Monday, August 18, 2014

Grand Reopening of The Store at Mesa Arts Center

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, step right up for the grand reopening of TheStore, the artists’ cooperative gallery at the Mesa Arts Center. You’ll marvel at the wonders – some never before seen – as TheStore celebrates the beginning of its fourth season at the MAC. New and returning artists offer you a gallery of freakishly fantastic findings and unique gifts.

Right across from TheStore, the Mesa Contemporary Art Museum will host a variety of circus-themed art exhibitions as it reopens on September 12 for the fall season. MAC Artists Co-op members are getting in on the action, creating special circus-themed art for the occasion. Items for sale in TheStore include paintings, pottery, baskets, jewelry, glass, wood, fabric, and so much more.  Additional artists will be on hand for the grand opening event in conjunction with the Museum, with special artist demonstrations and hours extended to 10 pm.

TheStore officially opens on Tuesday, September 9, at 10 am. New and returning artists will be offering new art and new displays.

All artists exhibiting in TheStore are Arizona-based and carefully selected to ensure they offer high quality art. Many of the art pieces sold in TheStore are one-of-a-kind. No sales tax is charged on your purchases and a portion of the proceeds benefits the nonprofit Mesa Arts Center Foundation. Find more information at

Friday, August 8, 2014

Movies Versus Performance

by Kayla Dorvel

During the summer in Arizona, the spot to go is the movies. Inside an air conditioned (very important), large, dark box, I can be transported to another world. The technological advances of today have made new universes and have let us travel to the fictional and the places we wish existed. Movies are convincing story lines, parallel to our own lives in viewing.

In my opinion, Boyhood is the film of the summer, if not the decade. It’s a film shot over 12 years – an incredible idea, and even more incredible to pull off and do well.  If I had a day to dedicate to watch one film over and over again, it would be this one. Richard Linklater, the director who rose to fame with Slacker and Dazed & Confused, just made film history with Boyhood. Not only was it a huge risk (people could have dropped out or become completely different people by the end), but it was also a success, and has such changed the way the viewer looks at the relationship between time and production. Boyhood follows Mason, a boy growing up in Texas. Linklater employed Ellar Coltrane at age six and followed him until age eighteen for the film. It’s a heartwarming, relatable classic. Here is the trailer, if you’re up for a watch:

Because most movie sets are in the real world, it’s more believable that it could possibly be reality. As a continual concert goer, the artist will make it or break it for me when I see them live. I saw Phantogram, an indie pop band, when they came to Tempe’s Marquee Theater in April, and they blew my socks off. The couple had so much energy in their live act that it moved the crowd. I could feel the energy from their voices and their excitement for performing. It’s a mirror effect; the artist is excited to perform, therefore, the audience is excited to hear them play. Because of their show, Phantogram has gained respect in my book, and when I listen to their albums, I will always think of that concert and how good it was.

Even though acting in theater and movies is a little different, the same concept applies to live performance. It moves the crowd.  Live performance has something that movies never will. In live performance we can breathe the same air in the same room as the performers. That aspect alone is worth so much more than a movie ticket because it doesn’t take us out of reality; it brings the reality of the action to us, the audience. Human interaction is vital to the survival of live theater.  Every live performance is different; movies are the exact same thing over and over and over. There are retakes in movies, while in theater there aren’t. It matters that I see the emotion in real time in the theater, rather than 6 months later after post production. I can see a movie during the month long run at my local cinema; an amazing show will only come to town for a couple of nights to my premiere theater destination (ahem, Mesa Arts Center, ahem).

The shows that I am most excited to see this season at the MAC would include Mayda Del Valle, Paula Poundstone’s NYE show and Potted Potter. Mayda Del Valle’s talent and perspective is what puts her at the top of her game; she’s been put on Oprah’s ‘O Power List’ and Smithsonian Magazine listed her on the ‘Americas Best Innovators in the Arts and Sciences’ list. Del Valle takes a lot from her experiences as a Latina female growing up on Chicago’s South Side. Anyone who listens to NPR would recognize Paula Poundstone’s voice from Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me… and now she’s coming to town so we can laugh with her in person! As a Harry Potter fanatic, I am probably the most excited for Potted Potter – the live reenactment of all the Harry Potter books in one show! I couldn’t ask for a better concept for a performance.

Here are links to my top three picks for shows this season:

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Behind the Studio Doors: Neon Edition

If neon is a word you haven’t heard since the ‘80s, prepare to have your mind blown. In yet another instance of peering behind the art studio doors and finding something amazing, a glass workshop with a focus on neon was recently held here at the MAC.

Instructors Jason Chakravarty and Steve Ciezki taught students how to work with neon and illuminate nontraditional glass forms, including vessels and sculpted forms participants created in the hot shop.  Students left with glass forms that are filled with gas and can be illuminated. 

Below are some pictures and short videos of the completed works and the process. This particular workshop is not offered again until January, but there are many other interesting art classes and workshops starting this fall. Registration begins soon, so follow this link to find out more:

video video

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Grin and Grill It: What's Hot in the Welding Studio Right Now

Art happens everywhere at the MAC- surprises await behind each studio door. Today we ventured to the welding studio, where we found Jim Elling with his latest creation. It’s not just an interesting piece of art, but it is also a functional grill!

From the toothy grin to the tail pipe that spews smoke, we were taken with the whimsy and detail of his creation. He completed it in the last class session and it took him around 8 weeks to finish. We were amazed when we learned that he did this in the Introduction to Welding class!

Here’s Jim with his work and a closer shot of just the grill. 

We also caught M. J. Barret working on her latest piece.

Fall classes are starting soon. Your chance to work with a blowtorch (or paintbrush) is just around the corner! To get more information on classes and class registration, click here:

Friday, July 11, 2014

Sea Urchins at Summer Arts Camp

This week at Summer Arts Camp the theme is Finding Nemo.  We found some campers hard at work creating Salt Dough and Toothpick Sea Urchins. 

Little hands shaped flour, salt, and food coloring into colorful urchin bodies. . .  

while little faces looked steeped in concentration.


At last, masterpieces were revealed!

Summer Arts Camp continues with weekly themed sessions through August 1.