesy of Arizona Helping Hands

The Tables Are Set! — Arizona Restaurant Weeks: Dine in or Take Out

It has been a rough couple of months for the food and beverage industry. In Arizona, COVID-19 brought about closures in mid-March that threatened the industry to its core. Restaurant owners had to quickly adapt their business models to offer take-out, curbside and delivery options, and some even offered cocktails to go. Some restaurants became community grocery stores, while others served their community by preparing meals for front-line workers and those in need.

The local community stepped up, too, and helped support the restaurants that make up the Valley’s dynamic culinary scene. In addition to ordering pick-up and delivery, residents responded by patronizing special pop-up events, and donating to virtual tip jars in support of workers.

The closure mandates also meant that the annual Arizona Restaurant Week (ARW) event was placed on hold; however, Arizona Takeout Weeks was created to encourage continued dining support. In the midst of all of the upheaval, the Arizona Restaurant Association (ARA) created Arizona Restaurant Strong (www.azrestaurantstrong.com), a relief fund to provide support for restaurant workers who found themselves suddenly out of work.

Roaring Fork

The House Brasserie

Now that closure mandates have expired and regulations begin to lift, the ARA has announced that Arizona Restaurant Weeks: Dine in or Take Out will take place Friday, June 19, through Sunday, June 28, and Friday, Sept. 18, through Sunday, Sept. 27.

In a statement, ARA president and CEO Steve Chucri said, “We are so grateful for the support of our local dining community in the weeks that followed restaurant closures in March. The quick creation of Arizona Takeout Weeks and Arizona Restaurant Strong efforts could not have been possible without them. As Arizona Restaurant Weeks returns in a modified format to include dine-in, take out and liquor to-go options, we are hopeful that our wonderful community of food enthusiasts will continue to show their support in any way they feel comfortable.”

During the new Arizona Restaurant Weeks: Dine in or Take Out, ARA says that participating restaurants will follow all CDC guidelines for opening and social distancing, whether dining in or taking out. The organization is anticipating more than 200 of the Valley’s restaurants — “from five-star fine dining establishments to locally owned and operated ‘mom and pop’ hidden gems” — to get involved.

Participating restaurants around the state will offer diners a dedicated menu that showcases the chefs’ talents. Featuring a unique tasting opportunity apart from their regular menus, restaurants will offer three-course, prix-fixe menus for $33 or $44 per person. Wine pairings to enhance each course are offered at some establishments for an additional cost.

Several new restaurants joining the June ARW line-up this year include The Dressing Room, The House Brasserie, Josephine, Meritage Urban Tavern, Sel, Stonegrill and Tuck Shop Kitchen and Bar. Of course, many of diners’ favorites are returning to the event again this year. A complete list of participating restaurants can be found on the event website: www.arizonarestaurantweek.com.

Weathering the Storm: Collaboration & Innovation Key to Small Business Recovery

By Kathryn M. Miller ~ National Small Business Week has been postponed. The U.S. Small Business Administration event, originally scheduled for May 3–9, is an annual celebration of entrepreneurship and innovation. Never has there been a greater time for innovation in the small business community, nor a better time for recognition at all levels of our local small businesses.

There are more than 550,000 small businesses, (those with fewer than 500 employees) in Arizona, and it is estimated that these businesses employ one million workers, representing 44.5 percent of the state’s private workforce.

Studies show that when residents buy local, it makes a difference. But what happens when a crisis hits — and businesses are closed, or scramble to change their business model in an effort to meet demands or just stay afloat? At press time, Arizona is still under the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected” Executive Order, which is set to expire April 30. Whether or not safety restrictions are lifted in May, the small business landscape has been forever altered, and the community is looking for help.

Representing more than 3,000 businesses across the state, Local First Arizona (LFA) is just one organization that is stepping up to provide resources for businesses that are experiencing the challenging impacts of COVID-19.

“As you could imagine, most businesses, if not all, have been impacted in a major way from the COVID-19 crisis, so we have stepped in to provide direct consulting to any business that needs support at this time,” said executive director Thomas Barr.

“All businesses are different and dealing with different things and so we’ve taken a personalized approach to consulting with them. This could be helping them apply for loans through the federal government, making them aware of other grants or loans that are available in their cities or towns, and connecting them to professionals that can help them with deeper questions in legal services, accounting, HR, or even PR and marketing, even business coaching.”

Although the services are offered to members of the organization, they have opened up the membership program for any business that is unable to afford to join.

“We launched a sponsor a business program open to people in the community about a month ago and have had over 300 businesses sponsored to become a part of Local First and get access to these resources at no cost.”

The organization is also active in providing current information and resources to the community in general through its COVID-19 webpage. (www.localfirstaz.com/covid19)

“This is something that is just available to the community and will continue to be a resource, and anybody can access it. This includes up-to-date information from the Small Business Administration, information about jobs that are available for people looking, through our partners at Pipeline AZ (www.pipelineaz.com), and a wide variety of information and resources that we’ve collected to be able to communicate to the community.”

LFA is also collaborating with industry-specific organizations such as the Arizona Small Restaurant Coalition (www.arizonasrc.com) and National Independent Venue Association (www.nivassoc.org) to help spread awareness of available resources.

“We are collaborating at every opportunity possible,” said Barr. “We are getting on board with, linking arms with them, and spreading the word.”

Another resource that the LFA team quickly put together is a Support Local website, a portal where community members can find businesses that are open and offering gift cards, delivery and curbside pick-up, and more. (www.supportlocal.xyz)

“Small businesses have always shown up for us, and it’s now our time. If you have the means, you really need to show up for them so that they reopen once we go to rebuild the economy. We can’t take them for granted. At every opportunity, we need to support them and involve them so that we don’t see more businesses close permanently.” |CST

A Time to Rally for Valley Nonprofits

Arizona Gives Day 2020

By Kathryn M. Miller ~ Arizona Gives Day is an annual, online giving movement aimed at celebrating and increasing philanthropy in Arizona through a 24-hour online giving event,

A collaboration between the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits and the Arizona Grantmakers Forum, with FirstBank as the presenting sponsor, the event helps raise awareness about the critical role Arizona nonprofits play in communities and inspires people to give generously creating a thriving and stronger Arizona for all. This year’s event is scheduled for April 7, and the need for support has never been greater.

As April begins, the world finds itself living in unprecedented times. In Arizona, schools are on hiatus, many businesses are temporarily closed or working at half-capacity, events have been postponed or canceled and Valley organizations and institutions — those that serve the most vulnerable among us and those that bring us hope, light and beauty — are struggling to adapt and meet the needs of those they serve.

At the same time that some Valley nonprofits are forced to cancel their spring fundraisers they are also seeing an increase in needs. Shoebox Ministry in North Phoenix is one such organization. The nonprofit coordinates the collection and distribution of toiletry items for people in the Phoenix Metro area who are experiencing homelessness and others who need but cannot afford hygiene items. [Read “Serving the Valley’s Most Vulnerable” on page 10.]

“We have postponed our first-ever fundraising breakfast that was scheduled for Friday, April 3,” says Jarrett Ransom, executive director. “At that event, we planned to showcase the Shoebox history, the hard work we are currently doing to serve the hygiene needs in our community and share our plans for the future. Our fundraising goal for the event was to raise $50,000 and since we no longer have that opportunity and we’re experiencing a surge in the demand for our services, we’re in need of support more than ever. As we move our fundraising to only an online platform, we are working to create ways to engage through video and continue to raise the funds we so desperately need.”

“One of our biggest challenges at the moment is the need to order hygiene items in bulk (and the funds to do so). Bulk products enable us to limit contact with in-kind donors and increases our efficiencies when we lack a volunteer base to help us count and sort items and pack kits.”

Shoebox Ministry is not alone. Many food banks and other social services are feeling extra pressure as Arizona’s unemployment numbers climb amid the spread of the coronavirus. In addition, many of the nonprofit arts institutions have been negatively impacted by closures — with major events canceled and theaters, museums and libraries closed.

The Alliance kicked off early giving March 17, in an effort to address some of the more immediate needs. In addition, a group of donors has provided separate funding to waive payment processing fees normally paid by nonprofits participating in the Arizona Gives Day.

“What this means is more money goes directly to the nonprofits at a time that has never been more critical because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits CEO Kristen Merrifield. “Nonprofits have always had to cover the 2.1 percent fee charged by the payment processor. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we’re able to waive that fee.”

“The beauty of Arizona Gives Day is that it shows what is possible when we all invest our time, talents and treasures to truly lift the tide of all nonprofits that participate,” said Merrifield.

It is going to take more than one day of giving for many Valley nonprofits to recover, but Arizona Gives Day is a positive way to start. Learn more at www.azgives.org. |CST

Scottsdale Arts Festival Celebrates 50 Years

Celebration of creativity returns March 13–15

Commissioned artwork by Stephen and Bonnie Harmston

Since its inception in 1969, the Scottsdale Arts Festival has taken place in several different locations throughout Scottsdale: Scottsdale City Hall, Scottsdale High School, the Executive House, to name a few. Each successive year the scope of the Festival increased and news about the quality of the event spread among regional artists. In 1973, the Scottsdale Fine Arts Commission initiated the idea of commissioning a special commemorative print honoring the event and an untitled work by artist James Rom was chosen. Some of these commissioned pieces will be on display during this year’s 50th anniversary celebration, March 13–15.

In 1989, the Scottsdale Cultural Council (now known as Scottsdale Arts) took over administrating and producing the Scottsdale Arts Festival. International, national and local art exhibitions and installations have always provided engaging enhancements to festival goers.

“The City of Scottsdale has built a reputation as a community that values and supports the arts, and I am very proud that this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Arts Festival! As one of our most popular and long-standing events, the Arts Festival showcases some of the most talented artist from across the nation. Our world class community appreciates arts and culture as evidenced by this event’s 50 years of success, and we look forward to further growth under the Scottsdale Arts leadership,” said Scottsdale Mayor W.J. “Jim” Lane.

The festival attracts nearly 20,000 loyal visitors annually, and this year’s guests will enjoy the best in visual, culinary, cultural and performing arts throughout the newly renovated 20-acre Scottsdale Civic Center Park. The festival also showcases more than 180 jury-selected artists from the United States and abroad. This year’s featured artists are local husband and wife printmakers Stephen and Bonnie Harmston of HarmstonArts (www.harmstonarts.com), who were commissioned to create an original artwork celebrating 50 years of the festival

In addition to art works ranging from painting, sculpture, glass, ceramics, jewelry, photography and other media, festivalgoers can enjoy live music and entertainment, and this year’s lineup has tunes for everyone performed by local and regional bands all weekend featuring music through the decades on two stages.

Attendees can also explore and cultivate creativity with hands-on activities and giant yard games, as well as visit Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (offering free admission for the weekend). The popular Community Art Studio returns with fun for all ages, including community collage on the handcrafted Scottsdale Arts sign and experiences with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale and Scottsdale Artist School, as well as storytelling with the Scottsdale Public Library.

A lineup of local gourmet food trucks and eateries and a variety of fine wines, beers, cocktails and other beverages will be for sale. Additionally, patrons can bring their own reusable water bottles and use the City of Scottsdale’s water trailer for an easy refill to stay hydrated.

To purchase tickets or find complete event information, visit www.scottsdaleartsfestival.org or call 480.499.8587. 


‘Unapologetic’: SMoCA Celebrates Women Artists All Year

Kara Walker, “Untitled,” 1998. Lithograph; 34 1/8  x 26 ¾ inches. Gift of Joe Segura.

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) unveils its first yearlong collection show, featuring all women artists. The exhibition includes a section of rotational highlights and a gallery dedicated to rarely shown installation-based works. “Unapologetic: All Women, All Year” will be on view Feb. 15, 2020 – Jan. 31, 2021.

“A recent study of art museum collections across the country revealed that women artists comprise an average of under 12 percent of the total artists. Considering this revelation, SMoCA dedicates a yearlong exhibition to women artists to bring attention to this inequity, to foster awareness and to promote inclusivity,” said Jennifer McCabe, director and chief curator at SMoCA.

Jaune Quick-to-See-Smith, “An American Breakthrough”

For the year, the Museum presents this exhibition to raise awareness of this lack of inclusion. This exhibition’s title conveys a sense of strength, signaling for systemic change within culture, where individuals of all gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, class, age and ability see themselves represented within museums.

This exhibition presents a variety of mediums and genres of art, including modernist bronze sculpture, large abstract shaped canvases, conceptual art, written word, photography, printmaking, painting, sculpture and collage. Visitors can experience an in-depth look at more than 35 works from the Museum’s collection.

The rotational section of works will create a space that presents the range of SMoCA’s collection, including new acquisitions. The first group of works will rotate in June and a final rotation will take place in October.

The installation-based gallery is on view for a shorter period, from Feb. 15 to May 31, and presents several works for the first time since they were acquired, specifically the Laurie Lundquist and Barbara Penn installations. Some of the notable installation pieces in the exhibition were produced specifically for past exhibitions, making them one-of-a-kind works that cannot be seen elsewhere.

The exhibition is timely — “Unapologetic” is on view during the 100th anniversary of the Women’s Suffrage Movement in the United States, which brought about the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, granting women the right to vote. The Museum is also a presenting institution as part of the Feminist Art Coalition (FAC), a platform for art projects informed by feminisms. Learn more at http://www.feministartcoalition.org.

“Unapologetic: All Women, All Year” is organized by Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. Curated by Lauren R. O’Connell, assistant curator, with Keshia Turley, curatorial assistant. Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art is located at 7374 East Second Street. For additional information, call 480.874.4666 or visit http://www.smoca.org.

Russo and Steele Celebrates Twenty Years — Offers Super Rare Lamborghini at Scottsdale Auction

Russo and Steele Collector Automobile Auctions returns home to Scottsdale Jan. 15–19 at the epicenter of Arizona Car Week at a new site, just south of the North 101 Freeway and Scottsdale Road.

Celebrating its 20th year, Russo and Steele will offer an ultra-rare 1985 Lamborghini Countach QV Downdraft at its 2020 Scottsdale auction.

Known as the most powerful Countach variant ever built, this particular model offers 455 bhp and was used as a factory press car and was the photo subject of the Downdraft brochure distributed at the 1985 Geneva Salon.

Fewer than one-third of all Countach models built were Downdraft variants and Russo Steele says that this model is without question the very best example of this variant to ever be presented at public auction anywhere.  It is 100 percent fully restored by California-based marque specialists at a cost of almost $300,000 to exact original specifications down to brand new Pirelli P7s and Ansa Sports Exhaust, which are all period-correct.  It even comes with original books and all tools complete.

Built in February 1985 in Iconic Bianco Polo Park with Rosso livery, this Countach Downdraft was the very first to be imported into the United States by Al Copeland, car enthusiast and multi-race winning offshore boat racer, and owner of Popeyes Chicken nationwide restaurants.  It was kept in Copeland’s New Orleans car museum for 15 years resulting in just 9,750 miles on the odometer.

“This is probably the most beautiful example of a Countach Downdraft you will see anywhere,” said Drew Alcazar, president and CEO of Russo and Steele.  “Even by today’s standards the car is quite powerful and even though it’s almost 35 years old, it’s design is time less and the stuff of supercar fantasy.”

Running Jan. 15–19, Russo and Steele will provide hundreds of top-quality collector cars for a variety of buyers at their new site in Scottsdale, just off the south side of the Loop 101 Freeway. Featuring the equivalent of five football fields of tents with easy access off the Scottsdale Road exit, acres of contiguous and close proximity parking will greet attendees along with valet parking directly at the main entrance.

For more information about Russo and Steele, visit www.russoandsteele.com or like them on Facebook and Instagram @RussoandSteele.

For more Arizona Car Week events, read: “49th Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction Rolls Into Town” on page 8.

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