Announcing the 2015-2016 PLACE VI Awardees

The Tucson Pima Arts Council is proud to announce the PLACE VI Grant awardees. This year’s PLACE Grant, which is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and Pima County, has a special focus on festivals, celebrations and heritage practices. Projects actively engage the public in arts and cultural activities that highlight the region’s rich diversity, while strengthening bonds within under-served communities.

The awardees are:

The Borderlands Theater presents Un Ecuentro, a mini theater festival culminating in an artistic residency with students from Carrillo Elementary School with shadow master Larry Reed of San Francisco’s Shadowlight Productions, local Tucson Puppetry Theater and artists from Puppets Among Us. The residency will result in events that unite prospective audiences from both sides of the U.S.-Mexico Border.

The International Sonoran Desert Alliance (ISDA) hosts year-long project in Ajo, AZ that invites the local community to participate in the crowd sourcing of archival photographs of the historic 100-year-old Ajo Plaza. Activities include a community-driven exhibition, storytelling, memory sharing, and discussions of ideas for the Plaza’s future, and a day-long festival with performances in the Plaza.

La Frontrera’s Tucson International Mariachi Conference holds its annual Mariachi Music and Ballet Folklorico Dance. Intensive mariachi and dance workshops will result in a concert production at the Casino del Sol AVA Amphitheatre. Students also perform at the all-day Fiesta de Garibaldi, which features live music, dance, arts and crafts and authentic Mexican food.

As part of producing its 26th All Souls Procession, Many Mouths One Stomach hosts the Procession of Little Angels at Armory Park. An estimated 3,000 families join in art activities such as wing-making, sugar skull decoration, circus arts and storytelling to process issues surrounding death and grieving in a safe, creative environment. At sunset, children gather for a lantern lit procession around the park and through a corridor of altars for beloved family members who have passed.

Pan Left Productions presents the Oidag Festival in collaboration with the Tohono O’odham Community Action, which highlights Tohono O’odham youth sharing traditional knowledge within their community. Taking place in Sells on the Tohono O’odham reservation, this festival provides platforms to share media, cultural knowledge, and celebrates intergenerational relations.

Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance presents the Park Place Chalk Art Festival which gathers together over 20,000 participants, 20 professional artist murals, 35 amateur murals, and community participants. The artwork highlights Tucson’s desert, Hispanic and Native American culture, archeology, mining, star gazing and the history of mural-making. All ages can participate with a focus on children of all abilities, families, artists and retirees.

Southwest Folklife Alliance Inc. hosts “Ask Me About My Foodways;” a participatory public project that engages youth, community partners and the public, in activities that share the culinary practices of a people, region, or historical period. The event, which is part of the annual Tucson Meet Yourself Folklife Festival’s Cultural Kitchen, is also a powerful means to override cultural stereotypes and define our sense of place in community. In partnership with City High School, students prepare their family’s traditional dishes on site at the Festival; also partnering is the YWCA, who will host an oral history workshop so participants can document their own personal “foodway” stories.

Since 1999 Tohono Chul has supported the biennial Día de los Muertos, a celebration that blends European influences with Pre-Hispanic customs in remembering and honoring deceased family and friends. Exhibits feature the work of community artists which display the richness of this borderland tradition, and celebrate the traditions of Dia de los Muertos. The event is held in tandem with “Chiles and Chocolate” which features altars/exhibits, oral histories, heritage crafts, music and food.

True Concord Voices & Orchestra (formerly Tucson Chamber Artists) concludes its 12th season with the “American Rhythm” series, highlighted by the premiere of Concerto Sonora by Sheldon Curry, presented in Green and Oro Valley. This musical event features poems in O’odham language, written by MacArthur Fellow Ofelia Zepeda, director of the University of Arizona’s American Indian Language Development Institute. Also featured are poems Octavio Paz and William Butler Yeats.

Tucson Chinese Association presents a community festival celebrating the arts and heritage of Asian Pacific Island cultures. It features traditional Asian Pacific Islander foods, cultural heritage and farming practices, and the arts; performances, workshops, crafts, and material arts. Sonora desert community practices, such as youth mariachi, in which local Asian young people engage, will demonstrate art as an invitation to belonging.

The Tucson Museum hosts workshops and festivities that highlight heritage art, ritual and music, gathers community in celebration of Dia de los Muertos. Through a series of art-making workshops with K-12 school students from four local neighborhood schools, artists Sue Johnson, Johanna Martinez, Gavin Troy and Jeff Urdang share traditional Dia de los Muertos art forms while discussing its cultural significance. The project also involves Pima Community College students and individuals affected by dementia in the arts-making process. The series concludes with families and the larger community can share in observing Dia de los Muertos event.

Arizona State Museum presents Neoglyphix 2015, a live graffiti and street artist festival featuring contemporary Indigenous artists from Arizona, California, Hawaii, Minnesota, and New Mexico. In addition to creating three walls that replicate O’odham basketry mountain designs, the artists demonstrate their techniques in imagery and street art to festival-goers. They invite them to also draw their own ‘slaps’, removable self-adhesive stickers to add to the walls.

Wak O’odham Foundation in conjunction with the Native Eyes Film Showcase consortium and other community partners will host as series film and dialogue sessions in which Native American youth engage with elders, specialists, activists and artists around community water issues, past, present and future. Through the series, youth also develop artistic and filmmaking skills to create discourse on their future.