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Arizona Arts Live seeks a renaissance with spring offerings, mural

Arizona Arts Live seeks a renaissance with spring offerings, mural

  • Updated

Arizona Arts Live likes to think of its spring events as a renaissance of sorts, a rebirth after a long year of dark stages and silence.

The University of Arizona arts presenter got a jump on its #ReadyforRenaissance campaign in January with a digital series “On the Record with Arizona Arts Live,” a collection of conversations with Tucson local arts makers and arts leaders and Arizona Arts Live Executive Director Chad Herzog. Earlier this month, it followed up with “Bandaloop,” the Oakland, California, vertical dance troupe that performed for its first time in almost a year. The group performed on the towering walls of the UA Psychology and Meinel Optical Sciences buildings.

Arizona Arts Live also reintroduced its Tucson Studio concert series, which it hosted last summer and fall, with performances by hip hop and R&B artist Mo-T and full-time percussionist Elizabeth Goodfellow, whose events are still posted to Arizona Arts Live YouTube page ( Additional Tucson Studio concerts will be added, Herzog said.

“This year has been so different. … What I was planning to do last week, chances are that’s changed because of something regarding the pandemic,” said Herzog, who took over the former UA Presents in 2019. “We’ve had to be so nimble in our curation process.

“What I’ve been most excited about is that we’ve been able to continue to bring live arts experiences to Southern Arizona.”

In the coming weeks, other performances will include:

  • “Conversations with Mark Morris,” the noted choreographer and dancer, on Thursday, March 18, hosted by TV journalist Paula Zahn with special guest, chef and food activist Alice Waters.
  • “In the Kitchen” featuring Tucson chefs including James Beard Award-winner Janos Wilder premieres April 1 and will run several weeks.
  • Tucson folk duo Ryanhood will perform two sold-out CD release concerts for their new album “Under the Leaves” on April 16 and 17 at the MSA Annex. Herzog said additional tickets are expected to be available after Gov. Doug Ducey earlier this month eased capacity restrictions for restaurants, bars and other events.
  • Scott Silven’s “The Journey” returns in late April. The show sold out during its December run.

As a centerpiece of the #ReadyforRenaissance campaign, Arizona Arts Live commissioned a trio of Tucson muralists — Brandon Varela, Mel Dominguez and Robb Harris — to create murals that Herzog said he hopes will lift the community’s spirits as we navigate what could be the end of the pandemic.

The goal, he said, is “supporting artists and really making sure that their voices are still being heard, while providing audiences an opportunity to find joy and unexpected experiences.”

Yasmin Acosta is University of Arizona journalism student apprenticing for the Star.

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