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State of the Arts Arizona, from Hear Arizona.
State of the Arts Arizona

Local arts and culture groups entertain us, connect our communities, and help attract new businesses and residents to Arizona. Nonprofit arts organizations were in a precarious situation before the virus altered our world. Now, they are adapting to new methods of providing services while trying to remain relevant. State of the Arts Arizona focuses on how arts nonprofits are connecting with us no matter what the circumstances. This podcast series is supported by Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust.

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Latest Episodes
  • The arts play an essential role in shaping the future of both individual people and humankind as a whole. Using Maslow’s pyramid of needs as a guide, this episode shows how art can help people make social connections, gain self-confidence and ultimately, self-actualization. Art therapy, for example, is a powerful tool for undoing the lasting effects of trauma on abused or neglected children. We hear from art therapy’s experts, mentors, and participants, as well as a former NASA astronaut and current leader of ASU’s initiative to imagine humanity’s future on other planets. All of them explain how art can give us the skills, confidence, and inspiration to imagine a better future and make it a reality.
  • We look to the past to understand the present and plan for the future. However, for centuries, history has been told selectively, leaving a lot of people out. In Episode 9, learn how art can help us better understand the history of the disadvantaged. Hear from one activist working to tell the story of Black history in Arizona and a “music archaeologist” who's working to uncover the under-appreciated and forgotten work of Black musicians and composers. When we have a more complete story of the past, we just might be able to make a better future.
  • What exactly is empathy? And why is it so important? It can solve many of humanity’s worst self-inflicted problems, but it can be hard to muster up and inspire in others. However, research does show that empathy can be taught—passed from one person to another—and that art can make that happen. On this episode, we hear from artists from opposite ends of the Earth who both use their work to prompt people to see the world from a different perspective. And we hear from researchers who’ve investigated just how impactful this perspective shift can be, and what needs to be done in order for people to experience it.
  • Arizona ranks near the bottom of the country in state funding for the arts. So here, artists and arts organizations rely heavily on the generosity of donors big and small—and that generosity pays off in a myriad of ways. We hear from a number of art organization leaders about how they’re working to make a community that’s full of inspiration, character, and growth. We’ll also hear about their dreams for the future and what they could do if we continue to support them.
  • How can art make community out of conflict, and help us see the world with a little more color and empathy? Throughout this tumultuous past year in American history, Arizona artist Ann Morton has led a decidedly non-radical protest: “The Violet Protest.” She, and thousands of collaborators from all 50 states, wove opposing colors—blue and red—together to make a harmonious whole. In this episode, we dive into that project and the larger issue of division and political polarization. We’ll hear from a political scientist, philosopher of art, museum CEO, and several everyday people that have experienced the protest in person at the Phoenix Art Museum.
  • What is the value of art? Is it merely a nice add-on, luxury or past-time? Or is it truly valuable and maybe essential for a thriving and healthy life and society? In the United Kingdom, research revealing the surprisingly strong link between arts participation and health outcomes has led doctors there to prescribe cultural activities as medicine. In this episode, we hear from Arizonans benefiting from the healing power of art—from veterans doing glass art to people dancing with dementia—and the researchers and advocates supporting them. Arizona may be on the precipice of an art scene breakthrough, and America on the verge of a groundbreaking union between healthcare and arts.
  • The pandemic has almost completely deprived us of going in-person to concerts and plays. What is still unclear is how available they will be to us once the threat of the virus subsides. Smaller theaters like the Brelby Theatre Company in Glendale and The Rogue Theatre in Tucson are scratching and clawing to survive, but even more established arts organizations, like the Arizona Theatre Company and The Phoenix Symphony, are struggling.We hear from researchers, actors, playwrights, and theater owners about the invaluable role that performing arts play in our lives and society—and how they can promote unity at a time when our country becomes increasingly divided.
  • With nearly all concerts, festivals, and comedy shows canceled over the past year, the live event industry has been significantly impacted by the pandemic. And it’s been particularly tough for America’s small, independently owned venues—those like The Rebel Lounge on 24th street and Indian School. One survey in April found that 90% of these venues across America were in danger of closing. There was only one thing that could save them: unprecedented government action.
  • The arts and the economy are inextricably linked. The arts community creates 90,000 jobs and 3 percent of the state's GDP -- yet the state allocates less than one-tenth of one percent of the annual budget to the arts. As Arizona navigates a post-pandemic economic recovery, the local arts scene will inevitably play a big role in the state's future.
  • Even in the best of times, arts organizations sometimes struggled to stay afloat, despite their significant economic and cultural impact. The upheaval of 2020 has forced them to adapt to a world where revenue is even less stable than before, and even their most basic mission could be unsafe. Leaders of some major local arts nonprofits share their insights on the state of the arts in Arizona.