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ASU Downtown Phoenix Campus - Exhibition – Spring 2010
Reception April 2, 2010, on second floor @ 411 N. Central, Phx.


The For Our Eyes Exhibitions are designed to welcome the community to the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus and to share richly diverse art collections that reflect a sense of urgency that the world, local and global, has the capacity for even greater prosperity, justice, and quality of life for all. This spring’s "Community Cohesion: Bonds, Bridges, and Barriers," showcase is a community-inspired, researched-based art exhibit meant to challenge meaningful dialogue toward building stronger community bonds and bridges and holistic solutions to the barriers within our city. The curator is Malissa Geer, ASU DT campus Community Liaison Representative, Office of the University Vice President and Dean, College of Public Programs.

"Community Cohesion: Bonds, Bridges, and Barriers" exhibition, January 19, 2010 – May 4, 2010 - reception on Friday, April 2nd, evening

These paintings reflect the messages we might have grown up with; that we carry along with us; and even live out. The artworks have been inspired by being involved in group-work and the men that I’ve been blessed to be walking with over the past three years. The canvases convey core truth statements that are life giving and abundant, and lies that wither our souls. Layered with spray paint, acrylic, found objects and paper, the paintings tell the story of figures that are colorful and grounded, as well as figures that are dark and in the shadows.

The true messages are read overlapping the peoples’ faces and not only describe the emotion of the figures, but when paired with the corresponding "shadow" piece, show that the same face can bear two very opposite beliefs systems. Contrasting messages fill the space to illustrate the battle with truth and lies.

In essence, the goal of these paintings is to cement the reality of individual and relational struggles and the effects that the truth, or lies can have on our lives. Derrick Kemph

These questions are being asked of the artists and community organizations participating in this current exhibition.

What bonds your community together?

  • What bridges exist with your community and other communities?
  • What barriers does your community face in its bonding and bridging?
  • In strengthening our communities, what is the future you see?

The Cultural Arts Coalition answers these questions through the body of artworks it has created within the Lower Buckeye Jail with juvenile offenders.

Title: Challenges

Artist: Juveniles in the Lower Buckeye Jail, January 2009

  • What bonds your community together? The Cultural Arts Coalition is bound together as a community of artists, activists, teachers, citizens and policy makers who view the arts as a means of communication to create safe spaces of dialogue around issues of community conflict moving toward resolution.
  • We utilize the arts as a methodology of symbols and metaphors to present these stories that bridge our community and other communities?
  • An available fund for various non-profits to support and promote their work is always an issue of concern.
  • We strengthen our community by forming partnerships and collaborations that focus on overarching missions and visions of our organizations.

Therefore the partnership with the Education Department for the Juveniles at the Lower Buckeye Jail was formed two years ago.

"Thoughtful Warriors" Lower Buckeye Jail Program for Juveniles Designed and facilitated by the Cultural Arts Coalition (Melanie Ohm and judy butzine) Fall 2009

UNIT ONE-First week workshops: I See You/Life Doesn’t Frighten Me (Revealing Fears and Creating Collaborative Canvases)

The theme of this unit is Personal Strength & Understanding. The class participates in a variety of exercises to guide them through a sequential process toward heightened awareness of self and others and new skills in self reflection, self-monitoring and personal decision making. The activities involve literacy, breathing and controlled movement; a brief introduction to art history; discussion defining the thoughtful warrior concept; critical inquiry through communal dialogue; and art-making exercises that include drawing, writing, collage and painting. Examples of "Thoughtful Warriors" at the local and national level are presented. Photo documentation throughout the six weeks of instruction is an essential means to record and assess the programming.


** Circle of Power – reminiscent of indigenous story telling circle around the hearth and introductions within circle – "What I want others to know about me/an interest."

Describe what activities we will be doing in the time together, process of a day, of a week, of the entire time, culminating event

** Overview of 6 weeks w/expectations: respect of self & others, claiming the space

**Art history lesson with defining of words: What is ART? Talk about CULTURE (people who share values, ideas, beliefs – family, community...). The arts help people tell their stories, communicate information. Begin addressing SYMBOL and METAPHOR

** Introduction to the book, Life Doesn't Frighten Me: Who is Maya Angelou? Who is Jean-Michel Basquiat? Read book in circle & discussion of the book

** Begin reflective drawing about SELF with music playing in background

** Journal: respond to one question, name a public figure you respect


** About Thich Nhat Hanh Hahn video Mindful Moments Exercises

** Collage Activity: What Strengthens Me to be a Thoughtful Warrior and create a collage based on "What Strengthens Me?"


** Prepare to Paint the Canvas

** Talk about the symbolism that surrounds us and are identifiable with specific meaning, identify things they have that symbolize an important moment or person. Symbols help us to purposefully focus.

** Discuss use of color as it relates to ALL artworks.

** Paint the Canvas and Work on Collages from Day Before

** Painting of the canvas is a communal activity that facilitates team work.

Phoenix Day School for the Deaf and Blind ASDB, preparing for tomorrow... today.

MISSION: We are committed to excellence in education of all children and youth with hearing or vision loss throughout Arizona.
We are committed to partnerships with families, school districts, communities, and others that will enable children and youth with hearing or vision loss to succeed now and in the future. We are committed to the respect, support, and well-being of each employee.

The arts become another means of perceiving sight and hearing for these art making participants.

Title: We rise, we grow, we SHINE

Artist: South Phoenix ERC group Excellence in Reaching Community

This innovative program was designed to lower the recidivism rate in the urban community of South Phoenix. The program increases the youth’s sense of community and positive social involvement.

At the ERC we work along with Youth that have been placed on probation, they are from the age groups of 14-17 years and live in the South Phoenix area. We work with many students that come from different backgrounds but most of the students have the common thread of living in South Phoenix and dealing with many of the negative social issues that are prominent in these communities such as gangs, unstable homes and peer pressures.

The 3 part mural was created by scratch, the guys in the ERC (YMCA) built the wood panels; they cut the wood and drilled them together. During the mural process expressive art therapy sessions were taking place at PSA art awakenings. The art consist of layers of paint and mixed media, the artist expressively worked on the panels with quotes, lines, hand prints, sponges and throwing paint on the panels. The piece we created was inspired by a Nelson Mandela speech.

Malissa explains to judy butzine how Westcor has been actively involved in the University and the community for many years…

An integrated highlight comes from the Morrison Institute’s Forum 411 report sponsored by Westcor to combine research with art. This greater Phoenix community collaboration’s intention is that these visual expressions will create conversations and therein create shared understanding of critical issues and public policies. This means of creating community dialogue makes a difference by directly connecting with the people it serves.

The ASU DT campus is an Urban University meeting the needs of an urban population and focuses on the concept of Social Embeddedness... The colleges and schools of ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus have a commitment to the social and economic advancement of the many diverse communities of the metropolitan region. ASU is growing this campus into a center of intellectual and cultural engagement, within the vibrant urban core of the City of Phoenix, using knowledge at its foundation. From the design of the campus throughout the heart of downtown to the proximity of hundreds of university partners and institutions: the thousands of people and organizations in connection with this campus offer an unparalleled opportunity.

Delivery of the art for exhibition...Everyone helps to bring it inside.

Drs. Little are members of Tanner Community Development Corporation (TCDC):The Mission is to connect the legacy of Tanner Chapel A.M.E. Church with the needs of the community in order to improve lives spiritually, economically, educationally, and through health and housing. TCDC Story:TCDC serves as an intermediary by connecting faith and community resources, services and funding as well as a service provider offering the following programs including: Anti-Tobacco, Cardiovascular & Lung (Heart & Soul), Emergency Preparedness, Early Childhood Development, Substance Abuse & Suicide Prevention, Senior Seasoned Generation and First Time Motherhood New Parent Initiatives.

Drs. Mike and Darlene Little’s Art Collection from the Small World Trading Company is the pictorial representation of the work of TCDC. It is a story about individuals, women, men and children. It is a story about private business, faith-based organizations and every day people. It is about community; a community that is investing in itself.

Through the medium of African art, conveyed is the principal of the village, where each member and family is invested in the good of the village. Implicit in that village/community, are concerned for the needs for healthy adults, seniors, children and mothers. This visual arts story is a beautiful metaphor for a well balanced community.

Malissa has a staff of volunteers who make the mounting of this exhibition possible: Sabrina Christensen, Laci Lester, Melodie Ratliff, Nathan Geer and Charles Walker, of Lime Artistics

We are all thankful for the many contributions of time and expertise they bring to the mounting of this important body of creative expression. Thank you!!!

As well as those artists like Carolina Parra Morales http://www.artecarolinaparram.blogspo who volunteered by assisting in the mounting of this exhibition.

Noel Barto is facilitating a Rag Collection: We are a collaboration of local artists, offering urban youth access to the arts through the power of art and story.

Title: Opportunity & Barrier Doors

Artist: Community Art Pieces

Workshop Artists:

Tyler ’s Story: "I didn’t want to be crippled by childhood wounds so I started poetically processing." "This unlocked a world of creativity I am still discovering. I am still emerging.

"I am aspiring-to rise up; soar; mount; tower. A central driving quote that fuels rag co involvement for me is, 'There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.’ Thoreau"

Ree’s Story: "I felt so isolated, so I sang to connect with people"

"Kids need to know there are positive ways to express the pain they feel, and that people do care about what they have to say. Their lives and their stories have purpose."

Rag Collection ‘s Roosevelt Project is currently bringing 12 artists into 3 schools to serve over 300 elementary students in the Roosevelt School District. Through this project, we are connecting youth to arts in the classroom through an arts integration workshop; to the local arts community by taking them on their only fieldtrip to the Roosevelt Art District.

Spraygraphic Studios was a guest exhibitor last semester.Spraygraphic is a free online community for Creative Minds. The site allows members to share their Art, Design, Activism, Travel Adventures, and Activities with each other. The Spraygraphic Community is dedicated to bringing creative people together. They encourage you to connect, look, listen, and learn from one another. Charles Banaszewski has worked on multiple projects with the Cultural Arts Coalition over the past 4 years.


Artists: Colton Brock, Dumperfoo, Baron Gordon, Banding Hendrix, Jessica Jordan, Mike Little, Jason Rudolph Pena, Joshua Rhodes, Adam Wheeler


On August 22, 2009 from 4pm to 9pm SPRAYGRAPHIC.COM produced the Slow and Low Live Art Mural for the Phoenix Art Museum. In conjunction with the museum’s Phantom Sightings: Art After the Chicano Movement, this very unique event featured nine Spraygraphic Artists painting a 16 foot by 6 foot wall in front of thousands of people. This mural was part of a full day of events that included some of the hottest Low rider cars and Bikes ever seen on the pavement.

The artists; mural illustrates their perceptions of Phoenix history and culture, as well as demonstrate their understanding and respect for the Chicano Movement.

Another artist’s paintings that give one an opportunity to decipher the stories and reflect upon one’s own life are skillfully rendered by Junjie Verzosa, showing the "Konektado" (Connections) Series #1, 2-5, oil on canvas

These paintings demand of the viewer to stop; take the time to understand the messages through each one of these artworks as metaphors for the tensions in our world.

ASU DT campus staff is truly impressed with the quality of the artworks and the stories they convey…

Rusi’s "Healing" from the Rag Collection

Sentrock "Resistance to Enslavement"

Review and photos by judy butzine, January 19, 2010