Museums, art hubs dot UA, Tucson

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Rebecca Noble/Arizona Summer Wildcat


Alan Bur Johnson installs "Murmuration 13:00:47," 271 double image photographic transparencies hung with dissection pins, as a part of the Tucson Museum of Art's Arizona Biennial 2015 exhibit on July 17. Johnson's work is inspired by life cycles and "Murmuration 13:00:47" particularly draws from his observation that every fraction of second in a flock or a swarm is drastically different from the next. Johnson presses all of his transparencies in an antique book press and frames them himself.

As soon-to-be Wildcats descend on the UA campus in the sizzling hot sun, new adventures and activities await the gatitos in the various museums and artistic hubs around campus.

Arizona State Museum

Found northeast of Main Gate Square, surrounded by greenery and an array of brick buildings, attendees wander into the Arizona Sate Museum: the oldest and largest anthropology-based museum in the American Southwest.

The museum contains an extensive collection of Native American baskets equating to over 25,000 rare woven pieces, along with sandals, mats and more. The museum also curates more than 3 million catalogued objects at a time and holds one of the largest Navajo rugs ever made. For students looking to learn more about native cultures, the museum has extensive resources for the study of Southwestern peoples.

ASM offers free admission for students with CatCards Monday through Saturday, with a full calendar of events.

Free student memberships are available at the open house on Sept. 4 from 3-5 p.m. Membership with the museum provides access to additional events year-round for behind-the-scenes tours, internship possibilities and the opportunities to
meet curators.

With students having a large role at ASM, marketing and membership program coordinator Darlene Lizarraga noted that the museum logs an average of 40,000 contact hours with students every year through employment, internships, trainees, galleries, offices, classrooms and field projects of which they are very proud.

University of Arizona Museum of Art

Tucked away into a corner of campus just south of Speedway Boulevard and east of Park Avenue, the University of Arizona Museum of Art offers students eight centuries of art.

Described as “exciting, welcoming and engaging” by marketing manager Gina Compitello-Moore, the museum displays exhibitions that change monthly with upcoming events like "Rome—Legacy of an Eternal City" in September.

In October, a month-long celebration of light and art called "Month of Light" is an interdisciplinary look between the College of Optical Sciences and Department of Astronomy, which demonstrates the pervasion of light in all facets of life.

Free student memberships are available and provide students with email notifications about different events and exhibits that aren’t always on the calendar, noted Compitello-Moore. The museum is free to students as long as they have a CatCard handy and costs $5 for non-student adults.

“We really want to be a part of everyone’s college experience,” Compitello-Moore said.

University of Arizona School of Dance

Nestled at the end of the UA Mall, an architectural marvel houses the Stevie Eller Dance Theatre. The theatre seats 300 and features an orchestra pit, a fly system and numerous performances for students, staff and community members year-round.

According to the School of Dance website, it offers both academically and professionally trained staff that students are able to interact with to benefit their education.

With emphases on ballet, modern and jazz dance training, student performances are combined with classroom learning to enhance stage confidence and risk-taking for the audience’s pleasure.

Natrually lit performances are also an option, with a glass-surrounded stage on the second story for afternoon entertainment.

To purchase tickets, call the box office or create an account on the College of Fine Arts Box Office website by following the “CFA Box Office” link in the performances tab of the School of Dance’s website. The CFA Box Office website lists all performances at the dance studio and other fine arts performances across campus.

Tucson Museum of Art

For students seeking a day-long art extravaganza, hop on the Sun Link Tucson Modern Streetcar and head downtown. Two blocks away from the streetcar stop at Congress Street and Main Avenue is the Tucson Museum of Art.

Located in the historic district, El Presidio, TMA is opening its doors to get people from all backgrounds interested with varying exhibitions from different disciplines, noted Christine Brindza, the James and Louise Glasser Curator of Art of the American West.

“People can escape here,” she said.

For the fall, an exhibit titled “Western Heroes of Pulp Fiction: Dime Novel to Pop Culture” is an ode to the shootouts and damsels ingrained in the American psyche from dime novels, pulp fiction art, comic books and other artistic expressions that helped form the sensationalized West. The exhibit runs from Oct. 24 to Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, 2016.

Hungry museum-goers can visit Café a la C’Art right across the courtyard with a shaded outdoor patio and separate street entrance for sumptuous meals and desserts. The museum remains open until 8 p.m. on Thursdays to accommodate happy hour and dinner guests.

With identification, museum tickets are $7 for students, $12 for adults, $10 for seniors ages 65 and up, $7 for youth 13 to 17, and admission is free for children 12 and under, veterans and museum members.

“I think it’s a gem in Tucson people should take advantage of,” Brindza said.  


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