Welcome to Tempe Arts & Culture!
See a show, take a class, visit an exhibit or gallery in Tempe! Explore all of the creative and cultural experiences the city has to offer at Tempe Center for the Arts, Tempe History Museum and Edna Vihel Arts Center. The Arts & Culture Division develops and manages the city's arts and culture programs and services including Arts Engagement and Tempe Public Art. Tempe is dedicated to enriching the lives of the local and extended community by providing life-long engagement through accessible cultural, social, and educational experiences.
Congratulations 2019 Tempe Arts & Culture Award Recipients!
These awards celebrate excellence in arts and culture by recognizing individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to arts and culture in Tempe.
Engaged Educator: Such Styles
Such Styles is a visual artist, educator and community service volunteer. He grew up in Tempe, graduated from Marcos de Niza High School, and has continued to choose Tempe as his home to raise his family. Such began mastering his ‘graffiti’ art skills in the early 1980s, and now his works can be found in permanent museum collections including the ASU Art Museum, and on walls throughout the valley. Such Styles is recognized as a pioneer in Arizona for his artistic spray paint applications resulting from 30-plus years of work in the field. His passion for community engagement has led him to share his artistic journey through K-12 art programs and community events. Currently, he is one of six teaching artists in the Studio Artists Program teaching 5th grade workshops on street art and design in Tempe Elementary Schools. Such is often found at community arts events across the valley giving demonstrations, contributing his artistic skills, exhibiting his creative works, and sharing stories about his life in the arts.
Creative Entrepreneur: Rodney Hu
Rodney Hu is the owner of Yucca Tap Room and an ardent supporter of local arts and creatives. After assuming ownership of Yucca Tap Room in Danelle Plaza from his father, Rodney has transitioned the 45-year-old establishment into a haven for musicians and artists. He has maintained his vision of providing a space for artists to explore, create, share, hone and showcase their talents by featuring live music every day of the week, and supporting community arts events at Danelle Plaza. Our community heritage owes much gratitude to people like Rodney whose small business fosters and perpetuates our shared story and the places that reflect our creative legacy.
Community Impact: Gayle Shanks & Bob Sommer (Changing Hands Bookstore)
45 years ago, Gayle Shanks and Bob Sommer established a book store that would later become an institution in the community. Changing Hands is a cultural center that champions literary arts, and cooperates with local schools, businesses and leaders offering programs to foster creative writing in our youth and community. Changing Hands Bookstore also hosts more than 300 public events and workshops each year. Gayle and Bob can often be found in events and meetings around Tempe encouraging positive engagement and speaking out about issues that impact the community. Their work has had a lasting impact on what Tempe is today.
Cultural Connector: Evan Liggins
Evan Liggins is a creative visionary who has been a primary force in building and maintaining the local Tempe music scene for over a decade. Evan’s passion for grass-roots arts and music motivated him to participate in the founding of Tempe Art-a-Gogh-Gogh in 2010, a live event showcasing local music and art in Danelle Plaza. He has booked hundreds of local bands, artists, and DJs at these events, creating a bi-monthly showcase of who’s who in the local Tempe and Valley art and music scene. Evan has perfected the skills of envisioning innovative projects and creative bookings to create experiences uniquely ‘Tempe.’ His work inherently protects the local cultural heritage and cultivates the next generation of artists, musicians and creatives in Tempe.
Innovation: FABRIC (Angela Johnson & Sherri Barry)
The Fashion and Business Resource Innovation Center -also known as FABRIC- is a haven for anyone involved in the fashion industry. FABRIC's founders, Angela Johnson and Sherri Barry envisioned a center that would provide office space for new designers, workshops on how to enter the fashion business, event space for fashion shows, and even sewing classes. Angela and Sherri serve as mentors, networkers, collaborators and guides, supporting the aspirations of creative professionals. In less than three years, their resource center, located in downtown Tempe, has helped over 330 designers and small businesses.
Casual Alien, Marimbas and the history of Mill Avenue are all at the museum in May
May brings with it the unveiling of Tempe History Museum’s new changing exhibit, Walking Mill Avenue, along with a variety of local music and a festival-style event for unity. Check out all of May’s events at the museum, located at 809 E. Southern Ave. Learn more at tempe.gov/MuseumEvents.
Friday, May 3 at 7 p.m.: PERFORMANCES at the MUSEUM
We3 features Renee Grant Patrick on vocals, Suzanne Lansford on violin, and Nicole Pesce on piano. When vocalist Renee Grant Patrick, daughter of the late George Grant (who traveled the world singing lead tenor for the Ink Spots in the 80s & 90s) lost her father in January of 2016, she combined talents with her band mates to pay tribute to some of their favorite Ink Spots' songs. Free and family-friendly.
Saturday, May 4 at 3 p.m.: PERFORMANCES at the MUSEUM
Clarinetists Katie Palmer and Jonathan Robinson
Azure Family Concert with Tetra String Quartet
Tetra welcomes guest clarinetists Katie Palmer and Jonathan Robinson for a fun-filled program featuring music for strings and winds. Presented by the Tetra String Quartet, Azure Concerts are fun, friendly and engaging performances tailored to children and young adults who are on the autism spectrum or have similar challenges. Azure concerts are approximately one hour in length. Family members and caregivers of all ages are welcome to attend. The performance will be followed by an instrument petting zoo. Free tickets are available at www.tetraquartet.org/azure.
Tuesday, May 14 at 6:30 p.m.: Featured Exhibit Opening
Walking Mill Avenue
Discover the origins of Mill Avenue, Tempe’s main street. Enjoy music by Hans Olson, who was inducted last year into the Tempe Music Walk on Mill Avenue. There will also be remarks from Mayor Mark Mitchell. Free admission and refreshments will be provided by the Tempe Historical Society. This exhibit runs through March 29, 2020.
Thursday, May 16 at 7 p.m.: THIRD THURSDAY at the MUSEUM
An Evening with Casual Alien: Synthesizer, Vocals and Cosmic Drumming
Casual Alien began as the recording project of Don "Doc" Boles, and the live band began as a rave act and outdoor feature in the Tempe university entertainment district. Now the band features Amy Andrews, female vocals and dancer, and Dave Marshall, percussionist. With influences of psy-trance and EDM, the band is gravitating (get it?) towards playing festivals. Stage personas are tongue-in-cheek as the band performs as aliens. The music is beyond conventional. Enjoy the best local dessert and coffee and an event that is part artist portrait, part history lesson, part community forum and part creative event. Open to the public; donations welcome.
Sunday, May 19 - 5 to 9 p.m.: PERFORMANCES at the MUSEUM
Unity through Community presents: U-Nite at the Museu
Join non-profit group Unity Through Community for U-Nite at the Museum: A spring art & music event. Engage in an interactive art walk, education stations, live local music and family activities. Hear local bands and solo artists on an indoor and outdoor stage. Musicians include Dr. Delicious, Japhy’s Descent, Ghetto Cowgirl, the Sugar Thieves Duo, Sara Robinson and Tim White. Artists of all ages will display their works in a range of media. Families will enjoy sidewalk chalk, face-painting, make & take friendship bracelets and pet rocks, gardening demos and bike repair. Food and drinks available for sale. Free, fun and family-friendly!
Tuesday, May 21 at 6 p.m. The African American Advisory Committee PresentsAAAC Book Club – Becoming by Michelle Obama
The African American Advisory Committee invites you to join a book club featuring African American
authors and issues. The AAAC Book Club is currently reading “Becoming” by Michelle Obama and meet the third Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. Discussions of the book will be facilitated by AAAC member Carol Stewart. Book club members may join at any time. Meetings are free and held at Tempe History Museum.
Friday, May 24 at 7 p.m.: PERFORMANCES at the MUSEUM
Sonoran Marimba Band
The Sonoran Marimba Band is a quartet comprised of long-time veteran percussionists Sonja Branch, Jeremy Muller, Douglas Nottingham and Brett Reed. Each have been active in the Phoenix area as performers, teachers and composers in all genres of percussion ranging from classical, jazz and rock to world music. Meet the band in a Q&A session after the show. Free and family-friendly.