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.
Tempe awards arts grants to 32 non-profit organizations
Funding will bring arts programming to the city.
This year the City of Tempe has awarded grants to more organizations than ever before. 32 non-profit organizations will receive funding to provide quality arts programming to the city. Arts Grants funding supports a commitment to advancing Tempe as a vibrant and progressive community for cultural and artistic activity. Projects range from school residency programs to festivals to theater and music performances.
The grants were awarded to applicants in three categories:
Community Arts Grants: Quality arts projects with a primary mission of supporting a specific arts community, families and youth-centered arts programming in Tempe. The grant supports the following Public Art and Cultural Amenities Goals from the General Plan 2040 to: 1) Collaborate with community partners and educational institutions 2) Enhance art that supports, educates and enriches the community. The following organizations received funding in this category:
- Arizona Theatre Company
- AZ Wolf Trap/Scottsdale Arts
- Broadmor PTA
- Chandler Children’s Choir
- Dansense Nrtyabodha
- Downtown Tempe Foundation
- Grey Box Collective
- Musica Nova
- Musician Enrichment Foundation
- Phoenix Conservatory of Music
- Phoenix Symphony
- Rising Youth Theatre
- Tempe Artist Guild
- Tempe Community Chorus
- Tetra String Quartet
- United Sound
Festival Grants: Festivals that celebrate a community or shared cultural interest with arts and culture programming. This grant aims to fulfill the following recommendations from the Arts and Culture Plan: 1) Support community festivals celebrating cultural diversity 2) Support communitywide festivals of the arts and creativity. The following organizations received funding in this category:
- African Fest USA
- Asociacion de Peruanos en Arizona
- Arizona Apparel Foundation
- Cultural Coalition
TCA Excellence Grants: Develop artistically complex and rigorous programming, and provide impactful arts experiences to Tempe residents. The grant aims to fulfill the following recommendations from the Arts and Culture Plan: 1) Increase and promote Community-Initiated Arts projects 2) Expand rentals and collaborations at the Tempe Center for the Arts.
The following organizations received funding in this category:
- Arizona Wind Symphony
- Bridge Initiative
- Desert Overture
- Grand Canyon Men’s Chorale
- Higher Octave Healing
- Ignite Collaborative Initiative
- Lakeshore Music
- MAC & Company
- Stray Cat Theatre
- Tempe Winds
Tempe City Council approved $175,000 in funding for these 32 organizations on July 31, 2019. The competitive review process was conducted by three independent and objective community review panels. Each panel was comprised of representatives from the Tempe Arts and Culture Commission, Tempe residents, arts educators, business owners, students and practicing artists from various disciplines.
School Arts Grants available to Tempe teachers - Deadline: August 26, 5 p.m.
School Arts Grants are available to teachers in Tempe schools for arts programming. Funds are available to expand and enhance the services already provided by school arts curriculum, programs and clubs. Grants can be used to fund services of artists and teaching artists, arts supplies, production costs, exhibitions, tickets to an arts program, transportation and space rental. Requests are available up to a maximum of $750 and do not require matching funds.
For more information about the grants, programs and organizations that received funding, visit tempe.gov/ArtsGrants.
Media contact: Melissa Quillard, 480-350-8805, Melissa_Quillard@tempe.gov
Program contact: Maja Aurora, 480 350-5160, Maja_Aurora@tempe.gov