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SRP CARES ABOUT

ARTS & CULTURE

Photo by Reg Madison Photography, courtesy of The Phoenix Theatre Company.

The arts strengthen our regional identity, highlight unique cultures and offer experiences that improve our quality of life. To learn more, please visit srpcares.com. ASC190449-002 3/19


FROM THE PUBLISHER Congratulations to the 2018-19 Arts Heroes! These outstanding individuals were selected based on their involvement with and commitment to making the arts and culture in the community flourish….thus their red capes on our cover. These individuals are heroically dedicated to the work they do and we want to applaud their efforts. The heroes stance on our cover art is indicative of their strength and focused commitment that helps propel the arts community forward. The 2018-19 Arts Heroes join the 18 heroes chosen the three seasons prior; the program launched in 2016. ON Media is committed to the arts and businesses of the community, recognizing you cannot have one without the other. The heroes make it all happen. We applaud Salt River Project, sponsor of the Arts Hero program. They believe in the program, the arts and the health of the community. Thank you, SRP! As you read through this collection of hero stories from the past season, you will note one quality they all have in common: Each is passionate about the role she or he plays. Think about the Arts Heroes in your world and nominate a 2019-20 candidate at onmediaaz.com/arts-hero.

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ALEX

PHOTO COURTESY JARED PLATT

LAING

What it means to be a ‘citizen artist’ Phoenix Symphony principal clarinet Alex Laing has hit his stride on a fascinating journey as a “citizen artist.”

arts hero

The best way to see where Laing is going is to follow his thoughts about classical music, community and being true to himself.

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Laing’s practice is now regularly honored and elevated.

Laing has done more than found his way. He leads.

CITIZEN ARTIST It was the Sphinx Organization that tagged Laing a citizen artist when it awarded him the 2018 Medal of Excellence. In 2017, Musical America put Laing on its list of

Do you know an Arts Hero? Someone who works tirelessly to strengthen, improve and enhance the arts in our community?

Empowering the community through arts and culture.

TRUE TO SELF “It has always been a part of my artistic practice, and it’s become a part of my professional practice in the last four years,” Laing says of being a citizen artist. “The framework of what I’m doing these days is that music is not just sound. It’s sound, words and people. I can locate my practice within those three areas, and my practice is a dialogue between those three areas.”

Top 30 “Movers & Shapers” of classical music. In April, he played Carnegie Hall in an ensemble performance accompanying tenor Lawrence Brownlee in “Cycles of My Being.” Laing, who serves on the board of the Arizona School for the Arts, says this incredible journey doesn’t happen without the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra. It gave him space to be the artist he wants to be, including founder of a local nonprofit, The Leading Tone, that uses music instruction in an after-school setting to advance youth development.

Nominate him or her at onmediaaz.com


ALEX

PHOTO COURTESY JARED PLATT

LAING

What it means to be a ‘citizen artist’ Phoenix Symphony principal clarinet Alex Laing has hit his stride on a fascinating journey as a “citizen artist.”

arts hero

The best way to see where Laing is going is to follow his thoughts about classical music, community and being true to himself.

sponsored by

Laing’s practice is now regularly honored and elevated.

Laing has done more than found his way. He leads.

CITIZEN ARTIST It was the Sphinx Organization that tagged Laing a citizen artist when it awarded him the 2018 Medal of Excellence. In 2017, Musical America put Laing on its list of

Do you know an Arts Hero? Someone who works tirelessly to strengthen, improve and enhance the arts in our community?

Empowering the community through arts and culture.

TRUE TO SELF “It has always been a part of my artistic practice, and it’s become a part of my professional practice in the last four years,” Laing says of being a citizen artist. “The framework of what I’m doing these days is that music is not just sound. It’s sound, words and people. I can locate my practice within those three areas, and my practice is a dialogue between those three areas.”

Top 30 “Movers & Shapers” of classical music. In April, he played Carnegie Hall in an ensemble performance accompanying tenor Lawrence Brownlee in “Cycles of My Being.” Laing, who serves on the board of the Arizona School for the Arts, says this incredible journey doesn’t happen without the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra. It gave him space to be the artist he wants to be, including founder of a local nonprofit, The Leading Tone, that uses music instruction in an after-school setting to advance youth development.

Nominate him or her at onmediaaz.com


PHOTO BY JOEY AMBROSE

GLENN

BRUNER

Never center stage but always at the center Obviously, there’s more to a theatrical production than what actors do on stage. Lights and sound don’t run themselves. Hidden effort moves pieces of scenery. Someone calls cues.

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Empowering the community through arts and culture.

Glenn Bruner, longtime production stage manager at Arizona Theatre Company, controls the obvious. On his best days, no one in the audience knows that. His work goes unnoticed, and that’s fine with him.

conduit between what’s happening in the rehearsal hall and the rest of the organization. During a performance, he runs the show. It’s his job to maintain the intention of the directors and designers.

INVISIBILITY “I suppose I wanted to be an actor for about five minutes,” Bruner says. “A lot of people want to be actors who get into theater, just because it’s a very visible way of entering into the business. But then you find out in short order it’s very hard to get work.”

DOUBLE DUTY But Bruner is unlike most production stage managers because he has mastered the unique ATC challenge of managing plays in two cities. ATC will do six plays this season and will perform each one in Tucson and Phoenix.

As production stage manager, Bruner is never center stage but he’s at the center of everything. He is the main

The Texas native is in his 22nd season as a behind-the-scenes fixture at ATC. He is honored here for all of the obvious reasons.

Do you know an Arts Hero? Someone who works tirelessly to strengthen, improve and enhance the arts in our community? Nominate him or her at onmediaaz.com


PHOTO BY JOEY AMBROSE

GLENN

BRUNER

Never center stage but always at the center Obviously, there’s more to a theatrical production than what actors do on stage. Lights and sound don’t run themselves. Hidden effort moves pieces of scenery. Someone calls cues.

arts hero sponsored by

Empowering the community through arts and culture.

Glenn Bruner, longtime production stage manager at Arizona Theatre Company, controls the obvious. On his best days, no one in the audience knows that. His work goes unnoticed, and that’s fine with him.

conduit between what’s happening in the rehearsal hall and the rest of the organization. During a performance, he runs the show. It’s his job to maintain the intention of the directors and designers.

INVISIBILITY “I suppose I wanted to be an actor for about five minutes,” Bruner says. “A lot of people want to be actors who get into theater, just because it’s a very visible way of entering into the business. But then you find out in short order it’s very hard to get work.”

DOUBLE DUTY But Bruner is unlike most production stage managers because he has mastered the unique ATC challenge of managing plays in two cities. ATC will do six plays this season and will perform each one in Tucson and Phoenix.

As production stage manager, Bruner is never center stage but he’s at the center of everything. He is the main

The Texas native is in his 22nd season as a behind-the-scenes fixture at ATC. He is honored here for all of the obvious reasons.

Do you know an Arts Hero? Someone who works tirelessly to strengthen, improve and enhance the arts in our community? Nominate him or her at onmediaaz.com


PHOTO COURTESY EMILY PLISKE PHOTOGRAPHY

JIM

BRUNER

‘Simple guy’ loves grand spirit of the West “I’m just a simple guy off the farm in Iowa. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.” Jim Bruner quietly and confidently speaks his truth. There is, and always has been, a humble man behind his long list of Valley accomplishments.

arts hero sponsored by

Empowering the community through arts and culture.

ArtsHero-PHX-2018-NOV-JimBruner.indd All Pages

NOT-SO-SIMPLE He is just a simple guy who collects model trains, enjoys Big Band music and loves, with an infectious passion, the West. There is a special spirit and openness here that’s so grand, he says, that anyone who is determined and has good intentions can succeed. For nearly 50 years, Bruner has succeeded in building up the Valley through volunteerism and elected office. He is a key reason the Arizona Diamondbacks have a home in downtown Phoenix; he is a founding board member of the Scottsdale Cultural Council (now Scottsdale Arts); he has served numerous nonprofits, including the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra. LEADER OF THE PACK One project – Western Spirit: Scottsdale Museum of the West – has Jim Bruner written all over it.

Director and CEO Mike Fox says the museum is the epitome of Bruner’s hard work and voluntary service. “As trite as it might sound, but as truly genuine a statement as I can make, there would be no museum today if Jim Bruner hadn’t been the leader of the pack,” Fox says. Museum of the West opened in 2015. It quickly landed on “Best of” lists and earned the Smithsonian Affiliate distinction. “Twelve years ago, we had no art, we had no donors, we had no money,” Bruner says. “We just had an idea and a dream.” And the Western spirit of a simple guy from Iowa.

Do you know an Arts Hero? Someone who works tirelessly to strengthen, improve and enhance the arts in our community Nominate him or her at onmediaaz.com

9/19/18 12:09 PM


PHOTO COURTESY EMILY PLISKE PHOTOGRAPHY

JIM

BRUNER

‘Simple guy’ loves grand spirit of the West “I’m just a simple guy off the farm in Iowa. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.” Jim Bruner quietly and confidently speaks his truth. There is, and always has been, a humble man behind his long list of Valley accomplishments.

arts hero sponsored by

Empowering the community through arts and culture.

ArtsHero-PHX-2018-NOV-JimBruner.indd All Pages

NOT-SO-SIMPLE He is just a simple guy who collects model trains, enjoys Big Band music and loves, with an infectious passion, the West. There is a special spirit and openness here that’s so grand, he says, that anyone who is determined and has good intentions can succeed. For nearly 50 years, Bruner has succeeded in building up the Valley through volunteerism and elected office. He is a key reason the Arizona Diamondbacks have a home in downtown Phoenix; he is a founding board member of the Scottsdale Cultural Council (now Scottsdale Arts); he has served numerous nonprofits, including the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra. LEADER OF THE PACK One project – Western Spirit: Scottsdale Museum of the West – has Jim Bruner written all over it.

Director and CEO Mike Fox says the museum is the epitome of Bruner’s hard work and voluntary service. “As trite as it might sound, but as truly genuine a statement as I can make, there would be no museum today if Jim Bruner hadn’t been the leader of the pack,” Fox says. Museum of the West opened in 2015. It quickly landed on “Best of” lists and earned the Smithsonian Affiliate distinction. “Twelve years ago, we had no art, we had no donors, we had no money,” Bruner says. “We just had an idea and a dream.” And the Western spirit of a simple guy from Iowa.

Do you know an Arts Hero? Someone who works tirelessly to strengthen, improve and enhance the arts in our community Nominate him or her at onmediaaz.com

9/19/18 12:09 PM


GEORG STANGELBERGER A hero takes a bow Georg Stangelberger, artistic director of Phoenix Boys Choir, has spent much of 2018 packing up 20 years of Arizona memories in preparation for a triumphant return to his native Austria.

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Empowering the community through arts and culture.

There is his choir legacy, of course, marked by critical acclaim and a bevy of boys who used their training to become their best selves. Piestewa Peak, Camelback Mountain and Lake Pleasant, where the avid sailor spent lots of time, also made lasting impressions. And so did … pigeon poop. SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY Stangelberger’s final season with Phoenix Boys Choir is a sentimental journey of his musical life and loves. The recent collaboration with ASU celebrating the 100th birthday of Leonard Bernstein had special meaning because Stangelberger toured with Bernstein. The classics concerts will feature Franz Schubert, who is one of Stangelberger’s ancestors. A pops concert will celebrate the 1970s and the music of his youth. A PLACE FOR MUSIC Stangelberger’s finale concert on May 18 will be at Memorial Hall, which also has a

special place in his cargo of Arizona memories. The historic building looked its worst when Phoenix city officials asked Stangelberger to consider its potential. The first thing he noticed was “lots of pigeon dirt,” he says, parting his hands to a depth of about a foot. But then he saw the wood floors, tin roof and hard walls, and knew it would be a good venue. He’s proud of his role in the 2006 bond election that included hall renovations. “It’s a treasure for Phoenix,” Stangelberger says. “It’s one of the best acoustic places we have for chamber music and for choir music.” Thank you, Maestro, for leaving so much behind.

Do you know an Arts Hero? Someone who works tirelessly to strengthen, improve and enhance the arts in our community Nominate him or her at onmediaaz.com


GEORG STANGELBERGER A hero takes a bow Georg Stangelberger, artistic director of Phoenix Boys Choir, has spent much of 2018 packing up 20 years of Arizona memories in preparation for a triumphant return to his native Austria.

arts hero sponsored by

Empowering the community through arts and culture.

There is his choir legacy, of course, marked by critical acclaim and a bevy of boys who used their training to become their best selves. Piestewa Peak, Camelback Mountain and Lake Pleasant, where the avid sailor spent lots of time, also made lasting impressions. And so did … pigeon poop. SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY Stangelberger’s final season with Phoenix Boys Choir is a sentimental journey of his musical life and loves. The recent collaboration with ASU celebrating the 100th birthday of Leonard Bernstein had special meaning because Stangelberger toured with Bernstein. The classics concerts will feature Franz Schubert, who is one of Stangelberger’s ancestors. A pops concert will celebrate the 1970s and the music of his youth. A PLACE FOR MUSIC Stangelberger’s finale concert on May 18 will be at Memorial Hall, which also has a

special place in his cargo of Arizona memories. The historic building looked its worst when Phoenix city officials asked Stangelberger to consider its potential. The first thing he noticed was “lots of pigeon dirt,” he says, parting his hands to a depth of about a foot. But then he saw the wood floors, tin roof and hard walls, and knew it would be a good venue. He’s proud of his role in the 2006 bond election that included hall renovations. “It’s a treasure for Phoenix,” Stangelberger says. “It’s one of the best acoustic places we have for chamber music and for choir music.” Thank you, Maestro, for leaving so much behind.

Do you know an Arts Hero? Someone who works tirelessly to strengthen, improve and enhance the arts in our community Nominate him or her at onmediaaz.com


PHOTO BY KARA OSBURN

KATHLEEN

DOONER

80,000 square feet of comfortable living space Kathleen Dooner is big on family. Really big. As in, she feels like everyone is part of her family.

arts hero sponsored by

Empowering the community through arts and culture.

And it is fitting that Dooner’s home away from home — the Tempe Center for the Arts — is 80,000 square feet of space that’s perfect for entertaining and so much more. “One of the architects says [our lobby] is the living room for Tempe, and so I feel like people come to my living room every day,” says Dooner, TCA’s director of production and facilities. HOME ON THE LAKE Dooner arrived from New York 12 years ago during construction of TCA. She knows every nook and cranny of the lakefront property and excels at making folks feel at home. She is exactly where she wants to be – in huddles about the roof or stage lighting or in placing a “special piece of fabric in the theater that will make it smile.” While a hardhat comes with the territory, Dooner is first and foremost an artist. She has degrees in acting and directing, and she carries the

Equity Card for both actor and stage manager. ART IN THE FAMILY Dooner comes from a family of nine children, and artistic talent runs deep in several generations. The theater community is also her family. Her work in theater, she says, creates a kinship to everyone in the world. “We need to be able to experience things that help us understand that all people experience the same things. … That’s all theater is, giving and helping, enlightening and teaching,” Dooner says. Dooner knows just the place for all of that. She knows it like the back of her hand. Do you know an Arts Hero? Someone who works tirelessly to strengthen, improve and enhance the arts in our community Nominate him or her at onmediaaz.com


PHOTO BY KARA OSBURN

KATHLEEN

DOONER

80,000 square feet of comfortable living space Kathleen Dooner is big on family. Really big. As in, she feels like everyone is part of her family.

arts hero sponsored by

Empowering the community through arts and culture.

And it is fitting that Dooner’s home away from home — the Tempe Center for the Arts — is 80,000 square feet of space that’s perfect for entertaining and so much more. “One of the architects says [our lobby] is the living room for Tempe, and so I feel like people come to my living room every day,” says Dooner, TCA’s director of production and facilities. HOME ON THE LAKE Dooner arrived from New York 12 years ago during construction of TCA. She knows every nook and cranny of the lakefront property and excels at making folks feel at home. She is exactly where she wants to be – in huddles about the roof or stage lighting or in placing a “special piece of fabric in the theater that will make it smile.” While a hardhat comes with the territory, Dooner is first and foremost an artist. She has degrees in acting and directing, and she carries the

Equity Card for both actor and stage manager. ART IN THE FAMILY Dooner comes from a family of nine children, and artistic talent runs deep in several generations. The theater community is also her family. Her work in theater, she says, creates a kinship to everyone in the world. “We need to be able to experience things that help us understand that all people experience the same things. … That’s all theater is, giving and helping, enlightening and teaching,” Dooner says. Dooner knows just the place for all of that. She knows it like the back of her hand. Do you know an Arts Hero? Someone who works tirelessly to strengthen, improve and enhance the arts in our community Nominate him or her at onmediaaz.com


RACHEL PHOTO BY JAMES NWOBU

EGBORO

Finding the intersection of arts and culture Rachel Egboro directs traffic at the intersection of arts and culture, where she helps people make connections. There’s quite a story behind that.

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Empowering the community through arts and culture.

ArtsHero-PHX-2019-FEB-RachelEgboro.indd All Pages

Egboro is the creator, curator and cultivator of The Whole Story, a storytelling series at Phoenix Art Museum that elevates and celebrates the black experience. The quarterly show began its third year this month. FROM HASHTAGS The Whole Story is Egboro’s bold response to a popular narrative about the black experience that was reduced to hashtags – #TrayvonMartin, #SandraBland. It was a conversation going nowhere but to the crowded and confining spaces of fear and anger. As is her habit, Egboro put a lot of thought into how she could make things better. Sparking conversations with less yelling and more listening through the art of storytelling was her answer. TO DIALOGUE Egboro, a Phoenix native and first-generation NigerianAmerican, produces a show featuring black Arizonans who have profound experiences and messages. Whether the stories ring familiar or are entirely

new, they open doors to discovery and authentic human connections. “In a sense, we’re all storytellers,” Egboro says. “I’m just extra curious about people’s journeys.” Curiosity and uncommon imagination helped Egboro land the museum venue. Nikki DeLeon Martin, the museum’s director of external affairs, says Egboro’s keen intellect propels ideas and solutions to another level, and her magnetic personality makes her an extraordinary convener. “She’s lovely in every possible way,” DeLeon Martin says. “Every time I meet her I’m like, ‘You’re so smart and funny and kind and beautiful.’ Every positive thing a person can be, that’s Rachel. … Amazing at every turn.”

Do you know an Arts Hero? Someone who works tirelessly to strengthen, improve and enhance the arts in our community Nominate him or her at onmediaaz.com

3/27/19 10:20 AM


RACHEL PHOTO BY JAMES NWOBU

EGBORO

Finding the intersection of arts and culture Rachel Egboro directs traffic at the intersection of arts and culture, where she helps people make connections. There’s quite a story behind that.

arts hero sponsored by

Empowering the community through arts and culture.

ArtsHero-PHX-2019-FEB-RachelEgboro.indd All Pages

Egboro is the creator, curator and cultivator of The Whole Story, a storytelling series at Phoenix Art Museum that elevates and celebrates the black experience. The quarterly show began its third year this month. FROM HASHTAGS The Whole Story is Egboro’s bold response to a popular narrative about the black experience that was reduced to hashtags – #TrayvonMartin, #SandraBland. It was a conversation going nowhere but to the crowded and confining spaces of fear and anger. As is her habit, Egboro put a lot of thought into how she could make things better. Sparking conversations with less yelling and more listening through the art of storytelling was her answer. TO DIALOGUE Egboro, a Phoenix native and first-generation NigerianAmerican, produces a show featuring black Arizonans who have profound experiences and messages. Whether the stories ring familiar or are entirely

new, they open doors to discovery and authentic human connections. “In a sense, we’re all storytellers,” Egboro says. “I’m just extra curious about people’s journeys.” Curiosity and uncommon imagination helped Egboro land the museum venue. Nikki DeLeon Martin, the museum’s director of external affairs, says Egboro’s keen intellect propels ideas and solutions to another level, and her magnetic personality makes her an extraordinary convener. “She’s lovely in every possible way,” DeLeon Martin says. “Every time I meet her I’m like, ‘You’re so smart and funny and kind and beautiful.’ Every positive thing a person can be, that’s Rachel. … Amazing at every turn.”

Do you know an Arts Hero? Someone who works tirelessly to strengthen, improve and enhance the arts in our community Nominate him or her at onmediaaz.com

3/27/19 10:20 AM


FRAN

PHOTO BY HOWARD PALEY

COHEN

A dancer with a passion to teach Frances Smith Cohen’s life as a dancer was preordained. Her father, who was exceptionally smooth on the ballroom floor, declared that if he ever had a daughter, she would be a dancer.

arts hero sponsored by

Empowering the community through arts and culture.

But Cohen’s 75 years of teaching dance to young children? That’s all her. It’s a passion that likely sparked when she was 4 and soaking in thunderous applause on a stage in Newark, New Jersey. It still burns bright at 87. THE TEACHER Cohen, co-founder in 1972 of the dance program at the University of Arizona, is one of the state’s first champions of modern dance. She currently wears leadership hats at Center Dance Ensemble, Dance Theater West and Wolf Trap, an artsintegrated, early-childhood-learning program. In an exceptional life of dance, teaching young children is one of Cohen’s greatest gifts to Arizona. “We relate,” Cohen says. “They just make me laugh. Even at this age, I have an incredible affinity with them.” She was 5 when her family moved to Tucson. At 12, she was teaching dance classes for 4-year-olds in lieu of paying her instructor.

ARTS - INFUSED EDUCATION Since 1987, Cohen has partnered with Southwest Human Development to ensure young learners with fewer advantages than most experience arts-infused education. Wolf Trap is in 75 classrooms throughout the Valley. Southwest Human Development founder and CEO Ginger Ward marvels at Cohen’s tenacity and vision. “For me, Fran embodies the essence of someone who has incredible talent and incredible energy, and also just gives back to the community,” Ward says. “She’s really a gem. You don’t see a lot of people like her who have been doing it for this long and are still that passionate and intensely serious about the work.”

Do you know an Arts Hero? Someone who works tirelessly to strengthen, improve and enhance the arts in our community Nominate him or her at onmediaaz.com


FRAN

PHOTO BY HOWARD PALEY

COHEN

A dancer with a passion to teach Frances Smith Cohen’s life as a dancer was preordained. Her father, who was exceptionally smooth on the ballroom floor, declared that if he ever had a daughter, she would be a dancer.

arts hero sponsored by

Empowering the community through arts and culture.

But Cohen’s 75 years of teaching dance to young children? That’s all her. It’s a passion that likely sparked when she was 4 and soaking in thunderous applause on a stage in Newark, New Jersey. It still burns bright at 87. THE TEACHER Cohen, co-founder in 1972 of the dance program at the University of Arizona, is one of the state’s first champions of modern dance. She currently wears leadership hats at Center Dance Ensemble, Dance Theater West and Wolf Trap, an artsintegrated, early-childhood-learning program. In an exceptional life of dance, teaching young children is one of Cohen’s greatest gifts to Arizona. “We relate,” Cohen says. “They just make me laugh. Even at this age, I have an incredible affinity with them.” She was 5 when her family moved to Tucson. At 12, she was teaching dance classes for 4-year-olds in lieu of paying her instructor.

ARTS - INFUSED EDUCATION Since 1987, Cohen has partnered with Southwest Human Development to ensure young learners with fewer advantages than most experience arts-infused education. Wolf Trap is in 75 classrooms throughout the Valley. Southwest Human Development founder and CEO Ginger Ward marvels at Cohen’s tenacity and vision. “For me, Fran embodies the essence of someone who has incredible talent and incredible energy, and also just gives back to the community,” Ward says. “She’s really a gem. You don’t see a lot of people like her who have been doing it for this long and are still that passionate and intensely serious about the work.”

Do you know an Arts Hero? Someone who works tirelessly to strengthen, improve and enhance the arts in our community Nominate him or her at onmediaaz.com


GENEVIEVE PHOTO BY CHARISSA LUCILLE

RICE

Stand-up comedy enjoys a boom Early in her stand-up comedy career, a shy, reserved Genevieve Rice received good advice about stage fright: She should channel all that nervous energy onto the stage and into the art form.

arts hero sponsored by

Empowering the community through arts and culture.

Rice burst out of her shell. Now, as a performer and as a producer of the Bird City Comedy Festival, she’s a bright light in the Phoenix comedy scene. COMEDY BOOM The native Oklahoman says she grew up in the comedy boom of the late 1980s and early 1990s. She believes another boom is happening now. The comedy scene in Phoenix is larger and more robust than when she arrived in 2007. What she saw here was similar to what she saw doing stand-up in Oklahoma City: limited opportunities to take the mic and few women and people of color on stage. Rice is happy to see diversity and growth in Phoenix comedy, but she is humble about her role in the change. In just three years, Bird City became a major Arizona celebration and elevation of comic talent. Last year, Vulture magazine put it on its “Best of” list. In addition to the festival and performing, she co-produces the monthly “Jazz and Jokes” show at The Nash.

Bird City is taking a hiatus this year as Rice prepares for the birth of her first child in early May. But she expects the festival to pick up where it left off next year with about 500 performers applying for a spot in the lineup. ANTIDOTE FOR 2020 A healthy dose of comedy may be exactly what’s needed in 2020. “I feel, especially now with our political climate, things are tense,” Rice says. “They’re scary for a lot of people. People need to laugh.” “[Politics] is a double-edged sword right now,” she says. “I really feel that before the election you could say, ‘OK, I’m not going to do any jokes about that. It’s an impolite thing to joke about.’ I feel like now it’s almost impolite to not joke about it.”

Do you know an Arts Hero? Someone who works tirelessly to strengthen, improve and enhance the arts in our community Nominate him or her at onmediaaz.com


GENEVIEVE PHOTO BY CHARISSA LUCILLE

RICE

Stand-up comedy enjoys a boom Early in her stand-up comedy career, a shy, reserved Genevieve Rice received good advice about stage fright: She should channel all that nervous energy onto the stage and into the art form.

arts hero sponsored by

Empowering the community through arts and culture.

Rice burst out of her shell. Now, as a performer and as a producer of the Bird City Comedy Festival, she’s a bright light in the Phoenix comedy scene. COMEDY BOOM The native Oklahoman says she grew up in the comedy boom of the late 1980s and early 1990s. She believes another boom is happening now. The comedy scene in Phoenix is larger and more robust than when she arrived in 2007. What she saw here was similar to what she saw doing stand-up in Oklahoma City: limited opportunities to take the mic and few women and people of color on stage. Rice is happy to see diversity and growth in Phoenix comedy, but she is humble about her role in the change. In just three years, Bird City became a major Arizona celebration and elevation of comic talent. Last year, Vulture magazine put it on its “Best of” list. In addition to the festival and performing, she co-produces the monthly “Jazz and Jokes” show at The Nash.

Bird City is taking a hiatus this year as Rice prepares for the birth of her first child in early May. But she expects the festival to pick up where it left off next year with about 500 performers applying for a spot in the lineup. ANTIDOTE FOR 2020 A healthy dose of comedy may be exactly what’s needed in 2020. “I feel, especially now with our political climate, things are tense,” Rice says. “They’re scary for a lot of people. People need to laugh.” “[Politics] is a double-edged sword right now,” she says. “I really feel that before the election you could say, ‘OK, I’m not going to do any jokes about that. It’s an impolite thing to joke about.’ I feel like now it’s almost impolite to not joke about it.”

Do you know an Arts Hero? Someone who works tirelessly to strengthen, improve and enhance the arts in our community Nominate him or her at onmediaaz.com


BETH AMES

SWARTZ

She’s a renowned artist, but some of her best work isn’t on canvas Beth Ames Swartz’s long, big career as an artist is chronicled in multiple, multi-year series of visual works exploring human connections. Not all of her work, however, is on canvas. In the community where she loves to do good, a Swartz masterpiece 20 years in the making, the Artist’s Breakfast Club, has no end in sight.

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Empowering the community through arts and culture.

The Breakfast Club is a monthly gathering that connects accomplished Arizona-based artists to each other and to movers and shakers in the arts scene. It aligns perfectly with Swartz’s arts practice and follows the example of her parents, who were “mitzvah doers.” CONNECTING AT ‘ABC’ The work of an artist is a lonely business, Swartz says. Breakfast Club, which has a roster of about 160 people, provides the opportunity for artists to talk to each other. Swartz coordinates programming for each event, taking care and delight in giving artists something that nurtures creativity and career development. “I try to create events that will encourage, stimulate and inspire our artists to continue their art practices – events that are informative, supportive, collegial and inspiring,” Swartz says. ESCAPING THE STUDIO Barbara Kemp Cowlin of Oracle has attended nearly

every Swartz gathering for three years. Cowlin say she loves working out of her home studio, but she enjoys the extraordinary Breakfast Club connection to the Phoenix arts community. “It’s miraculous,” Cowlin says of Breakfast Club. “The fact that (Swartz) has dedicated a part of her whole art practice to this is just amazing. I think in years to come there will be a difference because of the way this group of artists has been brought together and communicated and interacted. I can’t say enough about it. It’s wonderful.”

Do you know an Arts Hero? Someone who works tirelessly to strengthen, improve and enhance the arts in our community? Nominate him or her at onmediaaz.com


BETH AMES

SWARTZ

She’s a renowned artist, but some of her best work isn’t on canvas Beth Ames Swartz’s long, big career as an artist is chronicled in multiple, multi-year series of visual works exploring human connections. Not all of her work, however, is on canvas. In the community where she loves to do good, a Swartz masterpiece 20 years in the making, the Artist’s Breakfast Club, has no end in sight.

arts hero sponsored by

Empowering the community through arts and culture.

The Breakfast Club is a monthly gathering that connects accomplished Arizona-based artists to each other and to movers and shakers in the arts scene. It aligns perfectly with Swartz’s arts practice and follows the example of her parents, who were “mitzvah doers.” CONNECTING AT ‘ABC’ The work of an artist is a lonely business, Swartz says. Breakfast Club, which has a roster of about 160 people, provides the opportunity for artists to talk to each other. Swartz coordinates programming for each event, taking care and delight in giving artists something that nurtures creativity and career development. “I try to create events that will encourage, stimulate and inspire our artists to continue their art practices – events that are informative, supportive, collegial and inspiring,” Swartz says. ESCAPING THE STUDIO Barbara Kemp Cowlin of Oracle has attended nearly

every Swartz gathering for three years. Cowlin say she loves working out of her home studio, but she enjoys the extraordinary Breakfast Club connection to the Phoenix arts community. “It’s miraculous,” Cowlin says of Breakfast Club. “The fact that (Swartz) has dedicated a part of her whole art practice to this is just amazing. I think in years to come there will be a difference because of the way this group of artists has been brought together and communicated and interacted. I can’t say enough about it. It’s wonderful.”

Do you know an Arts Hero? Someone who works tirelessly to strengthen, improve and enhance the arts in our community? Nominate him or her at onmediaaz.com


D OY O UK N O WA NA R T S

ONMEDI A I SONTHEL OOKOUT FORARTSHEROES. NOMI NATEYOURARTSHERO AT: onmedi aaz . c om/ ar t s her o

SUP ER HER O?


D OY O UK N O WA NA R T S

ONMEDI A I SONTHEL OOKOUT FORARTSHEROES. NOMI NATEYOURARTSHERO AT: onmedi aaz . c om/ ar t s her o

SUP ER HER O?


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ON Media Arts Hero Phoenix 2018-2019 Season Honorees