Category Archives: arts and culture

Preservation work at Tucson’s San Xavier Mission reveals hidden artwork

[Source: Stephanie Innes, Daily Star] — A local historian likes to imagine that angels carried Mission San Xavier del Bac – a beautiful white apparition itself – through the sky and plopped it in the Sonoran Desert. If so, we now know there was one extra angel to help them: a “new” one just discovered in the 211-year-old church. Restorationists Tim Lewis and Matilde Rubio uncovered the painted angel this month on the north wall of the mission’s tall, narrow baptistry, which is under the west tower. The angel, draped in a red cloak, had been hidden for years — perhaps a century or more.

It was covered with dirt and a thin coating of plaster that was likely applied by well-intentioned construction workers. “It’s always exciting to see something that has been there for a couple of hundred years and no one in the recent century has noted it. Then all of a sudden, there it is,” said Bernard L. “Bunny” Fontana, an ethnohistorian who lives near the mission and has made a lifelong study of its art. He’s working on a book about the mission’s art with photographer Edward McCain. Its title is “A Gift of Angels.” Fontana has always talked about the mission’s 182 angels. Now he’s altering that to 183. The angel is part of a wall painting of John the Baptist baptizing Christ. Prior to the restoration, the entire design looked like a rough sketch, not quite complete or colored in. John the Baptist appeared ghostly. Christ’s face was barely discernible. The top part was hidden under a hard coating. And the faded, dusty mural appeared to have one angel in it.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: A.E. Araiza, Daily Star.]

Why the arts are good business for Tucson

[Source: Roberto Bedoya, Tucson Citizen] — The Tucson area’s rich arts and cultural assets make our community unique and contribute greatly to our economy. Those resources must be preserved, protected and enriched. That’s the aim of our new Pima Cultural Plan, crafted with the involvement of 500 local citizens, as well as artists, arts administrators and civic leaders, after months of intensive study coordinated by the Tucson Pima Arts Council.

Consider what is at stake:

  • The University of Arizona’s arts programs, coupled with four of our region’s major nonprofit arts groups, have a total economic impact of $96.8 million, a 2001 UA study says.
  • A recent Americans for the Arts study found that 41 small and midsize arts organizations in the Tucson area generate $57.54 million to our economy.
  • Our creative sector accounts for 3.4 percent of all jobs in Pima County, and that sector’s job growth rate exceeds the rate for overall employment, an analysis by Mount Auburn Associates says.
  • Experts say our “creative sector” economy is key to attracting a talented, highly skilled and young work force to Tucson.
    While the Tucson area is home to Arizona’s first university, first symphony, first opera company and first repertory theater, support for our rich array of cultural and artistic resources remains a challenge.

[Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Phoenix seeks applicants for Artist Storefront Program

[Source: Phoenix Downtown Development Office] — The city of Phoenix Downtown Development Office is seeking applicants for the Artist Storefront Program, which is designed to increase the number of artist-owned and occupied galleries, stimulate art and arts-related activities, eliminate blight and improve the aesthetics of the downtown area. The program, generally bounded by 19th Avenue to 16th Street and McDowell to Buckeye roads, reimburses property owners up to $100,000 to renovate commercial property for arts-related projects. To qualify for the program, at least 30 percent of building space must be dedicated for arts or arts-related business purposes. Applications and program guidelines may be downloaded at the City of Phoenix website. Completed applications are due by noon on Friday, May 23, 2008 and should be submitted to City of Phoenix Downtown Development Office, 200 W. Washington St., 20th floor, Phoenix, AZ 85003. For more information, call 602-534-9484.

Tucson as arts-culture destination is talk topic

[Source: Teya Vitu, Tucson Citizen] — Prominent community leaders will lead a Tucson Community Conversation on Arts & Culture next week that will serve as the public rollout of the Pima Culture Plan. The conversation starts at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Tucson Association of Realtors, 2445 N. Tucson Blvd. The event is free. Early registration is recommended because seating is limited. Discussion topics will include ways to make Tucson a top arts and cultural destination and how to revitalize, fund and sustain the region’s arts and culture. Sponsors include most of the prominent organizations mapping Tucson’s future: Tucson Pima Arts Council, Tucson Regional Town Hall, Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities, Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, Southern Arizona Leadership Council, Tucson Association of Realtors and Downtown Tucson Partnership. To register, contact Rebecca Springer at 624-0595 Ext. 10 or at