Arizona Consortium for the Arts
For the past 10 years, the Arizona Consortium for the Arts has carved out its unique and distinctive role among the Phoenix region’s thriving arts and cultural institutions. The consortium partners with other organizations to provide children and adults with a wide range of programs that offer hands-on, up-close encounters with their own creativity and previously untapped talents.
And that’s just for starters.
“The consortium provides support for emerging and established Arizona artists spanning all disciplines and offers free access to the arts for the general public by hosting cultural, arts and performance arts events,” said Elena Thornton, who founded the Arizona Consortium for the Arts in 2007. “We aim to advance, unite, collaborate, partner, connect and engage individuals and community organizations in all aspects of arts, performing arts, literary arts and cultures in Arizona.”
Among its achievements:
- The Blue Guitar Magazine, highly acclaimed for both its quality and its range. It is a literary and arts journal/magazine that features Arizona’s emerging and established writers and artists. The magazine has thousands of online readers throughout Arizona, the country and abroad. The editor-in-chief of The Blue Guitar Magazine, Rebecca Dyer, was nominated for the Governor’s Arts Award in 2012.
- The Blue Guitar Jr. Edition, which features works by children and works by adults who write for children.
- The inaugural issue of Unstrung magazine was launched in the summer of 2012. Unstrung is dedicated to poetry.
- The annual Blue Guitar Festival of the Arts, which features local musicians, dancers, singers, cultural presentations and readers from The Blue Guitar Magazine. The audience is treated to a varied program that runs the gamut from theater and dance to music of all genres and spoken- and written-word presentations.
“Our No. 1 priority is always to support and give voices and visibility to Arizona artists in all disciplines and genres, organizations and audiences, through continuous events and festivals free to our community, while utilizing our magazines, websites, newsletters and social media sites,” Thornton said.
The Arizona Consortium for the Arts maintains a varied and growing portfolio of programs, projects and services for artists, audiences and collaborating organizations. In addition to collaborating with local artists, the organizations has partnered with area educational institutions and businesses for events and festivals, such as Arizona State University, Mesa Community College, the Arizona Historical Heritage Center at Papago Park, Phoenix Public Library, Dog-Eared Pages Books, Desert Ridge Marketplace and many others.
Thornton said she knows the consortium is impacting the community.
“The testimonials of gratitude and successes from people are gratifying. Through our monthly open mics, festivals, magazines and special programs, people are inspired and start writing, drawing or painting, pick up an instrument, etc., and explore many other creative opportunities,” she said. “Many people let us know that after our events, they are inspired. They start writing and some have been published, some become dancers, singers, etc., and participate at our events. It is wonderful to watch them grow and develop. Our programs help nurture and support.
“We provide a platform for them to rehearse and hone their skills. We inspire, engage, involve, give voices and visibility, celebrate and connect our communities by providing innovative programs, activities and publications. We are dedicated to creating a connection with our community.”
The Arizona Consortium for the Arts, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, all volunteer, community organization. The group’s vision is to establish a multicultural, multidisciplinary arts space/center with an open-door policy. The center intends to provide a home for all activities and foster artistic growth for people of all ages through the participation in the arts.
“It will be a home for many wonderful community organizations and groups, creative and innovative activities, and projects representing and celebrating our diverse community,” Thornton said.
The group has received grants from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, the City of Tempe and the Arizona Lottery.
Still, it seeks more support. The group needs space to conduct its ongoing programs and activities. It also needs skilled people to help build a team to become financially sustainable as a community organization. Volunteer opportunities are listed on the group’s website at www.artizona.org. Thornton can be reached at email@example.com.