For the latest news, information and resources on Tempe’s coronavirus response, please visit

Women in the Arts Panel

TCA Talks 

The Tempe Center for the Arts is a place for the community to participate in critical discussions about arts and culture. TCA Talks bring together a group of diverse individuals with experience and passion around topics being presented during the TCA Presenting Season. This program is a platform for the projection of all voices in our community, and to develop a greater understanding of the role and impact of arts and culture in our lives.


Previous Events

TCA Talks: Career Paths, Approaches and the Journey in Hip-Hop

Nov 5, 2017, 4-5pm
Bboy "House" Magana lead Rae Rae (dancer), Suchstyles (street artist), and Pierre Boogz (DJ, community activist & dancer) through a conversation about their careers in urban arts, and the social impact of their journey.

Suchstyles is a Phoenix local that initiated his craft during his youth. His Street Art career officially began in the early 80’s therefore his involvement in spray paint applications for artistic uses has been 34 full years placing Such at the helm of Phoenix Arizona’s Street Art scene. His underground wall and freight endeavors caught attention to galleries, museums and private collectors. His work has been on display at the Phoenix Art Museum, The Arizona Latin Arts and Cultural Center, The Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Mesa’s Contemporary Arts Museum, The Arizona Historical Museum and the Scottsdale Museum of modern Art as well as various galleries throughout Arizona. Several of his pieces can be found in a variety of permanent collections, including the Arizona State university Art Museum. Today Such Styles legally practices his craft and is commissioned to create his signature wall pieces. His work has been featured in television, film and several publications. Such was hired by Fox Sports to create graphics for the televised Super Bowl XXII show. Another notable landmark project was the ‘In Flux’ Phoenix valley metro light rail project. Where Such was selected to have his work featured on the interior light rail cars as well as the Roosevelt/Central light rail station. Other diverse projects include a live bill boarding campaign for Coke-Cola’s “Fuze” drink and Red Bull. You can also find his documentation in the latest publication “History of American Graffiti” as Arizona’s initial Street Artist.

Pierre Ivan Arreola (a.k.a. Pierre Boogie) is a community advocate and Hip Hop dancer from Pacoima, CA with 7+ years of organizing locally and globally. As youth, Pierre and his friends came together to form "The GR818ERS" (pronounced 'great-one-eighters'), a positive community movement utilizing Hip Hop culture to uplift and empower their community. While studying Sociology at Brown University, Pierre was awarded the Royce Sport and Society Fellowship and the C.V. Starr Social Entrepreneurship Fellowship to build the capacity of The GR818ERS as a force in social development through the arts and athletics. Since then, The GR818ERS have continued to build relationships with community leaders to create programming opportunities in Los Angeles County and around the world. Pierre was awarded the Impact Maker to Watch in 2016 Award for his dedication to community development efforts in the City of Los Angeles and beyond. Currently, Pierre is working with the network he has fostered through The GR818ERS to establish "Awoke", a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing and supporting similar community development efforts globally.

Edson “Bboy House” has over 16 years of experience, accomplishments and contributions to the Arizona’s Hip Hop community. He is a self-taught street dancer in the art of Breaking, Popping, Locking and House dancing. Due to his strong roots in Hip Hop culture, dance and foundations, Bboy House has had the privilege of competing, judging and hosting numerous dance competitions/battles around the world. His knowledge and experience has led him to a 29 city tour in Japan with the “Tap Dogs” as well as representing team USA in Red Bull’s London “Beat Battle” and New Zealand’s X-Air games. As President, Co-producer, and a performer, Bboy House is part of the Furious Styles Crew Anniversary event which has just celebrated their 16-year anniversary. House has also performed with the NBA’s Phoenix Suns Fast Breaker Crew, the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury Hip Hop Squad, and in the NAS, “I Can” music video.  His live concerts appearances include Neil Young, Wyclef Jean, KrsOne, Rahzel, Brent Woods, Kurtis Blow, Talib Kweli and KC and JOJO.  Additionally, he recently returned from Germany representing the U.S. at the infamous “Battle of the Year”. As an ASU graduate with a B.A. in Psychology / Sociology, Bboy House can be seen teaching and lecturing at Colleges and Universities across the country on Hip Hop Culture. While continuing his dance performance and choreography career, Bboy House still plans to pursue his Masters Degree combining Psychology, the Arts and his love for teaching.

TCA Talks: Women in the Arts

Jan 31, 2018, 7-9pm

Join three women (playwright, Felipa Lerma, b-girl, Alexus Purnell, comedian Mary Upchurch) as they share their experiences, battles, and achievements in their artistic fields as women.

Mary Upchurch has been making the Valley laugh for the past 5 years. She started her comedy journey with Jester'z Improv in Mesa as a main-stage performer and instructor then transitioned to stand- up comedy in 2015. Since then she's performed all over the valley, she was a finalist in House of Comedy's Funniest Person with a Day Job, she appeared at the Big Pine Comedy Festival in Flagstaff, and is a regular at Tempe Center for the Arts.

Felipa Lerma is an Arizona native, raised in Sonora, Mexico.  Felipa’s background in theatre has provided her with the tools to create social experimental work, focusing on deciphering the woman and Latino identity, developing social and cultural layers, to not only come near understanding the identity, but practice inclusiveness among the ourselves. Felipa is part of the Comun Teatro Experimental Collective that rises from the need to ferment dialogue and understanding of social issues and thus strengthen the cultural identity of a group/community.

Alexus Purnell is an upcoming member in the Urban Community as an all-around dancer and Bgirl. She started an all-female and all-styles crew, “The Amazonites.” This crew is made up of young women aspiring to be successful and empowering women “warriors” in the Urban Community and in their personal careers.  She was the only Bgirl of Arizona to battle at Rock Steady Crews 405h Anniversary at Rec Bull BC One Cyphers Breaking Battle, where she acquired her name, Bgirl AZ.  She is an ASU student with a double major in Dance and Justice Studies, and the Vice President of the Urban Arts Club where her role is to help the club bring students and people in the Urban Community together through elements of Hip Hop. 

TCA Talks: Directors Chat

Mar 9, 2018, 6:30-7:30pm

Hear from Ron May, Artistic Director of Stray Cat Theatre, Tracy Liz Miller, Director of Gidion’s Knot, and Ralph Remington, Producing Artistic Director of Tempe Center for the Arts. They will share why they chose to present Gidion’s Knot as part of their season and give a behind-the-scenes look at how this play was created.

Tracy Liz Miller Director of Theatre Arts at Chandler-Gilbert Community College in Chandler, Arizona. Co-Founding Producing Artistic Director of The Bridge Initiative: Women in Theatre. The Bridge Initiative: Women in Theatre incubates and celebrates professional female theatre artists, promoting gender parity across all theatrical disciplines. The Bridge Initiative: Women in Theatre is Arizona’s contribution to the national conversation around equal representation and inclusion. Freelance Actor and Director. Selected professional directing credits: currently Gidion’s Knot by Johnna Adams at Stray Cat Theatre/Tempe Center for the Arts, Much Ado About Nothing at Southwest Shakespeare Company, The 12 Dates of Christmas by Ginna Hoben at Class 6 Theatre, Titus Andronicus at Improbable Fiction Theatre Company in NYC. Selected professional acting credits: Titania/Hippolyta in Midsummer at Southwest Shakespeare Company, Dora in The Swan at Chester Theatre Company, Molly in Dusk Rings a Bell at Shaker Bridge Theatre, Julius Caesar in Julius Caesar at Tennessee Shakespeare Company, Tekla in The Creditors at Miscreant Theatre Co in NYC. Academic directing: Men on Boats by Jaclyn Backhaus at Arizona State University, Fiddler on the Roof, Eurydice, A Christmas Carol, Mother Hicks, Man of La Mancha, Almost, Maine at Chandler-Gilbert Community College. Tracy and her partner, Kent Burnham, are based in Tempe and have a six-year old daughter that has already been on stage in two musicals at CGCC.

RON MAY (Stray Cat Theatre Artistic Director) is the Founding Artistic Director for Stray Cat Theatre where his credits include Pulp (Zoni for Best Overall Production – Non-Contracted Musical), columbinus (Zoni for Best Overall Production – Non-Contracted Play), Speech and Debate (Zoni for Best Overall Production – Non- Contracted Play), Learn to be Latina (Zoni for Best Overall Production – Non-Contracted Play), Wolves (Zoni for Best Overall Production – Non-Contracted Play), The Brothers Size (Zoni for Best Overall Production – Non- Contracted Play), Sex With Strangers, Stupid Fucking Bird, John, Native Son, Hir, Kiss, Mercury, and most recently the Stray Cat/Phoenix Theatre co-production of Hand to God. In 2010, he directed the Arizona staged reading of The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later, an Epilogue as part of a national project. Professionally, he has directed for Phoenix Theatre - Buyer & Cellar (Zoni for Best Overall Production – Contracted Play) and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (Zoni for Best Overall Production – Contracted Musical); and Actors Theatre - Seminar, This, boom, Hunter Gatherers, The Pursuit of Happiness. Last season he directed Good ‘N Plenty (Zoni for Best Overall Production – Non-Contracted Play) for Mesa Community College where this spring he is directing Mr. Burns, a post-electric play opening April 20th. During the summer of 2001, he spent time in New York as a fellow in The Lincoln Center Theatre Director’s Lab. During the day, Ron works as the Patron Relationship Manager for Arizona Theatre Company. Special thanks and lots of warm purring to Tracy, Shari, and Alison; our designers and everyone on crew; and everyone at Tempe Center for the Arts for the support on this co-pro.

TCA Talks: The Right to Express

March 23, 2018, 6:30-7:30pm
Before experiencing the closing weekend of Gidion’s Knot, take a moment to hear a discussion between Kim Porter (writer/performer/mother), Dr. Shanna Sadeh (school psychologist), and Tiffany White (high school dance teacher/mother) as they discuss censorship, the line between reality and expression, mental health, and parent teacher relationships. 

Dr. Shanna Sadeh is a licensed psychologist and school psychologist with expertise in treating children with severe behavioral challenges and childhood trauma. As a former lawyer, she has expertise in the intersection of school law and educational psychology. She currently works as a school psychologist in Sierra Vista Unified School District and has a private practice in North Scottsdale. 

Kim Porter is a writer/performer who’s been coaching other writer/performers for the last 20 years. In 2015 she was named Best Storyteller by Phoenix New Times. Porter is an award-winning playwright whose plays have been produced in San Diego, Los Angeles, New York and Phoenix. Porter, who is currently teaching storytelling to older adults through Jewish Family and Children’s Services, is passionate about facilitating the development of new work. Porter is the mother of two children who currently attend an arts school in Phoenix.

Tiffany White is the Dance Director at Mesquite High School in Gilbert, AZ and the Secretary of the Arizona chapter of the National Dance Educator’s Organization. She has sat on the Department of Education’s Revision Committee of the AZ Dance Standards in 2015 and helped developed Student Learning Objectives (SLO), curriculum, and rubrics based around the State Dance Standards in 2016 and 2017 for the Department of Education. Before moving out to Arizona five years ago, Tiffany taught Dance at several performing arts high schools and private schools in the Washington, DC area. Currently, Tiffany has embarked on an exciting new chapter in her life: becoming a mother!



Maja Aurora, Director of Arts Engagement
Julie Akerly, Arts Engagement Specialist

Stay Connected:

Join the Arts News Mailing list for updates on events, classes, artist calls, and more!
Follow us on Facebook