Acker Night 2018 Saturday, Dec 8 2018 

Music Machine

Music Machine

Rain earlier in the day did not affect this year’s 30th anniversary of Acker Night. Some 600 performers in 145 groups in 140 businesses participated in this musical showcase that raises funds: to provide scholarships for music lessons, to purchase instruments, and to support local youth performing arts programs.

After admiring the Yavapai County Courthouse lights and taking photos within the gazebo, we took in some of the performers on Whiskey Row. “Sidekicks” performed country, bluegrass, and Gospel in the Prescott Trading Company. “Lady T and the Tramps” hit their acoustic Americana groove in the Clothes Hound. “Perfect Strangers” belted out their rock, country, and pop tunes in the Hotel St. Michael alley.

Rather than wait in the long line to get into the Elks Theatre on Gurley, we entered Liberty Lane to be entertained by the silky voice Renee Patrick Grant and the energetic keyboards from “Nicole Pesce.”

Along Cortez we admired the variety of banjos playing Dixieland with the “Hometowne Banjoleers” in Lamerson Jewelry. “Adam and Friends” rocked us in The Marketplace. “Road One South” performed the blues in Country Bank. “Music Machine” celebrated Christmas music on a theatre organ in an open area adjacent to Adrenaline Salon. Our dinner table with friends in Papa’s Italian Restaurant was in a back room far from where “Sax Appeal” performed. We enjoyed a taste of Italy in the pines.

Acker Night is another unique way to celebrate Christmas in Prescott.

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Benson Sculpture Garden Monday, Jul 30 2018 

Child of Peace

Child of Peace

Loveland, Colorado has been described as “a sweetheart city which has a love affair with the arts.” The Benson Sculpture Garden currently has 158 pieces of sculpture on a 10-acre park situated around a privately-owned lake, amid trees, flowers, and natural habitat areas. We visited the day before part of the park was going to be closed for the 35th Annual Sculpture in the Park, the largest outdoor juried sculpture show. This year’s official dates of this show are August 10-12. I took photographs of the following sculptures with the date they were added by the Loveland High Plains Arts Council:

  • “High Plains Warrior” by George Walbye (1985)
  • “Windsong” by George Walbye (1985)
  • “Double Header” by Kent Ullberg (1986)
  • “Rice Ritual” by Carla Knight (1989)
  • “Child of Peace” by Edward F. Hoffman III (1990)
  • “Flora” by Jo Hess (1990)
  • “Keeping the Ball Rolling” by Jane Dedecker (1990)
  • “Sophie” by Tony Hochstetler (1990)
  • “Akicita” by Dan Garrett (1991)
  • “Mujer del Logo” by Tom Ware (1992)
  • “Between Broncs” by Garland Weeks (1998)
  • “Circle of Life” by J. Chester Armstrong (1998)
  • “Prairie Flowers” by George Lundeen (1998)
  • “Rebecca and Friends” by Dee Toscano (1998)
  • “Dance of the Eagle” by Allan Houser (1999)
  • “The Escape” by Curtis Zabel (2000)
  • “Lillith” by Rosalind Cook (2000)
  • “The Actor” by Dee Clements (2001)
  • “The Potato Man” by Susan Geissler (2001)
  • “Louis Papa” by Pat Kennedy (2001)
  • “Monday” by Maureen K. Scott (2002)
  • “Breeze” by Blair Buswell (2003)
  • “Harvest” by Seth Vandable (2003)
  • “Resting on a Rough Sawn Bench” by Robert McDermott (2003)
  • “Evening Jazz” by Warren Cullar (2004)
  • “Fiesta” by Carol Gold (2004)
  • “Headin’ for the Gathering” by Rick Jackson (2006)
  • “The Garden” by Susie Chisholm (2008)
  • “Duet” by Jeff K. Laing (2009)
  • “Pelican Ahoy” by Jim Green (2013)
  • “Happy Dance” by Richard Pankratz (2015)
  • “Book of Peddlers” by Jack Morford (2016)
  • “Tree Top Stretch” by Daniel B. Glanz (2016)
  • “Amore” by Kim Kori (2017)

Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Thursday, Jul 26 2018 

John Wayne

John Wayne

The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College offers extraordinary exhibits. The permanent collection has strong holdings of “Art of the Southwest” from indigenous, Nuevomexicana/o artists. I especially liked “Our Lady of Guadalupe” by Eulogio and Zoraida Ortega. Marisol presents a satirical portrait of John Wayne’s macho image with her mixed media piece “John Wayne.” Dale Chihuly’s “Orange Hornet Chandelier” was a bright spot in our visit. I was impressed with their collection of M. C. Escher paintings of “Perception and Deception.” I was surprised at how many special exhibits were offered. Alex Harris, for example, presents a series of photographs (through July 29th) of Northern New Mexico landscapes taken from the front seat of different classic cars in “Red White Blue and God Bless You.” Within the “Year of the Dog” exhibit (through October 14), Frank and Sharon Romero present some wonderful images of dogs. Sculptor John Frame uses an animated film to portray his “Three Fragments of a Lost Tale” (until September 16). Conceptual artist Tom Marioni has a fun exhibit with “The Art of Drinking Beer with Friends is the Highest Form of Art” (until September 9th). Unfortunately, because we were leaving Wednesday morning, we missed his evening beer drinking event. The Bemis School of Art Gallery featured interesting work by three Colorado College students. The interior courtyard has several sculptures including “Opus 1” by Bill Burgess. The grounds have more sculptures. I was especially interested to see Prescott resident Doug Hyde’s “Hopi Basket Dancers.”

We walked around the Colorado College campus and stepped into the Tutt Library where we learned that the school has about 2,000 students and that their unusual curricular format is based on eight 3.5-week classes per year. Colorado College is a very interesting college. We had dinner in Old Colorado City where we learned that it was briefly the territorial capital. The city celebrates its mining history with old mining ore cars decorating street corners. Although closed, the windows of the Michael Garman Museum and Gallery intrigued us with its handmade figurines.

2018 Prescott Bluegrass Festival Sunday, Jun 24 2018 

Central Valley Boys

Central Valley Boys

This year we attended Prescott Bluegrass Festival sets on both Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday we heard traditional bluegrass from the Central Valley Boys, California; the seasoned musicians from the Sonoran Dogs, Tucson and Phoenix; and the rock side of the headliners Ryan Shuge and the Rubberband. The Central Valley Boys were the best costumed, but we progressively enjoyed the musical virtuosity of each ensuing group. On Sunday we returned for the set by Tom Paxton and the Don Juans. Interestingly, these Grammy winning singer-songwriters performed at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix on Saturday night ($38.50-$43.50). The 37th annual Prescott Bluegrass Festival was free!

Back to the Moon for Good Saturday, Jun 16 2018 

Last night we attended the Back to the Moon for Good planetarium show at the recently  opened Jim & Linda Lee Planetarium at Prescott’s Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University campus. This modern, beautiful planetarium seats 116 and offers an impressive 360-degree 4k resolution. This show, narrated by Tim Allen in 2013, presents some of the 18 teams from around the world attempting to land a privately funded robotic spacecraft on the Moon. After the show we discovered that no one claimed the $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE by the March 31, 2018 deadline. This program will be shown again tonight. Embry-Riddle’s monthly community programs are worth attending, and the price (free) can’t be beat.

2018 Chalk It Up! Monday, Apr 23 2018 

Gus Moran Chalk Art

Gus Moran Chalk Art

The National Bank of Arizona parking lot was again this year the site for the Chalk It Up event. According to a banner at the event: “The tradition of street painting dates back to 16th century Italy when painters transformed village squares into temporary galleries using chalk.” Our local event has come a long ways since its inception in 2009. It seemed to me that there were more individual artists this year and their work was qualitatively better than previous years. The guest artists treated us to some exceptional work. Gus Moran from Rancho Cucamonga, California was the People’s Choice with his Native American chief. I liked the cowboy on a horse by 3rd place winner Chris Blake, San Diego. Jeff Daverman, Prescott, also did a nice job with a positive theme. We visited on both Saturday and Sunday. We listened to the Rockin Ukes Sunday afternoon.

On Saturday, an Earth Day Celebration and a Wildfire Expo also took place on Cortez Street adjacent to the Yavapai County Courthouse. Both events offered an interesting mix of booths appealing to all ages. Smokey the Bear posed for us.

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