The Tempe Center for the Arts wows visitors and residents alike with two theaters and a 3500 sf art gallery. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the TCA also has numerous special events each month, including a happy hour with live music Thursday-Saturday nights.
Photographing Tempe Center for the Arts
Below are my top two tips for photographing the TCA.
1. Walk around the building, looking for interesting perspectives that convey more of the character of the building.
Of course you could grab a quick shot in front of the building when your tour bus drops you off, but then you would miss both the back and side views of this modern building that occupies prime real estate next to the Salt Lake and pedestrian bridge at the end of the development called Tempe Town Lake.
2. Walk Into the building to see what more there is to see.
The inside of the building is just as spectacular as the outside. You could check out the art gallery, if it’s open, or get a few photos of the lobby view of the theater.
These tips might seem logical, but I watched as a tour bus dropped off visitors and they scrambled to take one photo of the building and another of the pedestrian bridge when there is so much more to see and explore.
The Heard Museum is well known for their collection of Native American art. A great time to visit is on the first Friday of each month when admission is free from 6-10pm. This first-timer had no problem with finding my way and parking at the museum. For extra security, there is a security guard watching comings and goings.
If you’re like me and want to capture a few photos to remember your First Friday visit to the Heard Museum, you’ll want to review a night photography tutorial before you go. Night photography will require you to make trade-offs in ISO, shutter speed, and aperture because of the low light conditions. Plus, you’ll want a tripod to better control camera shake to get photos as sharp as possible.
I wasn’t sure if I wanted to lug my photography gear and tripod all night, but I was pleasantly surprised at how easy and accessible parking was to the museum grounds. I was able to do some night photography outside with my tripod and then drop it back off to the car before going inside to enjoy the collection of Native American art. Double win!
Tonight’s Favorites in the Collection
This art fence by Tina Jojola and Rosemary Lonewolf took my breath away. The spectacular Southwest colors and materials refer back to the fences built by Indigenous peoples. Just as this fence is strong, beautiful and persistent, so too are Native cultures.
This basket by Mary Thomas caught my eye. The center of the basket is a coiled snake and the outside ring depicts a friendship dance. I don’t know that I’d want to make friends with a snake. As with people who are snakes, I’d rather just give them a wide berth and find my true friends instead.
I really love the colors and detail in this acrylic painting on linen by Tony Abeyta.
And, saving the most disturbing piece for last: see the barber chair below and read the copy above the chair. Heartbreaking cruelty in the name of creating “civilized” children.
First Fridays in Phoenix
I didn’t realize how many of the museums and galleries in Phoenix have special public programs to encourage art appreciation on first Fridays. Now that I know, my First Fridays for the foreseeable future are booked: I’ll be checking out all the arts districts by light rail and riding the free trolly so I can see more of the Phoenix art scene.
Most often, it’s the art I find in hallways, entryways, or courtyards of a museum that leaves the strongest impression on me. That was certainly the case when I visited the Phoenix Art Museum this week.
Turning into the parking lot, I see a big red sculpture. It makes me wonder if I put a big lawn ornament in my front yard if I could slow the traffic down below 50 mph.
A big red dinosaur in a cage, Sui Jianguo’s Jurassic Age, sits at the entrance to the museum. Emblazoned, Made in China, it’s political commentary on toys conceived in the west, manufactured in China, and distributed around the world.
The 25,000 butterflies of the Black Cloud by Carlos Amorales swarming the entrance hall made me stop and swivel around trying to take it all in.
One of the exhibits that really impressed me was by Marissa Roth called Infinite Light. According to the poster description, it’s her “love letter to Tibet,” depicted through 72 photos and designed to be viewed as a walking meditation. As I moved through the space, I could hear a Buddhist meditation bell ringing to aid in the visual appreciation of the prints all placed in a row at eye level.
This woman made me smile. The way she is positioned in the frame makes me think she’s in a hurry. She’s not doing any walking meditation in this view. She seems to be interrogating someone, if only with her eyes: seriously!?
Another thing that I liked about this exhibit was that non-flash photography was encouraged. The hashtags for this project include: #InfiniteLightPhxArt #PhxArtTibet.
The Phoenix Art Museum is open late on Wednesday nights and First Friday nights–both with free admission. You could squeeze in a visit after work for happy hour, browse the galleries or have dinner one evening at the onsite restaurant, Palette.
The holidays are approaching and museum shops have some of the best novelty items. It’s one of my favorite places to shop. The window displays give me ideas about how I might fill my vases at home wth flowers and decorations for the holidays. The museum shop will even be open on Black Friday with discounts of 10% for non-members and 20% for members. Plus, it will be a great time to purchase an annual membership with $20 off the normal price (details here).
If you’re visiting Phoenix, be sure to check out the Phoenix Art Museum, restaurant and gallery shop. The museum is billed as the largest museum in the Southwest and has a huge variety of collections and special exhibitions.