Thursday, April 16, 2015

Artist William Barnhart’s ‘Work of Art’ Building; Exhibition at MCAM on View Through August 16





Mesa based artist William Barnhart works from a ‘work of art’ building. His Studio comes complete with a rock climbing wall, sculpture garden, a fireman’s pole, and a VW Bus mounted 12’ off the floor that has been converted to a bedroom which is accessible by a glass catwalk. After the sub-contractors finished the concrete, block and fire sprinklers, Barnhart used recycled glass, steel and majority of other materials to finish the building with his personal artistic flair. His studio is the base of operations for the 
artwork he produces including sculpture, painting, mono-prints and of course architecture.cid:image003.gif@01D0783B.D3E5A2F0

In 2014 William went on a journey with his 1961 fully restored sailboat “Champion” to the Northwest United States. He ended up mooring the boat in the shadow of the Space Needle at a boat slip on Lake Union, Washington and lived there for 3 months while searching the area for artistic inspiration. The products of that epic journey are called “The Seattle Series” and are currently on display at the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum.

Multiple layers of bold color are first added to a canvas and then the figures are added in charcoal drawing style. Spare figures emerge from vibrant backgrounds and emotional life is always to be discovered in the special attention Barnhart gives to the hands of each person he paints. William Barnhart’s artwork can be enjoyed both from a distance as well as up close as the thick paint strokes give texture, drip paint adds random shaping and needle thin scratching on the surfaces reveals the multiple layers of colors underneath.   These vibrant kaleidoscopes are well worth a trip to Mesa Arts Center on any perfect Mesa spring day.


By LaDawn Lingard

Friday, April 3, 2015

Art Critic for a Day: Last Chance to see 36th Annual Contemporary Craft Exhibition

The 36th Annual Contemporary Crafts Exhibition at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum was not what I thought. Given the name of the exhibition, I thought I might see tables of craft projects for sale like hand-made gift cards for $1 each or the latest knitting fads mass produced for one and all to purchase at various prices under $20. Instead I walked in on a gallery of specialized, and extremely high quality pieces priced anywhere from $295 to $14,000.

Oh. So, not your basic craft fair.

So what makes these pieces worth the big bucks? True artistry and craftsmanship. For instance, look at the meticulous and minute hand stitching on this piece. Probably a million little stiches make up this gem of hand crafting.


“Grains of Time” by Gretchen Boyer deceived me. I thought it was wood carving  but turns out it is actually ceramic with the appearance of wood grain. Who knew that could be done in ceramics?

Now, here is a real wood piece that is beyond comprehension. To achieve the spectacular graining in this rocking chair called “Flame” (by David Belthony) the wood was laminated slab by slab and then sculpted to achieve incredible artistic beauty in a functional piece of furniture.


I could go on and on about the pieces in this exhibit but you’ve got to come see for yourself the many “Contemporary Crafts”  showing at the MCA Museum 36th Annual show. It ends Sunday, April 5!

By LaDawn Lingard

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Life Recipes


Poetry Slam Champions.  Social Activists. Women.  What do you get when you mix these ingredients?  A delicious evening of prose, commentary, comedy and confessional pieces like none other. 

Sonya Renee Taylor is well known for her piece.  The body is not an apology!”  she speaks passionately, “ Discrimination, social inequality and injustice are manifestations of our inability to make peace with the body... When women speak, we erase the political narrative and remind people that we are mothers, students, lawyers and teens.”  

I am empowered and invigorated as her poetry pours out.  Deep rooted feelings of my own as a woman are made evisceratingly evident.  And this is only a YouTube video.  I can’t wait for the in person version.

Artist Denise Jolly has championed the “Be Beautiful” project celebrating the journey to live unapologetically in her own skin. “Denise does not try to preach to us, impress us or command us. Her work is infinitely more valuable because it offers us that rarest of sustaining forces: honesty. Unlike so many poets, she does not imply that she is fearless – only that she is moving, courageously, against those fears. That is how she inspires us to do the same in our own lives” (Ryler Dustin, Write Bloody Author).  Honesty mixed with humility and hubris help me identify with Denise as I study her “Be Beautiful” project.  She has courageously stripped away pride both literally and figuratively to produce a body of work that takes me on a mental journey of introspection.  Do I have courage like that?  If I could learn just a small piece of what these women have learned about self-respecting confidence, I would not only be a better woman but a better human.
Friday April 3rd at Mesa Arts Center. Get your tickets here
By LaDawn Lingard

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Field Day for Your Senses!



Plants are blooming, Spring Training season is here and the weather could not be more perfect. It is the time of year in the Valley when the heat of the summer is temporarily forgotten and the serene song of the sunny outdoors is as enticing as ever.


As we look for excuses to be outside, spark! Mesa’s Festival of Creativity offers an option for friends and entire families. Happening over four days when most Valley schools are on spring break, the festival brings a multitude of things for busy hands and restless minds to do.



At the free festival on Mesa Arts Center’s campus, the four Greek elements – earth, air, fire and water – will be weaved into a celebration of the arts, innovation and creativity. Live music, immersive activities, hands-on happenings and tasty foods will be in abundance.

Arrive in the afternoon to catch live bands playing in the shaded Wells Fargo Garden or stroll down the Shadow Walk to explore interactive art pieces. Play in the Sandboxes of Life, where you can “paint” with light in the sand; make music In Dark Waters by touching a large glowing sculpture that responds with music and shimmering lights; and make Water Light Graffiti by manipulating a huge panel of LED lights that respond to water sprayed on its surface. Take a break with kettle corn or snow cones, enjoy performances in the grassy lawn, or contribute your creativity to the Incredible Shrinking Mural, a colorful tapestry of shrinky dink art.


On Friday and Saturday night the festival will transform to spark! After Dark, with night-time performances and a culminating fireworks display on Saturday. Try it out any day between Wednesday, Mar. 18 and Saturday, Mar. 21; let your senses run wild! www.mesaartscenter.com/spark

By Casey Blake 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Explore the Arts at Mesa Arts Center


Do you need a hobby? If so, Mesa Arts Center has just the thing for you! From glass blowing to sword making to ceramics classes, whatever your interest may be Mesa Arts Center has a workshop for you. You can expect much more than a straight lecture; these are hands-on, do-it-yourself kinds of deals. You will literally get your hands dirty and make some new friends along the way!

Maybe you've always thought you had a little Picasso in you but you never knew where to start or how to channel your inner artist. This is where Mesa Arts Center comes in with our drawing and painting workshops. These workshops give you access to the supplies you’ll need to channel that inner artiste. They are also accompanied by great instructors that are there to guide you as you master your craft.

Have you ever wanted to make your own chalice so you can feel like a King or Queen while you’re at the dinner table? Now you can in one of Mesa Arts Center’s glassblowing classes. Come enjoy this class and make that goblet you've always wanted or maybe a fancy wine glass. The possibilities are endless!

Check one of our glassblowing instructors in this great video!


What are you waiting for: bring your artistic talents down to Mesa Arts Center today!

By Samuel Childress