Arts, Culture & History

Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option

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.

Tempe Arts & Culture Plan LinkArts&Culture2017-18GuideLINK

Arts & Culture in Tempe Guide PDF 

Arts & Culture Awards

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.

Deputy Director of Arts & Culture

Ralph Remington


Administrative Assistant for Arts & Culture

Joy Higgins


Walk-in Wednesdays Open Mic Night turns 10

Celebrate with your favorite open mic musicians from the last decade
Post Date:05/14/2019 5:00 PM

Tempe Center for the Arts (TCA) celebrates its commitment to local music and helping musicians thrive next week as Walk-in Wednesdays Open Mic Night turns 10 with an all-star evening of local music. 

During the last 10 years, hundreds of singer/songwriters have made Tempe Center for the Arts their Wednesday night gig, performing thousands of songs - even reciting a few poems. That's because at Walk-in Wednesday Open Mic Night people have a chance to play in front of one of the best audiences in Arizona. 

Each week, people come to Tempe Center for the Arts to play their songs and listen to work by others, to hone their performance skills and to get feedback from audiences, friends and other musicians. In the 352 Walk-in Wednesdays that have happened since 2009, more than 7,000 performances have been given. More than 20,000 people have attended an open mic night in the last five years. 

"This truly is what a local arts venue is about," Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell said. "TCA gives voice to Arizona's talented singers, songwriters, musicians, poets and artists of all kinds and inspires people to be creative and safely take a chance on performing in public."  

Mayor Mitchell will honor the event with a special proclamation. 

"I'm astounded by the amazing musicians who play here and really impressed at the way they grow their talent over time," host Walt Richardson said. "We've built a community of artists here who support each other as musicians and as friends."

Several musicians who have performed at the open mic have recorded albums. One started a music podcast. Musician Blaine Long went on to star on NBC's "The Voice." KJZZ jazz host and singer Blaise Lantana is a frequent guest at the open mic. 

Walk-in Wednesdays Open Mic night started shortly after Tempe Center for the Arts opened, an idea by former TCA director Don Fassinger to activate the art center on a weekday and also help fulfill one of TCA's missions - to encourage and cultivate local artists. Tempe icon Walt Richardson got behind the concept immediately. Word got out and it wasn't long before a youth hour was added in advance of the adult night to make room for even more performances.

“Witnessing the growth and success of Walk-in Wednesdays Open Mic Night over the years is one of the most satisfying memories of my career with the TCA," said Fassinger. "Of all the other open mic events in the area, I think the TCA’s clearly is the best!  Performers and audience members are treated to a spectacular venue, success-focused audio support and a community of performers and audience members dedicated to supporting each other and sharing an evening of music and poetry.”

People can come celebrate the 10th anniversary with cake, refreshments, commemorative T-shirts and great music. 

Walk-In Wednesdays Open Mic Night 
5-10 p.m.
Wednesday, May 22
Tempe Center for the Arts
700 W. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe

5 p.m. 
Sammi Martinez
Scott Bomberg
AJ Odneal

6 p.m.
Michael Hummel
Gary Marsh
Brian & B Frank
Cowboy Wrecks
Jane Murdock

7 p.m.
Billy Cioffi
Cottonwood Stone
Jenny Jarnagin
Bob McCarroll
Walt Richardson

8 p.m.
Jason Messer
Blaise Lantana
Patrick Martin
Eric Ramsey
Robby Roberson

9 p.m.
and more ... 

keyboardist at Walk-in Wednesdays

Return to full list >>