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Congratulations to all of the Arts Hero Nominees!

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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 16 heroes chosen the two 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 Bon Voyage Travel, sponsor of the Arts Hero program. They believe in the program, the arts and the health of the community. 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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LENDRE

KEARNS

Arts administrator says ‘We change the air’ Arts administrator Lendre Kearns’ voice eases into a soft, smooth, storytelling cadence when she describes a sweet spot in her life’s work to connect artists and audience.

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“When an audience is in their seats and the performers are in the wings, the house lights go down and we all inhale at the same time,” Kearns says. “We change the air. And that’s kind of the magical moment when we enter onto the journey of the performance together.” MAKING MAGIC During a 45-year career in arts management and arts marketing (the last 11 years in Tucson), Kearns has made it her business to create magical moments for artists and audience, while making money for venues and arts organizations. She does it by being part business executive, part party planner and part collaborator. In 2007, Kearns, who has worked for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis and La Jolla Playhouse, was recruited by the New York-based Nederlander Organization

to lead Broadway in Tucson. Three years ago, UA Presents handed management and marketing over to Nederlander. Kearns added director of operations and market strategy for UA Presents to her duties. MORE TO GIVE Kearns’ retires in early October. There will be new magical moments, to be sure. (She’s an occasional helper at Carnival of Illusion.) But Kearns also will invest more personal time with organizations like Arts Express, Lead Guitar and Act One. Volunteering is just another way of taking care of the business of connecting artists and audience.

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


LENDRE

KEARNS

Arts administrator says ‘We change the air’ Arts administrator Lendre Kearns’ voice eases into a soft, smooth, storytelling cadence when she describes a sweet spot in her life’s work to connect artists and audience.

arts hero sponsored by

Specializing in customized vacation planning for all types of travel including land tours, cruises, group and adventure travel for over 40 years

“When an audience is in their seats and the performers are in the wings, the house lights go down and we all inhale at the same time,” Kearns says. “We change the air. And that’s kind of the magical moment when we enter onto the journey of the performance together.” MAKING MAGIC During a 45-year career in arts management and arts marketing (the last 11 years in Tucson), Kearns has made it her business to create magical moments for artists and audience, while making money for venues and arts organizations. She does it by being part business executive, part party planner and part collaborator. In 2007, Kearns, who has worked for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis and La Jolla Playhouse, was recruited by the New York-based Nederlander Organization

to lead Broadway in Tucson. Three years ago, UA Presents handed management and marketing over to Nederlander. Kearns added director of operations and market strategy for UA Presents to her duties. MORE TO GIVE Kearns’ retires in early October. There will be new magical moments, to be sure. (She’s an occasional helper at Carnival of Illusion.) But Kearns also will invest more personal time with organizations like Arts Express, Lead Guitar and Act One. Volunteering is just another way of taking care of the business of connecting artists and audience.

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.

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Your local full service agency providing travel services for over 40 years

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

Your local full service agency providing travel services for over 40 years

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


JULIE

PHOTO BY KRISTY MARTIN

SASSE

Visionary curator shines light on artists of the Southwest Tucson Museum of Art luminary Julie Sasse has spent all of her life ahead of her time. That has worked well for galleries and a legion of artists who trace career starts to her foresight. Tucson Museum of Art luminary Julie Sasse has spent all of her life ahead of her time. That has worked well for galleries and a legion of artists who trace career starts to her foresight.

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Your local full service agency providing travel services for over 40 years

ArtsHero-TUC-2018-NOV-JulieSasse.indd All Pages

CURATOR, ARTIST, AUTHOR After spending 15 years at Elaine Horwitch Galleries, both in Scottsdale and Santa Fe, Sasse arrived in Tucson in 1995 to become galleries curator at The University of Arizona. In 2000, she joined TMA, where she holds positions of chief curator, curator of modern contemporary art and curator of Latin American art. She’s also a mixed-media artist and prolific author. (She’s working on a book about the legacy of Horwitch and her era.) Sasse, who has organized more than 300 exhibitions, has a knack for developing themes in new territory. For example, before the high interest in global warming, Sasse curated the acclaimed 2009 TMA exhibit “Trouble in Paradise: Examining Discord Between Nature and Society.” SOUTHWEST TALENT While Sasse says she’s pleased to bring the works of notable international and national

artists to Tucson, she’s particularly proud when she shows Arizona or Southwest artists right alongside them. “That’s when I get my biggest kick: when I’m reminding people that we’ve got good people,” she says. “We’ve got really talented artists living here. We’ve got to stand up and shout it from the rooftop.” Terry Etherton, founder of Etherton Gallery, attended the same Carbondale, Ill., high school as Sasse. He says Sasse’s keen focus on local talent isn’t typical curator behavior. It’s another indication that Sasse has changed little since their high school days. Even then, she knew what was cool and hip before anyone else, he says. “She’s been that way as a curator, too,” Etherton says. “Some of the best shows that TMA has ever done have happened on her watch. … She’s still kind of a visionary.”

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

9/26/18 3:50 PM


JULIE

PHOTO BY KRISTY MARTIN

SASSE

Visionary curator shines light on artists of the Southwest Tucson Museum of Art luminary Julie Sasse has spent all of her life ahead of her time. That has worked well for galleries and a legion of artists who trace career starts to her foresight. Tucson Museum of Art luminary Julie Sasse has spent all of her life ahead of her time. That has worked well for galleries and a legion of artists who trace career starts to her foresight.

arts hero sponsored by

Your local full service agency providing travel services for over 40 years

ArtsHero-TUC-2018-NOV-JulieSasse.indd All Pages

CURATOR, ARTIST, AUTHOR After spending 15 years at Elaine Horwitch Galleries, both in Scottsdale and Santa Fe, Sasse arrived in Tucson in 1995 to become galleries curator at The University of Arizona. In 2000, she joined TMA, where she holds positions of chief curator, curator of modern contemporary art and curator of Latin American art. She’s also a mixed-media artist and prolific author. (She’s working on a book about the legacy of Horwitch and her era.) Sasse, who has organized more than 300 exhibitions, has a knack for developing themes in new territory. For example, before the high interest in global warming, Sasse curated the acclaimed 2009 TMA exhibit “Trouble in Paradise: Examining Discord Between Nature and Society.” SOUTHWEST TALENT While Sasse says she’s pleased to bring the works of notable international and national

artists to Tucson, she’s particularly proud when she shows Arizona or Southwest artists right alongside them. “That’s when I get my biggest kick: when I’m reminding people that we’ve got good people,” she says. “We’ve got really talented artists living here. We’ve got to stand up and shout it from the rooftop.” Terry Etherton, founder of Etherton Gallery, attended the same Carbondale, Ill., high school as Sasse. He says Sasse’s keen focus on local talent isn’t typical curator behavior. It’s another indication that Sasse has changed little since their high school days. Even then, she knew what was cool and hip before anyone else, he says. “She’s been that way as a curator, too,” Etherton says. “Some of the best shows that TMA has ever done have happened on her watch. … She’s still kind of a visionary.”

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

9/26/18 3:50 PM


PHOTO BY JONATHAN EHLER

RICHARD

GREMEL

George Bernard Shaw penned the snarky remark that those who can, do; those who cannot, teach. Richard Gremel flips the script: He’s a successful theater arts teacher because he can do everything so well, and does.

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Your local full service agency providing travel services for over 40 years

The Tucson native is a playwright and composer. He can sing and act. He can build sets and choreograph. TRANSFORMATIVE WORK Gremel, who is in his 11th year at Empire High School, works hard at doing what comes naturally. His robust bibliography speaks to some of his genius. There’s always something in the pipeline. He wrote and composed music for “The Brave Knight, Sir Lancelot,” which will be performed in January at Live Theatre Workshop. EHS Principal Matt Donaldson calls Gremel’s bold, student-centered work to build an award-winning theater program transformative. “He’s just so good at what he does that I know even if it’s outside the box, he’s going to think through all of those things that need to happen,” Donaldson says. “The guy is just amazing.”

IMPACT ON FUTURE Michael Martinez, executive director of Live Theatre Workshop, says Gremel, who is technical director for the company, shows extraordinary dedication in ensuring his students have excellent learning experiences and opportunities to grow in theater work. Gremel’s former students are making their marks in technical theater, in college programs and in community theater. It’s only a matter of time before some reach the big stage. “There isn’t even a question in my mind,” Martinez says. “Who is doing the most of anybody in Tucson that is affecting what the theater art scene looks like? Easily, Richard Gremel.”

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 JONATHAN EHLER

RICHARD

GREMEL

George Bernard Shaw penned the snarky remark that those who can, do; those who cannot, teach. Richard Gremel flips the script: He’s a successful theater arts teacher because he can do everything so well, and does.

arts hero sponsored by

Your local full service agency providing travel services for over 40 years

The Tucson native is a playwright and composer. He can sing and act. He can build sets and choreograph. TRANSFORMATIVE WORK Gremel, who is in his 11th year at Empire High School, works hard at doing what comes naturally. His robust bibliography speaks to some of his genius. There’s always something in the pipeline. He wrote and composed music for “The Brave Knight, Sir Lancelot,” which will be performed in January at Live Theatre Workshop. EHS Principal Matt Donaldson calls Gremel’s bold, student-centered work to build an award-winning theater program transformative. “He’s just so good at what he does that I know even if it’s outside the box, he’s going to think through all of those things that need to happen,” Donaldson says. “The guy is just amazing.”

IMPACT ON FUTURE Michael Martinez, executive director of Live Theatre Workshop, says Gremel, who is technical director for the company, shows extraordinary dedication in ensuring his students have excellent learning experiences and opportunities to grow in theater work. Gremel’s former students are making their marks in technical theater, in college programs and in community theater. It’s only a matter of time before some reach the big stage. “There isn’t even a question in my mind,” Martinez says. “Who is doing the most of anybody in Tucson that is affecting what the theater art scene looks like? Easily, Richard Gremel.”

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


DAVID

PHOTO BY CAROL CARDER

ANDRÉS

Make the community what you hope it will become David Andrés is the uber-curious, multitalented director of the Louis Carlos Bernal Gallery at Pima Community College. He’s the gift who keeps on giving – to students, artists, art lovers and Tucson.

arts hero sponsored by

Your local full service agency providing travel services for over 40 years

In Andrés, students get a respected painter, printer and photographer who received the 2017 Governor’s Arts Award for his exemplary work as an arts educator.

Tucson Museum of Art. He and his artist wife, Julia, have been ushers at Arizona Theatre Company for 26 years. And he also regularly volunteers to register people to vote.

THE CURATOR Artists trust Andrés’ gallery-manager skills to make powerful connections to audiences. Art lovers value the desert dweller’s thoughtful take on ocean environments, a body of work that emerged from beach camping trips to Baja California, that led to buying a boat with friends to explore the Sea of Cortez, which led to scuba diving certification and underwater photography.

AND MORE “I think as a community member, you’ve got to give back,” Andrés says. “If you don’t, I think you’re missing out. … If you want a great place to live, you’ve got to support and try to change the system, or make it what you hope it will become.”

Andrés also has a curator’s regard for Tucson in that he works to help the community present itself. He is president of the Contemporary Arts Society, an auxiliary that supports the

That’s the educator talking. Or the artist. Or the environmentalist. Or the social scientist. Or perhaps all of the above.

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


DAVID

PHOTO BY CAROL CARDER

ANDRÉS

Make the community what you hope it will become David Andrés is the uber-curious, multitalented director of the Louis Carlos Bernal Gallery at Pima Community College. He’s the gift who keeps on giving – to students, artists, art lovers and Tucson.

arts hero sponsored by

Your local full service agency providing travel services for over 40 years

In Andrés, students get a respected painter, printer and photographer who received the 2017 Governor’s Arts Award for his exemplary work as an arts educator.

Tucson Museum of Art. He and his artist wife, Julia, have been ushers at Arizona Theatre Company for 26 years. And he also regularly volunteers to register people to vote.

THE CURATOR Artists trust Andrés’ gallery-manager skills to make powerful connections to audiences. Art lovers value the desert dweller’s thoughtful take on ocean environments, a body of work that emerged from beach camping trips to Baja California, that led to buying a boat with friends to explore the Sea of Cortez, which led to scuba diving certification and underwater photography.

AND MORE “I think as a community member, you’ve got to give back,” Andrés says. “If you don’t, I think you’re missing out. … If you want a great place to live, you’ve got to support and try to change the system, or make it what you hope it will become.”

Andrés also has a curator’s regard for Tucson in that he works to help the community present itself. He is president of the Contemporary Arts Society, an auxiliary that supports the

That’s the educator talking. Or the artist. Or the environmentalist. Or the social scientist. Or perhaps all of the above.

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 BIRDIE FYFFE PHOTOGRAPHY

EM

BOWEN

Saying ‘yes’ to more people

Things don’t add up in Em Bowen’s world, and that may account for why the executive director of the Tucson Poetry Festival has such high hopes for Tucson and its literary arts community.

arts hero sponsored by

Your local full service agency providing travel services for over 40 years

ArtsHero-TUC-2019-FEB-EmBowen.indd All Pages

Bowen sees tremendous potential for a world where there is room for everyone and enough of everything. That worldview requires accommodation for one powerful word, “Yes.”

on the board of Casa Libre en la Solana, of a volunteer at Camp Born This Way, of a storyteller and stand-up comic committed to giving people of color and queer voices a platform.

ROOM FOR ALL In Tucson, Bowen got lots of yeses, early and often, about the art of word craft. Paying it forward is as natural as can be. Today, Bowen says yes to the “idea that there is enough stage time and that there are enough pages and that there are enough words that we don’t lose anything by giving access to more voices.

“The thing that uplifts me when I think about poetry, that makes me feel better about the world we live in, is that the more people, and the more voices and the more stories, experiences and moments that people are able to share, we’ll find the right idea in there somewhere,” Bowen says. “I just think more people participating in these subtle but also direct forms of truthtelling is the best possible solution.”

“We live in a capitalistic society that equates everything,” Bowen says. “It adds and subtracts. That could be the way the world is; it’s not the world that I choose to believe. And so I try to cultivate that energy by saying yes.” THE VOICES It’s an energy of a Spanish teacher and rugby coach who serves

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

12/24/18 10:26 AM


PHOTO BY BIRDIE FYFFE PHOTOGRAPHY

EM

BOWEN

Saying ‘yes’ to more people

Things don’t add up in Em Bowen’s world, and that may account for why the executive director of the Tucson Poetry Festival has such high hopes for Tucson and its literary arts community.

arts hero sponsored by

Your local full service agency providing travel services for over 40 years

ArtsHero-TUC-2019-FEB-EmBowen.indd All Pages

Bowen sees tremendous potential for a world where there is room for everyone and enough of everything. That worldview requires accommodation for one powerful word, “Yes.”

on the board of Casa Libre en la Solana, of a volunteer at Camp Born This Way, of a storyteller and stand-up comic committed to giving people of color and queer voices a platform.

ROOM FOR ALL In Tucson, Bowen got lots of yeses, early and often, about the art of word craft. Paying it forward is as natural as can be. Today, Bowen says yes to the “idea that there is enough stage time and that there are enough pages and that there are enough words that we don’t lose anything by giving access to more voices.

“The thing that uplifts me when I think about poetry, that makes me feel better about the world we live in, is that the more people, and the more voices and the more stories, experiences and moments that people are able to share, we’ll find the right idea in there somewhere,” Bowen says. “I just think more people participating in these subtle but also direct forms of truthtelling is the best possible solution.”

“We live in a capitalistic society that equates everything,” Bowen says. “It adds and subtracts. That could be the way the world is; it’s not the world that I choose to believe. And so I try to cultivate that energy by saying yes.” THE VOICES It’s an energy of a Spanish teacher and rugby coach who serves

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

12/24/18 10:26 AM


PRISCILLA

MARQUEZ

Family and arts are woven into the fabric of her life Family and arts are side-by-side themes in Priscilla Marquez’s life. Rarely are they separate and apart. Together they have threaded through Tucson’s arts and culture scene for at least 35 years.

arts hero sponsored by

Your local full service agency providing travel services for over 40 years

Marquez loves the arts, as her mother did and as her mother’s mother did. Theater is her favorite art form. She appreciates how it informs individuals and sets pulses in communities. LA FAMILIA “Tucson is very la familia; it’s very family,” Marquez says. “And once you start going to organizations or parts of town and get involved, you feel at home. I think in Tucson you can get involved in so much.” As she and her husband, Edmund, were raising a family, Marquez got involved in acting, directing and producing community theater. That meant her family was involved, too. Edmund built sets; her children were on stage. Marquez spent 25 years with the Catalina Players, which began as a small group of fellow churchgoers attending a class using the arts for self-discovery.

“Wonderful experience. I loved it,“ Marquez says. “And then one day I told my husband, ‘It’s been 25 years, I’m done.’” Of course, family played into that decision; her parents needed help, and her daughter was having a baby. NEXT ACT But Marquez, who served three years on the Arizona Theatre Company board and recently retired from the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, is still going strong in the arts. She’s on a University of Arizona theater committee, and she volunteers with Act One and Literacy Connects. And Marquez has stretched her family’s link to the arts to another generation. Her grandchildren attend theater.

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


PRISCILLA

MARQUEZ

Family and arts are woven into the fabric of her life Family and arts are side-by-side themes in Priscilla Marquez’s life. Rarely are they separate and apart. Together they have threaded through Tucson’s arts and culture scene for at least 35 years.

arts hero sponsored by

Your local full service agency providing travel services for over 40 years

Marquez loves the arts, as her mother did and as her mother’s mother did. Theater is her favorite art form. She appreciates how it informs individuals and sets pulses in communities. LA FAMILIA “Tucson is very la familia; it’s very family,” Marquez says. “And once you start going to organizations or parts of town and get involved, you feel at home. I think in Tucson you can get involved in so much.” As she and her husband, Edmund, were raising a family, Marquez got involved in acting, directing and producing community theater. That meant her family was involved, too. Edmund built sets; her children were on stage. Marquez spent 25 years with the Catalina Players, which began as a small group of fellow churchgoers attending a class using the arts for self-discovery.

“Wonderful experience. I loved it,“ Marquez says. “And then one day I told my husband, ‘It’s been 25 years, I’m done.’” Of course, family played into that decision; her parents needed help, and her daughter was having a baby. NEXT ACT But Marquez, who served three years on the Arizona Theatre Company board and recently retired from the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, is still going strong in the arts. She’s on a University of Arizona theater committee, and she volunteers with Act One and Literacy Connects. And Marquez has stretched her family’s link to the arts to another generation. Her grandchildren attend theater.

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 SCOTT GRIESSLE, CREATISTA PHOTOGRAPHY

JOSEPH AND

SOLESTE LUPU-

RODGERS

A ballet studio is born It’s tempting to make a simple love story out of Dancing in the Streets Arizona.

arts hero sponsored by

Your local full service agency providing travel services for over 40 years

After all, the classical ballet studio’s cofounders, Joseph Rodgers and Soleste Lupu-Rodgers, grew up together in ballet school in Tucson. As adults, they took separate paths and left home. A lot of life was lived before they reconnected, returned home and became husband and wife. While love is at the heart of DITSAZ, there is so much more to its reason for being and why it remains a cultural institution. There are both drama and comedy in the telling of a studio based in South Tucson that turns away no one willing to learn classical ballet. DITSAZ comes from the Rodgers’ deep understanding of what at-risk children need to move beyond challenging circumstances and low expectations. Joseph knows where bad turns lead. Soleste knows you can’t go wrong helping kids move the right way. BORN OF SPONTANEITY A funny thing happened one day about 15 years ago. Joseph and Soleste were at a barbecue. A bunch of kids were there doing nothing much. Joseph issued

a challenge: $5 to anyone who could do his dance moves. Eventually, a few dozen kids were out in the street trying to do ballet as neighbors watched. Dancing in the streets. A ballet studio idea was born. THE JOY OF DANCE The Rodgers believe the joy of dance and the discipline behind classical ballet is the perfect platform for children to build inner strength and essential life skills. DITSAZ, founded in 2008, regularly has about 120 students of all ages and physical abilities. “There was a hunger for this,” Soleste says. “DITSAZ has demonstrated that dance education provides atrisk youth, and all students, a vehicle to experience positive teamwork and discipline, develop friendships that challenge cultural barriers, and most important, experience accomplishments that serve to broaden their sense of life possibilities.”

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 SCOTT GRIESSLE, CREATISTA PHOTOGRAPHY

JOSEPH AND

SOLESTE LUPU-

RODGERS

A ballet studio is born It’s tempting to make a simple love story out of Dancing in the Streets Arizona.

arts hero sponsored by

Your local full service agency providing travel services for over 40 years

After all, the classical ballet studio’s cofounders, Joseph Rodgers and Soleste Lupu-Rodgers, grew up together in ballet school in Tucson. As adults, they took separate paths and left home. A lot of life was lived before they reconnected, returned home and became husband and wife. While love is at the heart of DITSAZ, there is so much more to its reason for being and why it remains a cultural institution. There are both drama and comedy in the telling of a studio based in South Tucson that turns away no one willing to learn classical ballet. DITSAZ comes from the Rodgers’ deep understanding of what at-risk children need to move beyond challenging circumstances and low expectations. Joseph knows where bad turns lead. Soleste knows you can’t go wrong helping kids move the right way. BORN OF SPONTANEITY A funny thing happened one day about 15 years ago. Joseph and Soleste were at a barbecue. A bunch of kids were there doing nothing much. Joseph issued

a challenge: $5 to anyone who could do his dance moves. Eventually, a few dozen kids were out in the street trying to do ballet as neighbors watched. Dancing in the streets. A ballet studio idea was born. THE JOY OF DANCE The Rodgers believe the joy of dance and the discipline behind classical ballet is the perfect platform for children to build inner strength and essential life skills. DITSAZ, founded in 2008, regularly has about 120 students of all ages and physical abilities. “There was a hunger for this,” Soleste says. “DITSAZ has demonstrated that dance education provides atrisk youth, and all students, a vehicle to experience positive teamwork and discipline, develop friendships that challenge cultural barriers, and most important, experience accomplishments that serve to broaden their sense of life possibilities.”

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


Proudly supporting the arts in Tucsonfor 1ooyears! -

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These eight heroes were nominated and selected by the community for their hard work and dedication to the arts.

CONGRATULATIONS to the 2018-19 Arts Heroes

Lendre Kearns UA Presents

Glenn Bruner Arizona Theatre Company

Julie Sasse Tucson Museum of Art

Richard Gremel Empire High School

David AndrĂŠs Louis Carlos Bernal Gallery

Em Bowen Tucson Poetry Festival

Priscilla Marquez Act One and Literacy Connects Volunteer

Joseph Rodgers and Soleste Lupu-Rodgers DITSAZ

arts hero sponsored by

ON Media thanks Bon Voyage Travel for supporting the Tucson 2018-19 Arts Hero program. To find out more about these Arts Heroes or to nominate the next Arts Hero, please visit: onmediaaz.com/arts-hero


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 Tucson 2018-2019 Season Honorees