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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.

Wood artist Steven Portrey will have his works on display and for sale at Art on the Veranda Nov. 5. Photo by R. Mason Callejas

Steven Portrey is a craftsman of segmented woodwork in the City of Maricopa Arizona. For more than 15 years he has been sculpting bowls, vases, lamps and various other ornamental wood items out of his workshop/garage. This year he will be one of several featured artists at the 2016 Art on the Veranda event hosted by the Maricopa Arts Council at The Duke at Rancho El Dorado on Nov. 5.

Watch for more video demonstrations by Maricopa artists this month leading up to Art on the Veranda.

Photo by R. Mason Callejas
Photo by R. Mason Callejas

Kaui Wilson guides an art class during the dinner hour at Native Grill & Wings.

Local artist Kaui Wilson hosts live painting events at local taverns and restaurants. Come out, socialize, sip on your favorite beverage, and paint (or draw) a unique guided masterpiece. All art supplies are provided.

Tuesday, Oct. 11 – True Grit Tavern – 6:30-8:30 p.m
Saturday, Oct. 15 – Silver Spur Grill at the Duke – noon-2 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 17 – 347 Grill – 6:30-8:30 p.m
Tuesday, Oct. 18 – True Grit Tavern – 6:30-8:30 p.m
Wednesday, Oct. 19 – Native Grill & Wings – 6:30-8:30 p.m
Tuesday, Oct. 25 – True Grit Tavern – 6:30-8:30 p.m

Tuesday, Nov. 1 – True Grit Tavern – 6:30-8:30 p.m
Tuesday, Nov. 8 – True Grit Tavern – 6:30-8:30 p.m
Saturday, Nov. 12 – The Silver Spur Grill at the Duke – noon-2 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 15 – True Grit Tavern – 6:30-8:30 p.m
Wednesday, Nov. 16 – Native Grill & Wings – 6:30-8:30 p.m
Tuesday, Nov. 22 – True Grit Tavern – 6:30-8:30p.m
Tuesday, Nov. 29 – True Grit Tavern – 6:30-8:30 p.m

Tuesday, Dec. 6 – True Grit Tavern – 6:30-8:30 p.m
Tuesday, Dec. 13 – True Grit Tavern – 6:30-8:30 p.m
Wednesday, Dec. 14 – Native Grill & Wings – 6:30-8:30 p.m
Saturday, Dec. 17 – The Silver Spur Grill at the Duke – noon-2 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 20 – True Grit Tavern – 6:30-8:30 p.m

Please go to www.KauiWilson.com to sign up. While these events are all ages (8+, please) please be aware that the adults around your minors may be drinking.

Gary Zaimont explains his photographs to interested Maricopans during one of his exhibits at Maricopa Center for Entrepreneurship.

Painter, photographer and musician Gary Zaimont is one of a select group of artists from all over Arizona with a work chosen for the new exhibit at Sky Harbor’s Terminal 4 Gallery, “Arizona Weather: From Duststorms to Snowstorms.”

There were 292 works submitted following a statewide call by the airport earlier this year. Of these, fewer than 10 percent were selected for the exhibit, which now features 29 artists and runs from Sept. 17 to March 20.

Zaimont is the only Maricopa artist in this exhibit, which has the potential to be seen by hundreds of thousands of travelers during the busy holiday season.

Zaimont’s 2012 photograph, “After the Monsoon,” is a poetic, early-evening Maricopa scene featuring Maricopa’s iconic Water Tower in the center of the frame.

“After the Monsoon” is also featured on the front cover of the exhibit’s official press piece.  This photo is one of many dozen by Gary over a three-year period as studies of the water tower from different perspectives, taken at various times of day and in varied atmospheres and lighting.

A Maricopa resident since late 2005, Zaimont lives and works in the city. His media include drawing, painting, art photography, woodcuts, and sculpture maquettes, plus set design for opera productions and a number of original covers for commercial CDs.  His art has been adapted for four movements of an art-music video suite, and earned a prize from the Long Island Art League.

"After the Monsoon," by Gary Zaimont
“After the Monsoon,” by Gary Zaimont

In April 2012, the Arizona Dance Coalition selected a Zaimont drawing as the award to be presented to a long-time supporter at its 2012 Spring Festival Gala Recital at the Tempe Center for the Arts.

Zaimont’s art has been exhibited at the American Center in Paris and in New York.  It is also in permanent business and private collections in Connecticut,  New York City and Minnesota, and in several Maricopa business offices and private homes.  In Maricopa his works have been selected for solo exhibits at MCE, and group shows presented by Maricopa Arts Council at local coffee houses, at City Hall and at Maricopa Public Library.

Other Arizona artists included in the six-month Arizona Weather gallery hail from Sedona, Scottsdale, Flagstaff, Phoenix,  Tucson, Tempe, Black Canyon City, Glendale, Prescott, Sun City, Surprise, Eloy, Goodyear, Cottonwood and Cortaro.

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Councilmember Peggy Chapados speaks at the Open Mic event at Maricopa Public Library. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

September has been a busy month for the arts as the three-season expo “Got Arts, Maricopa” launched. Here were some highlights.

Megan Perry's "Overwhelming Excitement" is among the pieces in the first art gallery at Maricopa Public Library. Submitted

Two art exhibits are opening this month with the same theme: “Vivid Color.”

The Maricopa Artists Gallery at City Hall will be the third in a series that started in December 2015. It displays across a narrow corridor next to council chambers. The show opens with a reception Sept. 6 at 5:45 p.m. and closes Dec. 19.

The opening coincides with a city council work session, which is scheduled to start at 6 p.m., followed by a regular session at 7 p.m.

Dan Beach, executive director of Maricopa Center for Entrepreneurship, which co-hosts the galleries with the Maricopa Art Council, said he expects works from 12-15 local artists to be on display.

That is just the beginning of Maricopa art for the month.

For the first time, Maricopa Public Library is hosting a gallery. Though the art is going up now, the official opening reception is Sept. 9 at 6:30 p.m. Because the art is displayed high on the walls above the conference rooms, the selected pieces are few and large.

The opening will also be an open-mic evening of poetry by adults.
The events are part of “Got Arts, Maricopa,” an expo to promote local artists and performers through a series of events. It was launched with a Poetry Slam at Honeycutt Coffee Aug. 25 and continues through the spring.

GOT ARTS, MARICOPA Fall/Winter Schedule
Sept. 4        Maricopa Artists Gallery at City Hall
Sept. 9        Inaugural Gallery and Adult Open Mic Poetry Evening at Maricopa Public Library
Sept. 22-24    Maricopa Community Theatre teen production of “An Ideal Husband”
Oct. 13-15    Maricopa Community Theatre Mainstage world premier of “Passing Strange”
Oct. 22        Performing Arts Gala at MHS Performing Arts Center with orchestra, chorus and dancers
Nov. 4        Kids’ Poetry Slam at Maricopa Public Library
Nov. 5        Art on the Veranda at The Duke at Rancho El Dorado
        Maricopa High School Theatre production
Nov. 18        World Music Showcase at Copper Sky with Taiko ensemble and Ak-Chin band and dancers
Dec. 3        DSPA Dance Company’s annual Sugar Plum Tea
Dec. 6        Maricopa High School end-of-term concert
Dec. 9        Maricopa Chorus Holiday Concert
Dec. 16        Maricopa Music Circle Chamber Orchestra Winter Serenade
January (TBA)    Studio Crawl 1: Drive-yourself tour of artist studios
Jan. 14        Maricopa Community Theatre Mainstage production of “Little Women”
Jan. 28        Adult Poetry Slam
Dates are tentative

This story appears in the September issue of InMaricopa.

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Maricopa Center for Entrepreneurship opens its June exhibit of local art tonight with an artist’s reception for Samantha Hawksworth.

A stay-at-home mom, Hawksworth took private art lessons in high school, eventually shifting from colored pencils to painting. She now calls herself a self-taught abstract painter.

“My artwork is inspired from within,” said Hawksworth, whose husband works for the City of Maricopa. “Each piece flows from the ideas that the Spirit of God gives me. Some have specific stories; others create their own story as they come to life on the canvas. I find that the best pieces of art are created when my heart takes over and my thoughts are silenced.”

Tonight’s reception starts at 6 p.m. at MCE, 20800 John Wayne Parkway, Suite 108. Hawksworth’s art will be on display all month. For more information, call 520-510-5535


Art filled the meeting rooms at the district offices during the MUSD Art Walk. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Maricopa Unified School District hosted the fourth annual district-wide Art Walk at the district office May 5.

It was the biggest show to date, with hundreds of pieces from all schools and all ages on display. There was also art from teachers and other staff members. First through third place ribbons were awarded in the different school levels.

High school and middle school bands and choirs performed in the courtyard behind the building.

Jennifer Hawkins is the featured artist at MCE for January. Submitted

Maricopa artist Jennifer Hawkins is the January exhibitor for Maricopa Center for Entrepreneurship’s monthly Art & Entrepreneur series.

An artist’s reception is planned for Jan. 6 at 6 p.m.

Hawkins says she has been an artist all her life. She has lived in Maricopa for over 10years. Her favorite things in life are traveling, photography, art and color.

She paints a lot of the photographs she takes. She is mainly an acrylic artist on canvas but has worked with almost every painting and pencil media. She loves impressionist art, but usually has an abstract painting that she is painting on the side at the same time. She seems to love both forms equally and that makes her paintings are all very different. And that is how she has always worked.

MCE is at 20800 N. John Wayne Parkway, Suite 108. Visit www.MaricopaInnovates.com.

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Karma Crossland is a Puma Butte student. Submitted photo

The next artist showcase for Maricopa Center for Entrepreneurship’s Art & Entrepreneurship series features 10-year-old Karma Crossland.

The event is from 6 to 8 p.m. at MCE, 20800 N. John Wayne Parkway, Suite 108.

Karma is in fourth grade at Pima Butte Elementary School. She has been painting for four years.  She loves cats and her first painting was of a cat. She loves to paint all kinds of things. She loves to hike and enjoys being outdoors.

She is a Junior Ranger and encourages people to take care of the environment.  Her hobbies are painting, hiking, and hanging out with family and friends. She loves the Arizona Cardinals.

An artist's reception for Deborah Jay is Wednesday, 6-8 p.m., at Maricopa Center for Entrepreneurship. Photo by Adam Wolfe

By Adam Wolfe

The Maricopa Center for Entrepreneurship will be displaying the quilling masterpieces of Deborah Jay for the month of September.

The works of art are actually thousands of tiny pieces of paper that are rolled up and put together to create an image or sculpture.

“I call myself a paper artist,” Jay said. “I first went into quilling when I saw an article in Workbasket Magazine in 1992. The very first thing I did was a heart, and after that I was hooked and I just started rolling paper. After I left my position back in Chicago, I came out here and started doing it on a daily basis.”

MCE will host a reception for Deborah Jay at 20800 N. John Wayne Parkway, Suite 108, on Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. Appetizers and drinks will be served.

Jay’s art ranges from animals such as eagles and wolves to cowboy boots and figurines. She said the most unique thing she’s made was a pair of cobras. The owner wanted a portrait of his snakes, so she had to make sure the markings on each were exact so he could tell them apart.

“I always wanted to have my own art show, so this is a dream come true,” Jay said. “This is just amazing. I thank MCE for all the help and encouragement they have given me.”

For the MCE, the choice to use Jay’s art as the monthly exhibit was simple. As long as the art meets the criteria of being local and catching the eye of the MCE staff, the organization is proud to display in their offices, Executive Director Dan Beach stated

“We found it fascinating that [Deborah Jay] rolls up tiny pieces of paper and makes these pictures,” Beach said. “You’d never believe how these tiny pieces of paper can become something so beautiful. Part of art is the magic of making something ordinary become phenomenal. DJ’s art is unique and we wanted to share it.”