Recently, our family went to see a Blue Man Group performance at the University of Arizona's Centennial Hall.

My husband and I knew what to expect. We saw the Blue Man Group about 10 years ago in Chicago, where we lived for many years. But our sons, Preston, 7, and Griffin, 5, weren't quite sure what they were going to see.

The Star's Kathleen Allen described the show in The Arts section on April 29 as "loud" and "luscious," with "spitting paint, percussive sounds and wild entertainment."

The blue men mesmerized Preston and Griffin. The performers demonstrated their comedic, musical and physical talents without speaking a word. As we left the theater, Preston said, "I've never seen anything like that before."

Preston captured, in a nutshell, why my husband and I enjoy the arts so much, and why it is a priority for us to expose our children to the arts. For a couple of hours, we can leave our routines and worries behind and be entertained. We can see people on stage, sharing their talents and broadening our horizons.

Neither my husband nor I play a musical instrument or sing (outside of the car), act or paint. But we want our children to see people do those things. We want them to see possibilities.

Who knows if our boys will have the desire and talent to pursue a career in one of those areas? Griffin loves creating art every day at preschool, and Preston will perform this summer in his third play through Catalina Foothills Community Schools and Missoula Children's Theatre.

Tucson has pleasantly surprised us former Chicagoans in regard to the arts. The number of theaters, exhibits and performances in the Old Pueblo doesn't come close to that in Chicago, but the quality certainly does. Shows often don't stay in town long here, so we've learned to search the newspaper and the Internet for arts announcements, buy tickets and go.

I have been fortunate in the past year to have rocked out with Griffin at the Imagination Movers concert, laughed with my husband at some comedy performances, enjoyed the Tucson Symphony Orchestra with Preston and seen my very first ballet, Ballet Tucson's "The Nutcracker."

Bravo to the performers and supporters of the arts in Tucson!

E-mail Kelley Helfand at