The Performing Arts Season

An escape from everyday life

Catherine Walker and Bryce Pinkham, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder

Catherine Walker and Bryce Pinkham, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

By Kathryn M. Miller ~Arizonans are a resilient bunch – anyone who lives through a summer in the Valley can attest to that. Economic downturns are taken in stride. Housing bubble-bursts are recovered from. Budgets are cut. Belts are tightened. Yet somehow, progress is made, growth happens and in the midst of it all, art always finds a way – to be seen and heard, to exhilarate, to challenge, or as Pablo Picasso put it, to “wash away from the soul the dust of every day life.”

Earlier this year, when the state announced 2016 budget cuts to the Arizona Commission on the Arts, the organization came back with a positive message, with Executive Director Robert C. Booker saying, “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.

Canadian Brass

Canadian Brass

Other arts organizations have faced similar challenges and risen to the occasion, as represented by their longevity, such as the Scottsdale Cultural Council, which is celebrating a number of milestones this coming year.

“This season we celebrate a number of milestones: the 40th anniversary of Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, the 30th anniversary of Scottsdale Public Art, SMoCA’s “Sweet 16” and the 15th Scottsdale International Film Festival,” says Neale Perl, president and CEO of the nonprofit Council.

Perl credits an “engaged board, experienced and committed staff and broad base support from individuals, businesses, foundations and government.” The Council is also firmly focused on serving its audiences now and into the future.

“In our case, it’s essential to have strong relationships with artists and programming that’s relevant to our community,” he says. “It’s going to be an extraordinary year for the arts in Scottsdale, and we invite everyone to be part of it.”

Arts organizations are also finding ways to breathe new life into old art forms. By introducing fresh works that appeal to broader audiences, Arizona Opera Company has had an overwhelming positive response to its Arizona Bold initiative, according to General Director Ryan Taylor.

The company introduced audiences to Cruzar la Cara de la Luna and Eugene Onegin this past season and it will continue its bold approach this upcoming season as the first U.S. opera company to present Emmerich Kálmán’s Arizona Lady.

“It has been rewarding to discover the depth of talent who have heard of the enthusiasm from the community and are eager to perform with us,” says Taylor. “Our artistic and production teams have taken particular joy in looking through the company’s 44-year history, discovering titles that have never been presented before, engaging some of the brightest singers, designers and directors whose vision promises to showcase the relevance of incredible masterworks, and invigorate new audiences as well.” |CST

Look for the 2015-16 Performing Arts Preview beginning on page 70.


Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

Offers free admission on Thursdays

Cool off this summer and enjoy free admission on Thursdays from 10am-5pm at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA). Located in Scottsdale’s Old Town district, the SMoCA features compelling modern and contemporary art, architecture and design from around the globe. Designed by award-winning architect Will Bruder, SMoCA’s five-gallery minimalist building includes a public “skyspace” by the acclaimed artist James Turrell, where visitors can experience the ever-changing light of the desert sky. You’ll also find great exhibitions, educational programs with docent-led tours and an audio guide for cell phones. For information, call 480.874.4666 or visit

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