Local Art News | September 2021

Madison RutherfordSeptember 15, 2021
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“Self-portrait: Distanced” by Roddy MacInnes is among the artworks included in the new “Socially Distanced” exhibition at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.


Arts events are back! If you’re curious about what’s going on in the local arts community, we’ve curated a list of what’s new and noteworthy this month, from season openings to new exhibits and upcoming shows.

Madison Center for the Arts Offers Free Tickets to First Responders for First Broadway Show
According to its mission statement, the Madison Center aims to “enlighten, enliven and engage community members of all ages and backgrounds through the arts.” That’s why this vibrant venue in the Biltmore area is offering free tickets to first responders for its five performances of Escape to Margaritaville, the Broadway musical based on the songs of beloved musician Jimmy Buffett, which runs September 16-19. For each show, 100 tickets will be reserved for first responders with a valid ID. If the free tickets get snatched up before showtime, a 50 percent off code (1GET50) can be used at online checkout.

I Love Mesa Day Features Live Performances and Free Admission to City Museums
Love Mesa? You’ll be even more infatuated with the East Valley burg on September 25 aka I Love Mesa Day. The event’s mission is to support Mesa businesses and cultural institutions through a variety of family-friendly activities in downtown Mesa, including free admission to the i.d.e.a. Museum, Arizona Museum of Natural History and Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum. Other arts-centric activities include a carnival and free concert series featuring national acts like Young the Giant and Michael Franti Trio.

Phoenix Chorale Announces 2021-22 Season
The Grammy Award-winning Phoenix Chorale returns to the stage for its 2021-22 season, “reUnion,” on October 9. The choir will be performing concerts around the Valley, including its long-awaited return to Trinity Episcopal Cathedral and Camelback Bible Church, as well as new venues in Mesa and North Scottsdale. The season will include A Chorale Christmas in December and re:Birth next spring, which focuses on renewal and reflection.

Arizona Opera Continues Inclusion Initiatives and Welcomes Patrons Back to In-Person Performances
In the initial months of the pandemic, Arizona Opera launched LOUD! (Living Opera, Understanding Diversity), a digital series designed to connect communities through discussions and performances with an emphasis on diversity. It continues its commitment to showcasing diversity and embracing equity as it welcomes back patrons for in-theater performances this December. Its first performance of the season will be El Milagro del Recuerdo (The Miracle of Remembering), which highlights how mariachi music influences many genres of music, including opera.

One-Woman Comedy Show Comes to Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
Jennie Fahn’s award-winning comedy, Under the Jello Mold, takes audiences on a rollercoaster ride of love and loss. It’s a hilariously poignant story about Fahn’s mother and her twilight years, during which she hid her post-mortem instructions in a specific spot. It turns out she was also hiding a secret! Laugh until you cry, cry until you laugh, see why the one-woman play won Best Solo Show at the Hollywood Fringe Festival and learn the importance of discussions surrounding grief and humor. The show will run September 23-26 at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.

 Scottsdale Arts Exhibition Explores the Effects of Social Distancing Through Art
“Socially Distanced” is a new exhibition from Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation that uses the visual arts to depict the effects of distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. It opens September 24 in the Center Space Gallery at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts and highlights the work of 17 Southwestern artists. The works explore relatable emotions such as fear, vulnerability, hope and even humor. Phoenix-based sculptor Patricia Sannit, who created safe opportunities for the arts to remain visible in the public eye throughout the pandemic, is one of the featured artists. “I hope that this exhibition will prove that all was not lost during this dark and stressful time,” she says. “Historically, great art, innovation and creative breakthroughs have emerged from the darkest times in history. I hope that this will once again prove true.”

Timely Solo Exhibition Comes to Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
New York artist and designer Mimi O Chun presents her first solo exhibition at SMoCA through January 23, 2022. Her oversized, soft sculptures encapsulate the often-absurd world in which we live. “It’s all cake” comprises critical and visual reinterpretation of the news, social media and memes that speaks to the pandemic, distanced online experiences and how fun gimmicks can distract from deeper issues.

Arizona Theatre Company Presents 2021 National Latinx Playwrights Award
Now in its 54th season, Arizona Theatre Company has been bringing audiences together through contemporary works and reimagined classics for decades. In 1995, it established the National Latinx Playwrights Awards. Since then, it has been granted to Pulitzer Prize winners and playwrights who have produced plays around the country and the world. This year’s winner is Rachel Lynett, a playwright, producer and teaching artist who wrote Black Mexican, a work about identity and internal biases. They will receive $1,000 and a workshop at Arizona Theatre Company.

Ballet Arizona Reprises Free Community Book Club
Next month, Ballet Arizona is bringing back its quarterly community book club, which will run through April 2022. The free, virtual book club aims to build community and appreciation for dance as an art form. Each title pertains to ballet in some way. The first meeting will be October 20 and will cover America’s Prima Ballerina by Maria Tallchief and Larry Kaplan. Pre-registration is required.