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For the second year, students at Maricopa High School are hosting Art for the Heart, Maricopa’s community art festival selling creations to benefit the American Heart Association. Displaying her art and helping organize the event is Assistant Director Lexie Nordhoff, a 15-year-old student-artist working with graphic design teacher Maria Pour.

Raven Figueroa at the inaugural Art for the Heart in 2019.

What: Art for the Heart Fine Arts & Crafts Festival
When: Feb. 15, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: Copper Sky Lake, 44345 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Info: 520-568-8100, ext. 4136, Art4HeartAZ.wixsite.com/home


Lexie Nordhoff. Photo by Brady Stamps


The daughter of Teri and Steve Nordhoff, she has lived in Maricopa since she was 5 years old. Through her art, she also explores human psychology, but she has displayed other skills as well. Two years ago, she was the MUSD Spelling Bee champion, and she is on the MHS swim team.

What to know about Lexie Nordhoff

Residence: The Villages
School: Maricopa High School
Year in school: Sophomore

How did you first learn you had an artistic talent?
When I lived in Indiana, my parents owned a pottery store, and I began painting pottery at a young age. This was the beginning of my artistic career. I loved the smells and tactile experience of painting ceramics. My parents always supported my artistic endeavors. As I grew older, I moved away from painting the various bisque structures to painting on canvas.

What is your favorite medium?
Watercolor. I enjoy the freedom and ease of the medium, even when I make a mistake with watercolor, I can incorporate it into the piece. The medium is often difficult to manipulate, which has made me become a stronger artist than I was without it.

What is your favorite genre?
I appreciate surrealism; it allows me to remove myself from my preconceived notions of art and escape from reality.

Describe your favorite piece of art.
One of my favorite pieces is rather strange. It is a Monet piece titled “Pheasants and Plovers.” What I enjoy about this piece is it’s wispy and ethereal; it draws you in and captivates the audience with its peculiarity.

With which of your own works are you most pleased?
My favorite piece that I created is a surrealistic/pop-art portrait of a girl with a hand coming out of her mouth. It is titled “Pink Ladies,” which is a street term for barbiturates, which are highly addictive sedatives. This is a part of my sustained investigation based on indulgence. My work has explored many types of indulgences from gluttony, materialism, infatuation, abuse, cosmetic alterations and even celebrity culture and the negative effects that come with fame. The hand coming out of her mouth represents the struggles being masked by drug abuse.

Outside of art, what are your hobbies/interests?
Leadership, which I pursue with the MHS Graphic Design CTSO, being their vice president, and community services, which I accomplish as being the assistant director of the Art for the Heart Festival.

What do you plan to do with art as an adult?
I would like to pursue my passion for psychology. Art therapy is an avenue I want to explore. Art is a reflection of one’s psyche, the internal toil, happiness and things that we keep from others. That’s what a therapist helps others with.

This story appears in the February issue of InMaricopa.

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Photos by Raquel Hendrickson

Maricopa Arts Council host an artists’ reception for its latest gallery at City Hall Jan. 21. The gallery theme is “Self Awakening” and features the interpretation of local artists in a variety of media. Among the artists on display are Kristal Meloday Hoeh, John Petriello, Jenifer Szoltysik and Tiffany Yazzie.

From left, Grant Hall, Samantha Bayless, Principal Brian Winter and winner Riley Burke. Photo by Kyle Norby

A freshman inspired by a Scooby-Doo mashup won Maricopa High School’s Red Ribbon Week Art Contest. The theme this year was “Stay Drug Free.” Drawing from a DeviantArt illustration by Darrin Brege placing the Scooby gang in Ghostbusters outfits, Riley Burke added a drug-free message for her winning entry.

In second place was senior Samantha Bayless, and in third was freshman Grant Hall. They all took home cash prizes. Honorable mention went to Kat Tolles, Benea Quintero and Ashley Crider Wallace.

Artists and residents check out the art on the walls of City Hall. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

By Joycelyn Cabrera

The City of Maricopa Arts Committee has adopted a new name and was presented with a new initiative that could take effect as early as 2020.

The committee will join another existing committee to become the Cultural Affairs and Arts Advisory Committee. The changes come at the same time as a new initiative planned by City Manager Rick Horst.

The city manager’s Art Initiative is a seven-point list of goals set for the committee to further integrate themselves with community and city management. The initiative as a whole emphasizes public arts as a focal point for the Maricopa community.

“I feel the arts are critical to the city from a wholistic point of view, and to some degree for selfish reasons,” Horst said. “I think the arts are necessary for the quality of life, and it’s necessary as an economic engine for the city and to set us apart as a community.”

Local artists may get the chance to have their art exhibited in city hall and purchased by the city under the initiative’s quarterly art gallery selection. The initiative calls for a $500 budget, authorized by the city manager, so the committee may select pieces for purchase and permanent display around the city.

The initiative also calls for a “social hall” within the current library, where space would be designed and set aside for art-related community events. The space, according to the initiative, would be used for performances, classes or presentations.

Under this initiative, the committee will also determine whether or not public art meets community guidelines and will determine what these guidelines will be in the future.

Quilting by Crystal Dennis

The City Icon Project sets a goal of the committee identifying an “icon” of the community that represents the city as well as leaves lasting impressions on residents and visitors.

The “icon” would be featured as much as possible throughout the community, be it in parks, outside of plazas, or at the entranceways of subdivisions (not unlike the sculpture of wild horses by the Villages at Rancho El Dorado).

Councilmember Nancy Smith served as a bridge between the Arts Committee and the City Council.

“If we found out what our iconic sculpture is, I would say the city manager would be ready to consider something in the year 2020 and start making it happen. I would say the policies that he wants probably will take a year to incorporate as well. I think a lot of it can be done in the year 2020,” Smith said.

Integrating public art into developmental and municipal projects includes public art planning within developmental planning alongside typical architecture and landscape planning. The initiative has the goal of receiving City Council approval for 1 percent of project costs for any future facility development to go toward funding public art for that development.

“I can probably dig up 17 studies that will tell you that a thriving community has to include its arts. Arts are vital just like the schools are vital,” said Carrie Vargas, chair of the Arts Committee.

The goal of defining public art, expectations of city-supported and endorsed art, and policies surrounding public art integration are discussed in the initiative’s “Public Art Master Plan,” which would be developed by the committee to benefit and support local artists.

The Arts committee will be known under a new name and making efforts for a new initiative. Nathan Ullyot, Community Service director, introduced the committee to new responsibilities that come with the restructure of the city branch.

“Arts is ingrained in culture,” Ullyot said. “When we’re talking about art, we’re talking about music, we’re talking about food and dance and culture and theater and all of the things that go into art, how does that look from culture to culture? Those will be the kinds of things that overlap.”

The initiative has yet to reach City Council. However, the name-change and combined responsibilities will take effect immediately. The new initiative and reconstruction of the committee will not change the committee’s overall goals to support local artists in the community.

Joycelyn Cabrera is a graduate of Maricopa High School and a student at the ASU Cronkite School of Journalism.

Maricopa weaver Tiffany Yazzie will have her art on display at Maricopa Public Library this summer. She weaves in the traditional style of Navajo design and stories through the ages.

Yazzie was born and raised on the Navajo Nation in Northern Arizona. Her mother and grandmothers were her first teachers. Her mother showed her how to dress a loom by first creating a warp, setting up a heddle to separate the warp threads and then weave in the yarn. Her grandmother taught her how to care for the sheep and the goats, then to process their hair into yarn.

Her paternal grandmother, Suzie Yazzie, was renowned for her pictorial rugs and demonstrated daily for tourists, photographers and filmmakers from around the world.

Tiffany Yazzie is inspired by vivid color combination and how they interact with various Navajo weaving styles and techniques. She weaves fibers spun from sheep and goat hair into a vertical standing loom through the warp fibers that she strings by hand. These weavings or textiles take 30 to 200 hours to complete. Her designs are not drawn or sketched out before starting to weave. This for Tiffany is creativity being woven in the moment.

“This collection on display highlights a weaving style called the Eye Dazzler,” Yazzie said, “a weaving that stacks shapes in distinct colors leaving no gaps in between them. When gazed upon, the overall textile design dazzles the eyes. Unlike traditional eye dazzlers, I used gaps and shades of brighter colors to highlight the shapes repetitive pattern. This collection took about 300 hours to weave using 2,400 yards of spun wool and mohair.”

The display will be at the Maricopa Public library on Smith-Enke Road for three or four months.

This story appears in the July issue of InMaricopa.

Maricopa Art Committee announced an upcoming Art Gallery show to hang on the walls of City Hall from September through mid-December.

The theme for this show for local visual artists is “Celebrations.” This is a juried gallery of artwork selected by arts advocates and professionals. Celebrating good times with family, events, beautiful Arizona sunsets and anything that inspires your celebration of life is the inspiration for this gallery show.

Click here for the policy, application and instructions. Please note – each JPG of your work needs to be submitted through individual emails. Please include in the subject part of the email. One application only.

Artists name
Artwork title
Medium used
Price (if for sale)



The Art Walk at Maricopa Unified School District came back in full force Tuesday after having to cancel last year’s show. The event, held this time in the foyer of the Maricopa High School Performing Arts Center just ahead of the district’s vocal concert, displayed works of all genres created by all ages, from kindergarten to 12th graders and instructors.

Maricopa artists invited to participate

The inaugural Art for the Heart Festival is set for May 4 on the Great Lawn at Copper Sky.

If You Go
: Art for the Heart Festival
When: May 4, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: Copper Sky Regional Park, 44345 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
How much: Free to attend; $60 to exhibit
Info: 520-568-8100, ext. 4136 

Hoping to fill the void left by the dissolution of Art on the Veranda and Maricopa Arts Festival, a Maricopa High School program is coordinating the community art show. Graphic Design teacher Maria Pour said they want to have as many Maricopa artists as possible participating.

The coordination is in the hands of SkillsUSA students. That program mandates they be involved in creating and running a project that benefits a nonprofit, and the usual approach is to host a clothing drive or a food drive.

“But we wanted something that relates to us, to graphics and art,” Pour said.

So, the young organizers are putting their skills to use in ways that have “real-world application,” she said. Art for the Heart invites artists from all media to display and sell their works at the festival. Pour said 75 percent of proceeds will go to the American Heart Association, the rest to cover overhead.

A 10-by-10-foot booth space is $60, and artists can bring their own tables. Painting, photography, drawing, sculpture, textiles and more are welcome from artists of all ages.

MHS had participated in Art on the Veranda, and Pour understood the challenges involved hosting a community art event. She has 15 students helping to staff Art for the Heart, from creating the plan to designing the logo or handing out water.

The additional challenge is participation, both by artists and art-lovers. Previous organizers have provided her with names of area artists, and she also seeks to reach out to Ak-Chin and Gila River artists.

Previous art display at City Hall.

Maricopa City Hall Arts Committee announced a Spring Gallery show, “Maricopa In Bloom,” for local visual artists.

This is a juried gallery of artwork selected by arts advocates and professionals. Work will be on display April through June. Anticipating the move from Arizona winter to spring, the committee is looking for colorful works for this upcoming gallery. The exhibition name Maricopa in Bloom is left to the interpretation of the artist.

Deadline for submittal is Feb. 28. The show is open to high school ages and up.

Go to www.Maricopa-az.gov and then click on departments/human resources/resource center/city of Maricopa arts on display policy (new). There you can read the policy, instructions and download the application for submittal.


Art tools become still life: Tiffany Yazzie brought photos of the grandmothers who taught her to weave along with her tools. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

The latest series of “Inside the Creative Mind” began Saturday with presentations by Navajo weaver Tiffany Yazzie and art instructor Kristal Melody Hoeh. The series, produced by Maricopa Arts Council, looks at the creative process as described by local artists. Yazzie and Hoeh focused on the engineering aspect of their art, from planning to tools. Yazzie explained the difference between traditional and contemporary Navajo weaving while Hoeh talked about the pros and cons of various painting and drawing media. The event was at Maricopa Public Library.

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Rocky Dunne with some of her glass creations at her Province home. Photos by Raquel Hendrickson

Maricopa Arts Council hosted Day 1 of its Artists Studio Crawl on Saturday. The eight participating artist will open their studios again Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. The crawl is a free, self-driving event. Among the artists is renowned glass artist Rocky Dunne, who started working in glass 10 years ago. Her home is one of two in Province on the tour. The artists have several pieces for sale. Learn more and see a map

Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Maricopa High School Theatre Company launched “Peter Pan” Thursday night for its weekend production. Starring Taryn Story as Peter and Antonio Gonzales as Hook, the play puts its actors and stage crew to the test with very fun results. The well-known story follows the Darling children as they take up with an ageless boy for a bit of adventure. Using a bit of fairy dust, they fly to Neverland and have a jolly old time with its inhabitants of Lost Boys, warriors and pirates. While there are plenty of opportunities to ham it up for the high-energy cast, there are moments of genuine pathos with the worried Mrs. Darling (Kjirsten Lemon) and the core yearning of the Lost Boys for a mother.

This is Story’s first time in a starring role for the company, and she excels as the petulant, boasting, lonesome child that is Peter. As Hook, Gonzales is a preening, scene-stealing pirate captain, a role that is a near opposite of his previous lead role in last spring’s musical “The Baker’s Wife.” Tots in the opening-night crowd loved him, which is high praise. The Darlings getting to fly with Peter Pan are Genevieve Burno as Wendy, Simon Ty and John and Taya Johnson and Michael, and all are just as they should be. The play is full of action and colorful characters, and the cast goes at it with enthusiasm.

The play is directed by Alexandra Stahl, who draws from her cast a high level of performance that is now expected of MHS Theatre Company. Technical Director Kevin Piquette and his crew put together complicated set pieces that sometimes upstaged the actors with their cleverness. Sound and lighting were near perfect. “Peter Pan” continues Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m., and there is also a Saturday matinee at 2 p.m. Tickets are $5.

Central Arizona College hosted its annual Veterans Day Commemoration Tuesday with Julia R. Gusse, a veteran and member of the Maricopa City Council, as keynote speaker. CAC student Timonyeh Shines read a poem, and the Maricopa High School Air Force Junior ROTC presented the colors.

The event also awarded high school and middle school students for their Veterans Day art submissions. In the middle school division, Chloe Adams of Leading Edge place third, Marco Bandin of Leading Edge placed second, Vinnie Fisher of Maricopa Wells Middle School placed first, and Diane Harris of Legacy Traditional received the Artistic Excellence award. In the high school division, Michelle Rodriguez Chavez of Maricopa High School placed third, Katelyn Quigg of MHS was second, Jacquelyn Bui of MHS was first, and Lillian Largo of MHS received the Artistic Excellence award.

Kyra Richards works on a mural at Maricopa Elementary School. Photo by Michelle Chance

A new company is putting people to work with paintbrushes in hand and healing in mind.

VanGo 4 Kids hires independently contracted adult artists to paint outdoor murals and other artworks for customers.

“It’s just to spread joy. We are wanting to employ people to help inspire others to overcome adversity,” said owner Gary Miller.

Ten percent of proceeds will be donated to local organizations that help children. The idea came after a spontaneous painting session in Miller’s backyard.

“I was going through some difficult times myself,” Miller said. “For me spiritually, I just let God have my hand and just painted and the outcome was really cool.”

Miller, who has a doctorate in behavioral health, has spent the last four years on the Maricopa Unified School District Governing Board.

He’s been its vice president since January. In June, Miller announced he would not seek re-election. He is also opting to avoid the congested morning commute into the Valley and spend more time with his family.

“It’s really forced me to be creative and to be able to work locally,” Miller said.

His new venture undertook its first mission at Maricopa Elementary School in July: a pro-bono project featuring a lighthouse mural reflecting the school’s new Leader In Me status.

Gary Miller

VanGo 4 Kids’ first resident artist, Kyra Richards, helped Miller sketch and illustrate the painting on the school’s gymnasium wall.

Richards is a recent Maricopa High School graduate who will pursue a degree in art therapy next year – unsurprising given her background.

At 7 days old, a car accident caused swelling and bleeding in her brain, seizures and other complications. She was unable to express herself with words.

Her mother improvised.

“My mom gave me crayons and paper and said, ‘Show me how you feel.’ I just moved up from there,” Richards said.

A combination of self-teachings and formal art instruction has helped Richards find her voice in unconventional media.

Frankie Miller. Submitted photo

“Honestly, (painting) feels freeing,” Richards said. “I do what I want and how I want it, so it’s like I have control and I have my imagination. It’s just like on an airplane. You feel nothing; you feel free.”

Miller wants his VanGo 4 Kids artists, and even his customers, to learn financial responsibility.

His son Frankie, 13, is already planning how he’ll save, spend and donate money he plans to make by selling his own art.

“I usually like metal and wire. I have good vision,” Frankie Miller said.

His dad envisions VanGo growing from mobile mural company to a company leading art classes, and even building a brick-and-mortar gallery one day.

And no matter if it’s the artists or the art lovers, Miller said he hopes VanGo will inspire catharsis.

“In some way, shape or form we are dealing with some type of adversity,” Miller said. “I discovered how well art can be in the healing process for all of us, whether it’s the artist or the person who’s buying the art.”

Kyra Richards. Photo by Michelle Chance
Photo by Michelle Chance

Maricopa resident Tiffany Yazzie and one of her "eye dazzler" weavings. Photo by Mason Callejas

As the next generation in a legacy woven into the long shadows of Monument Valley, Tiffany Yazzie carefully blends tradition and innovation on her loom.

A weaver of the Navajo tradition, Yazzie makes her own style of rugs that demonstrate why textiles are not just cloth but an art. One of her most popular patterns is the “eye dazzler,” giving the appearance of techno pulsating.

“I really wanted to start with the turquoise and the black and the grays, so I really originally thought I would start with this,” she said, pointing at a piece she displayed for a “Textile Extravaganza” in May, “but I couldn’t help myself with the sun color.”

She calls the piece “Supernova.” She said it took eight months to weave. She was gratified to hear an exhibit visitor tell her it was the most spectacular piece in the room at Maricopa Center for Entrepreneurship.

Before the extravaganza with other textile artists, Yazzie had her own show at MCE.

“Her work and her backstory of weaving through family heritage are so interesting,” MCE’s then-office manager Tracy Schmalenbach said.

Yazzie and her husband moved to Maricopa eight years ago for the same reasons as many other residents.

“It was the small-town feel and the jobs were here,” she said. “I didn’t necessarily want to live in the city. When my husband drove out here, I thought, ‘No, don’t take me far away from home.’ But when we got here, the houses were beautiful, and we both fell in love with it. And I thought, ‘OK, if we’re going to stay here and work, this is the place.’”

Now a stay-at-home mom with three daughters, she grew up in the Navajo Nation in a family closely associated with the land along the Arizona/Utah border.

As a child, she watched her mother and both grandmothers weave. She wanted to try, too, but it was not yet her time. Yazzie first had to learn carding and spinning and taking care of the sheep.

“I just wanted to do what my grandmother and my mother did, just getting to the weaving part once everything was done,” she said. “Now I can do that.”

Her paternal grandmother was Susie Yazzie, who demonstrated Navajo weaving techniques for decades in Monument Valley and became an icon of the art. Photographed repeatedly by Arizona Highways and other publications, she died in 2013 in her 90s – as befitting a legend, her birth year was always in dispute.

Tiffany Yazzie still uses her grandmother’s weaving comb. She has family members in Navajo Nation bring her the wool and goat hair yarn she uses in her weaving. She can point out the shine the goat hair brings to the finished piece. As a member of the Maricopa Arts Council, she has had her work exhibited several times in Maricopa.

She said her works are often function as much as art.

“If you look at this size, this is 30-by-59, you can fold this and it’s about the size of a saddle blanket, so it’s just a fancy saddle blanket,” Yazzie said. “With this size, a lot of cowgirls back home like to just cover themselves when they’re out on the range. But a lot of people like to just use it as a wall tapestry because it absorbs ambient noise, so you don’t get a lot of sound bouncing.

“But some people like to throw it over their couch. It’s just more added texture. And I love how tactile it is. I just want to go up and touch it.”


Click on photos to enlarge

This story appears in the June issue of InMaricopa.

Angelina Martin among her creations in her home workspace. Photo by Mason Callejas


Angelina Martin calls her clothing designs “exotic and eclectic and also eco-friendly.”

“I’m Mexican American, and so I base a lot of Latin American designs and geometric silhouettes in wearable art.” — Angelina Martin

Martin has owned AnymMystik Art & Apparel, a home-based design studio in Maricopa, since 2016, but she has spent a lifetime creating.

“Some of it is ready-to-wear apparel where you can wear it all day and then take it home and wash it,” she said. “And then some of it is paint.”

Her garments are always colorful and often incorporate large bold images like a guitar or a cat’s face. She uses recycled material, cast-offs given to eco-fashion designers by fabric manufacturers. An instructor for eight years at The Art Institute, Mart employs techniques in quilting and layering for constructing garments and may combine that with painted textiles.

“The painting, the quilting, the layers, the various textures kind of sum up my whole wearable art in fashion,” Martin said.

Feedback from fashion shows indicates she should include more painting, and listening to potential customers can impact her direction.

She was one of seven designers participating in the first Arizona Eco Fashion Week in April at the Fashion and Business Resource Innovation Center (FABRIC) in Tempe. That is the home of the Arizona Apparel Foundation and is built to foster and network local designers.

Its goal is “to be Arizona’s first and most comprehensive resource for independent fashion companies that connects them to each other, to the community and to all of the fashion-related services that they need to operate and grow their business.”

Angelina Martin (center) talks about her bright attire as it is modeled. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Martin raves about FABRIC.

“They manufacture small lots for people,” she said. “People go in there with their ideas and then they literally help you from the beginning doing the technical… from choosing patterns, to cutting it and making it for you.”

Earning her spot in fashion shows has also been a boon.

“I did Phoenix Fashion Week, and then after that opportunities kept coming,” she said. “People kept asking me to do their shows.”

The reasons go beyond the creative.

“I’m always on time and always organized. I have the tag with the model’s name, the order they’re walking in. And then I see the chaos of everyone else. You see the fashion sub-culture. You mix the hair, the models, the designers, the makeup, all those people, all those artists, and you see some craziness. I just stand there and don’t say a word and mind my own business. I think that’s why.”

She has exhibited her work at LabelHorde Fashion Show, Sacramento Fashion Week, Arizona State Fair (three blue ribbons), Costume Society of America and more.

Martin has two master’s degrees. She was working on her Master of Fine Art at University California-Davis when she had her son Collin.

“Everyone thought I was the Mexican nanny,” she said. “I would walk around campus with him, and they’d ask ‘Oh, who are you babysitting for?’ I’d say, ‘That’s my kid. Just because he has blond hair and green eyes, it doesn’t mean I can’t claim him.”

In his own way, her son has become part of the business. Collin and his friends have modeled Angelina’s clothes for her collections. He graduated from Maricopa High School in May.

Photo by Mason Callejas

And Martin’s heritage has informed her decisions as a designer and artist, notably creating a “coral creature” sculpture that was photographed and turned into a print.

“I’m Mexican American, and so I base a lot of Latin American designs and geometric silhouettes in wearable art,” Martin said. “And that’s where I got the coral creature. I was learning about Mayan rubber process and Mayan leather making. It’s reed and wire with fabric wrapped around it and rubberized with a Mayan latex rubberizing process.”

Two years after earning her first master’s degree, Martin became an instructor and director at The Art Institute. She first taught in Austin, Texas, then in Sacramento, California.

She earned a Master of Humanities in art and visual media at Tiffin University in 2015. “And that’s when I focused on digital prints. So, it’s been within the last two years that I’ve really pushed the boundaries and discovered who I wanted to be.”



This story appears in the June issue of InMaricopa.

Photo by Mason Callejas

Navajo rug woven by Tiffany Yazzie. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Women Spring Into Art: Textile Extravaganza is on the walls of Maricopa Center for Entrepreneurship for the month of May. The display includes the works of Cynthia Portrey (weaver), Crystal Dennis (quilter), Tiffany Yazzie (weaver), Beth Soucie (hooked rugs), Angelina Martin (clothing designer) Bonnie Del Turco (burlap), Diane Hebert (bead designer/jewelry maker), Nelda Mullins (copper wire jewelry designer) and Linda Taylor (gourd artist).


Brad Kammeyer. Photo by Michelle Chance

Brad Kammeyer, 55, began painting two years ago. Since then, his portfolio has grown to over 731 pieces.

He paints nearly every day. On Sundays, he sometimes begins and finishes up to four original oil paintings.

A large, panoramic landscape of a cabin nestled at the foot of snow-capped mountains took Kammeyer 2.5 hours to complete.

His inspiration derives from visions inside his mind.

“I see a picture all of the time until I paint it,” Kammeyer said. “I’ll see dragons and, until I paint a few dragons, they won’t go away.”

Kammeyer’s passion is also what brings him joy. A handyman by trade, Kammeyer said he’s always wanted to paint, but never thought he’d be able to.

That’s until 27 months ago when he bought art supplies and got to work.

“I found a picture I had of a frozen tree and just tried to paint it. I didn’t know what I was doing,” Kammeyer said.

“Painting no. 1” by Brad Kammeyer

His “Painting no. 1” was practice that led the way for hundreds of wildlife scenes, southwest and forest landscapes, as well as floral portraits.

Kammeyer has since displayed his large collection at events around the city and has lectured at the Maricopa Public Library. Most recently, Kammeyer was named Maricopa Center for Entrepreneurship’s featured artist during an exhibition March 8. His work is on display at MCE for the month.

“I have so much inside that’s trying to get out, and that’s all I can think about,” Kammeyer said.

Kammeyer has lived in Maricopa for 13 years and is originally from Idaho.

Works by Michael Sullivan, Jo Merrymon and Lori McDonald and many other artists will be on display and for sale at Maricopa Arts Festival, formerly known as Art on the Veranda.

One of Maricopa’s premier art expositions is taking on a new name and face this month.

Dec. 9 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., The Duke at Rancho El Dorado will be home to 30 of the area’s most gifted artisans and craftsmen for the Maricopa Arts Festival.

Formerly called Art on the Veranda, the festival has been one of Maricopa’s largest and most comprehensive gatherings of local artists. It will take on a slightly different form this year, festival director Kaui Wilson said.

The previous Art on the Veranda organizers took with them their nonprofit status as well as the name, Wilson said. So, this year she is using her own personal business – Kaui Wilson LLC—to facilitate event planning.

Aside from the name change, the addition of the crafts corner and adult drink specials, it’s pretty much the same as before, she said.

Maricopa Arts Festival will again include a variety of artists and media, including oil painters, glass blowers, metalsmiths, jewelry makers, and textile and fiber artists. However, there will be a stronger emphasis placed on the younger crowd.

“It’s about enrichment,” Wilson said. “It’s [also] about supporting our local artists and youth.”

Kaui Wilson is organizing this year’s Maricopa Arts Festival. Photo by Mason Callejas

Wilson said this year’s festival will include a craft corner for kids hosted by high school students to encourage artistic expression in younger people.

The festival will rely on Boy Scouts and possibly Maricopa High School’s JROTC cadets to assist with some of the heavy lifting and logistics at the event.

One of the previous organization’s figureheads moved away, sending the exposition into a bit of a rejuvenation mode. Wilson said in the wake of the transition, nobody was willing to take the wheel. Having experience organizing arts events, Wilson decided to give it a shot.

“Out of 12 people, I was the only one who thought ‘I can’t let it die,’” Wilson said. “This is the only major art thing we have here, so I decided I would bear the burden there.”

Wilson’s own Art and Sip events have taken off around Maricopa, offering aspiring artists a chance to learn the ins and outs of painting while also socializing at local venues like the 347 Grill and True Grit Tavern.

Also on Dec. 9, after the arts festival closes, Maricopa Arts Council will host a symphony, chorus and dance recital at the Maricopa Agricultural Center at 7 p.m.


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Artist Susan Cameron

Back by popular demand, the Artists’ Studio Crawl is scheduled for Nov. 18, 10 a.m.-2p.m., and Nov. 19, noon-4 p.m.

Hosted by Maricopa Arts Council (MAC), visitors to the artists’ studios will see the processes used to create each artist’s individual works in progress and completed. The artists engage in conversation about what inspires them, tools they use and how those tools create their final works.

Studio crawls are drive-yourself tours around the city allowing the visitor to spend some time at each artist’s studio and enjoy a relaxing atmosphere for an inspirational afternoon. Also this year, two of the artists will be featuring fellow artists in their home.

Glass bead and jewelry maker Diane Hebert will be joined in her home by Linda Taylor, gourd artist, and Deb Jay, quilling artist. Cynthia and Steve Portray, artisans in wood and woven works, will be joined in their home by Nelda Mullins, mixed media artist, and Beth Soucie, weaver artist. Rocky Dunne will be featuring her fused glass creations, and Susan Cameron will display her mixed media and painting works.

This is the beginning of a busy season for MAC, which is also working on a “Shop Small” artisan and outdoor art fair in November for Christmas shopping. A date and location are not yet set.



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Photo by Mason Callejas

City Council voted Tuesday to make an official Arts Committee from the Arts Task Force.

The task force was previously charged with coordinating special art installations in city-owned spaces and will now oversee multiple other aspects including rotating galleries in City Hall and the library as well as promoting the city’s identity through the creation and recognition of icons around the community.

As the committee’s council liaison, Councilmember Peggy Chapados recused herself from the vote, and instead presented the group’s mission statement and newly created policy for art displays.

The Display Policy, Chapados said, will include sales options for artists work.

Photo by Michelle Chance

Local artist Kristal Hoeh presented her gallery Thursday evening during the Art and Entrepreneurship Mixer at Maricopa Center for Entrepreneurship.

Hoeh displayed acrylic works featuring nature scenes, tropical landscapes, florals and still life paintings. The artist also teaches watercolor and charcoal at Central Arizona College, as well as online art history and 2D design courses.

To view more of her work visit her gallery at MCE or view her website.


Ivan Pour chairs the Fine Arts Department at Maricopa High School and is the leader of the band. Photo by Mason Callejas

A union of imagery and sound began when Ivan and Maria Pour wed in 2008.

“In our marriage vows there is even something about ‘supporting (my) artistic endeavors and supporting his music.’” Maria said. “It’s so engrained in who we are.”

The pair’s mutual support of each other’s passions soon led to collaboration inside classrooms at Maricopa High School.

Ivan Pour is the band director; Maria teaches fine art.

Ivan Pour teaches music. Maria Pour teaches art. Photo by Mason Callejas

Every year Maria’s art students visit Ivan’s band room filled with musicians. The band performs for the young artists, who are then instructed to draw “what they hear.”

After the artwork is complete, the musicians take a gallery walk to view the results. Afterward, they compose an original piece of music inspired by their peers’ art.

“Take what you’re seeing and write what sounds like that,” Ivan tells his students.

The band programs at MHS have grown in the near decade since Ivan came to the district. What once was offered as a single class has evolved into a competitive force.

“This year we have three wind (instrument) classes and now a fourth class for the percussionists, and the color guard has their own,” Ivan said.

In April, the Division 1-ranked Maricopa High School Band and Orchestra advanced to the ABODA State Concert Festival for the second consecutive year, and the program continues to produce talented musicians.

Recent graduate and standout tubist Chance Ackerson studied under Ivan Pour during all four years of high school.

“Honestly, being in the marching band was one of the best experiences of my life. It’s basically like a family,” Ackerson said.

The culture within the marching band mirrors that of the art students, and even of the high school, Maria Pour said.

“Whether our students are captains of the football team, cheerleaders, art nerds, band nerds, gay, straight, bi-sexual, black, white, green, it doesn’t matter,” she said. “It’s a family atmosphere here, and the teachers work really hard to get to know each of their kids to teach them valid, really important lessons.”

For the Pours, one of the most vital teachings is reinforcing their belief that art and music education lead to valuable, sustaining careers.

“What a lot of employers are looking for nowadays are people who can also think creatively and critically, and think outside of the box. A lot of our economy now is not creating things, but creating experiences,” Ivan said.

In addition to teaching advanced placement art classes, Maria teaches a 3D art course that constructed costumes for the high school’s recent performance of “Beauty and the Beast.”

She hopes her digital art program grows at MHS.

“I had students the first year I started doing the computer modeling unit in my 3D classes just all of a sudden say ‘Oh my gosh, this is something I could do.’”

A future grant written by Maria could accomplish her goal of exposing students to additional digital art classes and cutting-edge software by next year.

In November, Maria will graduate from Full Sail University with a bachelor’s degree in computer animation. She received her first bachelor’s degree in fine arts from ASU in 2010.

“I want to still stay in traditional art, that’s where my heart is, but using those traditional art skills in more of the modern setting is something that needs to be shown to them,” she said.

At home, Ivan and Maria are raising more young talent, their 5-year-old son Leo.

“There is always the constant battle to see whether he’s going to be an artist or a music nerd,” Maria said.

“It looks like he’s leaning toward art,” Ivan added.

Maria Pour is also growing a digital art program at MHS. Photo by Mason Callejas

This story appears in the August issue of InMaricopa.

Craig Dourmashkin with his portrait of Bob Marley. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Maricopa artist Craig Dourmashkin has a celebration of color on the gallery walls at Maricopa Center for the Arts as the selected artist for June. He often works from black-and-white photographs so he is not distracted or biased by the colors in front of him, and then chooses his own palette of bright hues. Several of his latest works are portraits of late musicians, such as David Bowie and Bob Marley. Visit the gallery during MCE office hours at 20800 N. John Wayne Parkway, Suite 108.

The works of Craig Dourmashkin will be on the walls of MCE this month.

The gallery at Maricopa Center for Entrepreneurship is hosting a new artist for the month of June, displaying mostly portraiture work with an awe-inspiring sentiment of colorful realism.

Maricopa painter Craig Dourmashkin’s 25 years of teaching art and experimenting with different techniques and media have created a uniquely colorful and subtly stylized method that brings a certain sense of magical realism to the canvas.

His striking images bring forth thoughts of an alternate universe where Gabriel Garcia Marquez was born in the post-Vietnam War era and had forfeited the typewriter in place of a paintbrush.

MCE with the help of the Maricopa Arts Council and city officials has gone to great lengths to support Maricopa artists like Dourmashkin.

While some have objected to expending community resources on the arts, others feel it’s crucial to underpin a form of entrepreneurialism that not only helps make the community a diverse and vibrant place, but also makes it a destination for art lovers from the world over.

MCE Director Quintin Baker happens to be one of the latter.

“I believe art is a powerful expression of creativity, and every entrepreneur needs creativity to turn their dreams into reality,” Baker said.  “Much like art, business formation takes commitment, patience, consistency, improvement, and perspectives of others.”

Efforts to bolster the arts in Maricopa were underway at MCE before Baker came aboard last fall. He plans to further support and promote artists like Dourmashkin for as long as possible.

Dourmashkin’s exhibit will be on display for the entire month of June, and a special reception will be held Wednesday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the MCE gallery in their office at 20800 N. John Wayne Parkway, Suite 108.

Student art on display. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Maricopa Unified School District’s Native American Education Program hosted an art expo featuring student artwork, San Carlos artist Douglas Miles of Apache Skateboards giving a mural-painting demo and Maricopa basket weaver Lynnaya Joe showing the tools of her Navajo trade. See gallery below to follow progression of the mural, which was on paper taped to a wall as the sun went down Thursday evening.

The “Got Arts, Maricopa” expo moves into spring with three new gallery options to see and the second two-day Studio Crawl.

* Megan Perry’s one-person show in Maricopa Public Library’s Gallery. Perry’s work marries abstraction with surrealism and is highly sought-after. Several of her pieces have previously been seen in other city spaces (including City Hall, Maricopa Center for Entrepreneurship and Zoyo Yogurt). She is creating works especially designed for the Library’s unusual gallery space – high above the computer area, with generous proportions both in length and width.

* Installation of works by Brad Kammeyer at Maricopa Center for Entrepreneurship on April 5. Kammeyer’s landscapes offer a cooler counterpoint to the warm weather usually visiting the city in springtime. He only began to paint about one year ago, but MCE’s two-plus years of monthly galleries has always offered its spotlight to a wide variety of Maricopa artists and Artisans.

* Mixed-Media Artisans Gallery group show installed in the Art Corridor at City Hall (outside the City Council chamber). A group of works by 10 creators in shallow three-dimensions, this exhibition centers on anything but painting: works in curled and carved paper, fused glass, embossed on tin sheets, formed from molded chalks, scratched on scratch-board, weavings, rugs and quilts. The artisans are Beth Soucie, Cynthia Portrey, Crystal Dennis, Deb Jay, Malies Belksma, Nelda Mullins, Pam Sutton, Rocky Dunne, Susan Adams and Tiffany Yazzie.

* Studio Crawl No. 2 is Saturday, April 8, 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m., and April 9, 1-4:30 p.m. Following the success of February’s first Studio Crawl, MAC decided to host a second Crawl within this same season (in advance of a planned pre-Christmas Crawl). Studio Crawls are drive-yourself tours around the city to the artists’ studios to experience the artists and artisans in their own creative environment, see finished pieces and works in progress, chat with them about their approach to creation, and examine the tools they use. Light refreshments will be served. The April Crawl includes specialists in pencil art, sculpture, fused glass, weaving, inlaid wood artistry, and both professional and student painters. Each creator is sponsored by various supporters: NTO Glass, Art & Sip, Wood and Weaving, MCE, Thru Windows of Time and a local “Art Angel.” Artists in this Crawl are Herman Zelig Neuberger, Susan Cameron, Kaui Wilson, Cynthia Portrey, Steven Portrey, Rocky Dunne, Brad Kammeyer and the Maricopa High School Student Art Club.

This article appears in the April issue of InMaricopa.

In the foreground, Maricopa resident Denice Wager stands behind her daughter Betsy as they peruse the gallery of local artist, while other visitors mingle with some of the artist in the background. Photo by Mason Callejas

Maricopa Arts Council opened its latest rotating art installation at City Hall on Tuesday, showcasing three-dimensional wall hangings.

Fused glass artist Rocky Dunne has two pieces in the City Hall exhibit. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Maricopa Arts Council announces the first Mixed-Media Gallery at City Hall with an opening reception from 5:45 to 7 p.m. on March 21 in conjunction with the City Council meeting. Access to the gallery and the opening reception is free and open to all.

"Enchantment," a quilling piece by Deb Jay.
“Enchantment,” a quilling piece by Deb Jay.

Genuine fruit of MAC’s continuing three-season, all-arts expo, “Got Arts, Maricopa,” the Mixed-Media Gallery idea arose out of the success of February’s two-day Studio Crawl  No. 1.

Cynthia Portrey, participating artisan in the February Crawl and a central member of the organizing committee for Art on the Veranda, conferred with other Maricopa fiber artists to gauge interest in assembling a core of works for display. She then approached the Arts Council with the idea, and ensuing discussions broadened the reach to other types of Maricopa artisans who also work in shallow three-dimensions.

The art corridor at City Hall does not yet have the capacity to showcase sculpture or other fully three-dimensional pieces, but shallow-depth pieces will be displayed on a wall.

Participating artisans include creators specializing in fiber art (rugs, wall-hangings, quilts, wearables); a quilling specialist (curved-paper art); a fused-glass master;  and examples of works created by scratch-out on scratchboard, embossing on tin plates, and molded from chalk.  Among the artisans in this gallery are a Navajo weaver now living in Maricopa and a quilter whose paintings have also been seen in earlier City Hall galleries.

The full roster of creators included in this gallery is:

Beth Soucie – rugs
Nelda Mullins – embossed tin
Cynthia Portrey – weaving
Pam Sutton  – quilts
Crystal Dennis – quilts and jewelry
Rocky Dunne -fused glass
Deb Jay- quilling
Susan Adams – rugs
Malies Belksma – fused glass
Tiffany Yazzie – rug

Weaver Tiffany Yazzie
Weaver Tiffany Yazzie with one of her pieces in the show. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

The City Hall Mixed-Media Gallery continues the gradual shift in MAC’s Expo from Fall and Winter’s focus on the performing arts to the visual realm for spring.  More expo special events will continue in April and May.

Rug artist Beth Soucie with three of her pieces. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson
Rug artist Beth Soucie with three of her pieces. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson
Artists busily hanging art for the gallery at City Hall. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson
Artists busily hanging art for the gallery at City Hall. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Photo by Mason Callejas

Art on the Veranda drew connoiseurs to the Duke at Rancho El Dorado for the annual exhibit, demo and marketplace for artists and artisans from Maricopa and the region.