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"Community Arts in Dialog and Action" Exhibition

Link directly to Artists' Statements and artworks

One of the primary goals of the Cultural Arts Coalition is to:

  • Provide spaces and opportunities for persons to engage in dialogue, experiences, and research that expand the definition and understanding of the role of the arts in enriching our daily lives in community and academic settings.

    It is essential to establish collaborative programming and partnerships with those institutions and persons that support and promote this CAC goal. With this thought in mind Chris Kyselka, Associate Director for Community Outreach Programs, was contacted at the ASU Downtown Phoenix Campus. Chris was interested enough in the Cultural Arts Coalition's mission to research the possibility of mounting an exhibition at the Mercado Galleria space to be coordinated by Margo Rivera-Wilson. Ms. Rivera-Wilson upon reviewing the list of artists representing the focus of the exhibition provided the okay. Because the coalition is strictly a volunteer organization with limited funding this kind of collaboration is essential for its community engagement. Participants of the Cultural Arts Coalition are very grateful to Ms. Kyselka and Ms. Rivera-Wilson for this recognition and assistance.

    Invitation for the Exhibit Reception

    CAC Exhibition reception and performance Presents:

    "Community Arts in Dialog and Action"

    Exhibit: October 6th to October 27th, 2006
    Reception: Friday, October 6, 6:00-9:00
    Gallery Times: 8am to 5pm
    Cost: Free to the Public.
    Location: ASU Downtown Phoenix Campus, Mercado Building C, 2nd Floor, 502 E. Monroe

    The Cultural Arts Coalition Exhibition curated by former gallery owner Sharon Stetter will be on view during first Friday events in Phoenix, October 6, with a reception from 6:00-9:00 PM. The exhibition is located at the ASU Downtown Phoenix Campus, Mercado Building C, 2nd Floor, 502 E. Monroe. The title of the artworks is "Community Arts in Dialog and Action" and expresses the views of those artists who work and engage in community spaces dealing with community concerns. Included in this body of arts are not only visual, but literary and performing artistic expressions.

    Featuring: Some of the artists included are Gary Avey, Anne Coe, Zarco Guerrero, Tlisza Jaurique, Marco Albarran, Ralph Cordova, Martin Moreano, Susan Copeland, Eugene Grigsby, Larry Yanez, Kristin Fukuchi, Dennis Numkena, Robert Miley, Gabriella Munoz and others.

    For more information you can contact Cultural Arts Coalition (CAC) judy butzine at or Sharon Stetter at

    El Quinto Sol/Zopilote E-News
    P.O. Box 27312
    Tempe, AZ 85285-7312

    One of 12 paintings in a series "Losses" Traveling Exhibition Program. Arizona Commission on the Arts, Tom Stephenson, "Cousins Lost Jesse", 72" X 48"
    Represented by Art One Gallery, inc.; Scottsdale, Arizona; Kraig Foote, president.

    Tom Stephenson      August 2006

    I define community art as a piece of work made by someone that creates an emotion in the viewer that might steer them down a path of positive behavior that will benefit the surrounding community.

    Tom, Tom's wife, and Ben Boomer at opening reception, October 6, 2006

    The exhibition "Community Arts in Dialog and Action" organized by Cultural Arts Coalition focuses on artists who are engaged in community concerns. These artists recognize the dynamic of communication through their mediums to inspire awareness toward issues that hit home, and how through this recognition of group consciousness they can elevate a community's spirit to action. It is not a coincidence that each of the artists participating in this exhibit has a direct relationship to Arizona State University, either as professors, students or alumni. The attachment to this academic community is part of the exhibition's focus and is only a small sampling of many university affiliated artists, crossing generational and ethnic boundaries. Also considered is the work of those ASU alumni who have left a legacy of community service. Exemplified is the artistic expression and life of Gary Avey, founder and former publisher of Native Peoples magazine which carries on his consciousness without his presence.

    Martin Moreno, "Born in the USA", 60" X 48" - Tlizsa Jaurique, "Tzitimime", 40" X 32"

    It is my contention that artists deliver the most accurate depiction of history. If you want to know what was going on with the people, you look at what they were inspired to create. History books are often sanctioned by the controlling political, financial, and religious viewpoints, but art history will get you to the guts of how people lived. I've always found the most engaging viewpoints come from the visceral elements of society, and here is where our artists dwell.
    - Sharon Stetter, Exhibition Curator

    Barbara Kennedy and Patsy Lowry, both artists exhibiting their art reconnect during the reception. Video crew is on site to interview Eugene Grigsby, Jr. (artist and art professor emeritus ASU) for a Documentary on his life and contributions to the national and international artworlds.

    Barbara Kennedy: Art and writing are the creative means she uses to help her understand her personal journey and how it has transformed her into the person she is today. She uses creativity and expression in her therapeutic process with clients, especially when loss and grieving are complicated and confounded.

    Case in Point, a new magazine has contracted her to write feature articles directed at case managers, hospice workers, nurses and social workers. The December issue will feature "Narrative Therapy-Storytelling as a way to wellness."

    Patsy Lowry: Community Arts, artists and people working together should be an integral part of every city, town and village. Art reminds us of our culture, beauty, and gives us new "eyes" and ways of seeing things. We should always be working together to inspire, teach and remind people that there are so many different ways of looking at ordinary and extraordinary things. Community arts activists, museums, art galleries, art and craft fairs, public works of art and art teachers can add special and new dimensions to ordinary citizens lives. We can see new worlds, experience artists imaginations and talents and their fabulous ways of expressing the known and unknown. It is through art and the Community Arts that we can create rich, cultural mosaics.

    Mark Herring, Dr. Grigsby, Carmen deNovais and Christy Puetz share stories with Eugene. His artwork, "The Family", 37" X 29" hangs behind them.

    The Mission of the Cultural Arts Coalition, Arizona: 501 (c) 3
    Identifying, supporting, promoting, celebrating, and documenting those community arts practices that stimulate social awareness and honor diverse cultural values, and develop the critical thinking skills necessary to be creative and solve problems. As a networking group, the coalition strives to provide a safe place for persons of all ages and backgrounds to gather and achieve a sense of belonging and respect within a larger community and to explore arts-related skills in a facilitated environment.

    Susan Copeland, "The Origin of Man-akins: Misfits in Utopia", 48" X 48" X 6"

    Susan Copeland was a student at South Mountain High school graduating with a scholarship from COBA (Consortium of Black Organizations & Others for the Arts). Susan is a Phoenix native, educated at the Art Students League of New York and Arizona State University.

    Her work encompasses a variety of media including: concrete, plaster, recycled materials, clay, and various printmaking techniques. A dedicated social activist, her work has recently taken a political bend, dealing with issues such as incarceration, war, race, urban sprawl and the environment.

    Susan Copeland in dialog with Sharon Stetter, exhibition curator, and Ben Boomer.

    "How do you define and what are your expectations of community arts?"
    Susan: Community art reaches across social, economic and racial stratums, engaging people in ideas, queries and feelings that are outside of their everyday concerns. It creates connections, educates, spawns dialogue, gets people involved. This involvement can be highly individualized or have a broad reach. It can be personal, regional or global.

    Anne Coe, Please contact the Larsen Gallery-(480-941-0900)

    Anne Coe is a fourth generation Arizonan. Anne is widely known for her sometimes fanciful, sometimes disturbing interpretations of life on earth. She studied art independently in Europe and at the University of Puerto Rico, and she received her Masters of Fine Arts degree at Arizona State University. Her work is included in numerous public and private collections such as Whitney Museum of Western Art, Smithsonian Institution, Eiteljorg Museum, Midwest Museum of American Art, Museo de bellas Arte, Guadalajara, Mexico and McDonald's Corporation. She exhibits her painting in various galleries throughout the United States, and Polly Larsen represents her in Scottsdale at the Cultural Exchange Gallery. Ms. Coe is involved in many community arts and conservation projects. She is co-founder and chairman emeritus of the Superstition Area Land Trust. She is on several boards and commissions and has been appointed by two governors to serve on the State Land Conservation Advisory Board. She lives on the slopes of the Superstition Mountains in the high Sonoran Desert.


    During the reception at the Mercado on Saturday, October 6th, ASU Public Events Outreach Staff shared the talent of Manchester, London Performer Lemn Sissay with the viewing audience. Lemn has written many plays, poetry and essays and is on a national tour. "Lemn is a lyrical genius who's causing a great storm across the country." The Voice We thank ASU Public Events for bringing Lemn to the reception. Everyone valued the messages of his spoken words.

    The Cultural Arts Coalition is also a group of concerned persons who Celebrate Global Connections.

    The Life of Gary Avey and the magazine NATIVE PEOPLES he edited and published are recognized in this exhibition. Gary was a native of Phoenix, born on June 5, 1940. His path in Phoenix was paved by his Grandma Rose Avey who received her MFA in Fayetteville, AR by way of Yellville (Shawnee Town) Arkansas. She was Arizona's first public school art teacher in Mesa. She also sponsored the cheerleading squad, the theatre club and the art club and was president of Arizona's first Artist's Guild while raising five children all as a single mother. As her grandson, Gary was imbued with both the love of art and community service. He earned his BS in Commercial Art and his MFA at ASU.

    Gary's dedication to the art world and community service began at the age of 14 when he took his first job as an occasional contributor to the Arizona Highways publication. He worked his way through ASU as a free-lance commercial artist when the University hired him to reorganize the yearbook system and its staff. His efforts created the top award-winning book for the next three years! Gary was then employed by Kreuger as their Phoenix correspondent for national sales and marketing of magazines and catalogs. Later, he was the print contact for Arizona Highways, and in 1979, he was asked to apply for the job of Editor-in-Chief. He brought back the original Carlson/Avey philosophy and the magazine experienced its all-time highest circulation of over 500,000 copies and its award-winning style.

    Gary's successes at Arizona Highways Magazine were recognized by the Heard Museum who hired him in 1985 to pursue his idea of a magazine dedicated to the native peoples of this land. After operating for a year as an official Heard publication he arranged to purchase his baby and Native Peoples Magazine became an independent publication! Dedicated to the sensitive portrayal of the arts and lifeways of native peoples of the Americas with a multi-cultural staff and Board of Directors the magazine has over a dozen other museum affiliates throughout the country and Europe. His strong belief in the dignity of the individual Arizonan and the great value of Arizona's native cultures guided his life.

    Dennis Numkena, "From Worlds Above, Worlds Below" 39" X 56"

    The artworks of American Indians like Dennis Numkena were regularily featured in Native Peoples Magazine by Gary Avey
    "As I write this, I am reminded that today is September 11th. We need monuments and people in the community to work together to create spaces where we can go and revisit, touch, reflect, feel and acknowledge our heritage. The human psyche needs to be nurtured and a community that focuses on art and what it can mean to thousands of lives is extremely important."
    -Patsy Lowry for Dennis Numkena

    Dennis Numkena graduated from the School of Architecture at ASU and opened the first American Indian owned and operated architectural firm in the United States. His architectural structures are well known across the state and country.


    Photo of the Sculpture "Release the Fear" by Robert Miley on Central Aveue

    Robert J. Miley: Artist and humanitarian, renown for his painting and sculpture as well as his community work, using art as a healing tool. His art workshops have been utilized by groups such as The Boys and Girls Club of AZ, Body Positive, Free Arts of AZ, Youth at Risk and Sanctuary, a shelter for run-away children on Guam, which prompted the Governor Ada to name Robert Honorary Ambassador to Guam..
    In 1996 Robert founded Release the Fear, a grassroots nonprofit community organization based in Phoenix, Arizona. Release the Fear strives to heal those injured by violence, bridge communities, and facilitate creative peace. Release the Fear, under Robert's guidance developed an educational curriculum program to decrease violent behavior and create possibilities utilizing art as a tool.
    RTF's Sculptural Symbol-Envision a sculpture in the middle of Central Avenue, more than twenty-four feet tall, made from four tons of melted down weapons: hand guns, shotguns, Saturday night specials, knives, etc., all used in the perpetration of terrible crimes against our fellow human beings. It creates a stunning visual awareness that hate, fear and violence can be changed. It will serve as a tangible reminder that everything is possible in life through our own will.

    Eighteen artists contribute their creative expressions to this community arts' exhibition. Most of them answered the question of "How do you define and what are your expectations of community arts?" Some of those answers you have already read. These artists come from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds. They express their visual dialogs about community engagement in and through the arts utlizing very diverse mediums.

    One such person is Ms. Fukuchi. Kristin Elise Fukuchi . photographer . designer. Kristin is a fourth generation Phoenician. From her earliest childhood memories, she can recall traveling, camping and hiking in some of the most beautiful landscapes around the world of the dry desert to the lush black forest. Having graduated from ASU's Architecture school with a design degree and a Master's in Environmental and Urban Planning she has gained a wealth of knowledge about relationships between the earth and the dweller of the lands. She now owns a design business where she strives to create a seamless flow and balance of the habitant with their surrounding. Her photographs are intents to display the relationship and connection of the human with the environment.

    When I think of community art I visualize these balanced relationships in communal settings, how the natural and the urban have been meshed to give comfort and joy to the dweller. In community it is important to weave the ancient and existing in an act of community art creation that contributes a sense of harmony and balance, enriching our everyday lives and creating a positive interactive environment for all those to partake.

    Marco Albarran. "Hotel del Muerto", 48" X 31 " X 5", Larry Yanez, "Cocina Jaiteca", 46 " X 34 "

    Other artists who contributed to this exhibition include Zarco Guerrero, Ralph Cordova, Gabriella Munoz, Marco Albarran and Larry Yanez. Their art is an expression of their culture and the issues that are important for persons of all backgrounds to consider in thoughtful dialog.

    Marco Albarran: I was born in the border city of San Luis R.C. Sonora, but I trace my cultural and spiritual roots to the Mexican states of Guanajuato and Michoacan. By the late 1930s, my family immigrated to state of Sonora, but maintained a strong connection to the traditions of Guanajuato. By the time I was a teenager, my family and I crossed the border and settled in Yuma, Arizona. There, I was influenced by the cholo life, and life as a farm laborer. During my travelings to the fields of Arizona and California, I met Cesar Chavez. By the early 1980s, I entered Arizona State University and was introduced to other Chicano leaders as well as knowledge about the Chicano Movement, which greatly influenced me on works of community development.

    I strongly believe in the promotion of diversity and community development. I believe in the implementation of arts and culture into community programs and projects. I also believe that all people can reach a sense of social and cultural balance through the arts. I really enjoy giving people positive messages, and educational experiences that create interaction and understanding. As an artist, my art reflect simple images, and ancient colors. As a child I was strongly influenced by traditional ways as I walked through the small calles of "Guanajuato", in Mexico. There, the vivid colors, aromas and the diversity of every day life, prepared me for the life at "la frontera," the Mexican border, and gave me the energy for life on the other side of the border. My art reflects ancient indigenous beliefs and ways of life, and incorporates the power and expressions of spirituality." One major theme of my art is closely connected to the Dia de los Muertos, a tradition of many thousands of years in Mexico. My altar and ofrenda installations, includes found and natural materials prevalent in many of the Mexican traditional celebrations. As an artist, I strive for the opportunity to express my Mexican traditions and culture.

    Our web site at or

    Please plan to attend one or more of the many events that evolve around the national celebration of Dia de los Muertos.

    ***Arizona Historical Society Museum @ Papago Park October 28-November 30 2006
    ***Calaca Cultural Center opening reception October 27, 5-7 PM, (480) 557-7195
    ***Xicanindio Artes November 5, 2006 (480) *33-5875

    This exhibition would not have been possible if it were not for the support of so many including those artists who actively engage persons through the art they wear and the dialogues they stimulate.

    Matt Krise and Chuck Banaszweski, Spraygraphics, t-Shirts

    Chuck Banaszweski is a doctoral candidate at ASU in the Theater for Social Change and currently working with students at Genesis Academy through funding provide by the Cultural Arts Coalition. Matt Krise is an owner and lead designer for Spraygraphic Apparel. He has worked in the design industry for the past six years where he has received a degree in Industrial design from Arizona State University and has worked for a prominent Scottsdale design firm, for the past two years. He also is a Faculty Associate for Arizona State University's Architecture and Industrial design's undergraduate program. His activism revolves around developing products that are environmentally friendly and other related environmental issues including recycling, preservation, pollution, and safety.

    Please contact us if you have any questions or would like to comment to this documentation

    judy butzine
    Melanie Ohm

    Link directly to Artists' Statements and artworks