Add Your Voice

Image of Arizona state with text Add your voice to protect all ArizonansThis month, Phoenix Center for the Arts and Thunderbird Arts Center added their voice in support of inclusivity and protection to two letters, drafted for our Arizona government officials, by the Asian Corporate & Entrepreneur Leaders (ACEL) and ONE Community (ONE).

In each letter, along with over 100 Arizona businesses, we stand in solidarity with our local Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) and LGBTQ+ communities, in these requests for equal protections and opportunities under Arizona law. Phoenix Center for the Arts and Thunderbird Arts Center encourage the community to join together to stop hate, and put an end to inequality.

Read the letter from the ACEL, requesting “to make the prevention and prosecution of hate crimes against AAPI a top priority in your governmental agenda.”

Read the letter from ONE, writing “in support of non-discrimination ordinances that protect all people, including LGBTQ people, from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations.”

For resources on how you can add your voice in support of equal rights and protections under the law:
· ACEL recommends visiting for resources on how you can contribute to the movement to stop anti-Asian hate.
· ONE invites you to take the Unity Pledge at to show your commitment to improving the future of Arizona.

Indigenous Peoples Day

Phoenix Center for the Arts acknowledges that it resides on the land of the Ancestral Sonoran Desert People. Land that was cultivated for centuries, and is stewarded today by the Akimel O’odham (Pima), Tohono O’odham, as well as the Pee Posh (Maricopa), who are the indigenous peoples of this land. We share our gratitude for the complex canal systems they engineered over 1000 years ago that enable us to live here in the Sonoran Desert today. We acknowledge the sovereignty of all Native Nations within the state of Arizona, and recognize our responsibility to honor Indigenous People, their culture, and their legacy as thriving contemporary communities by advocating for decolonized, inclusive, and diverse practices for all arts and culture institutions. Daniel Ramirez, Saginaw Chippewa Artist at the Phoenix Festival of the Arts

Indigenous Peoples Day recognizes that Native people are the first inhabitants of the Americas, honors their history, and celebrates their culture. Visit the Indigenous Peoples Day Arizona website for more information about #IndigenousPeoplesDay and how to celebrate in Arizona.

Photograph of Daniel Ramirez, artist at the 2017 Phoenix Festival of the Arts. Daniel is a descendant of the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe of Michigan, and his work has been shown in museums and arts shows throughout the country. Visit his website to learn more about Daniel and his artwork.

Call to Action

Phoenix Center for the Arts and Thunderbird Arts Center stand against racism and social injustice. Now is a time to act in support of one another, sharing love, kindness, and compassion. We encourage our friends and neighbors to find ways to speak up and work to change the systems of power that perpetuate inequity, violence, and injustice.

There are so many ways you can help. Our colleagues at Local First Arizona recently shared this list of ways that we can mobilize to support the black community, both with our dollars and our voices.

Speak up. Now is not the time to remain silent. There are so many steps that need to be taken to begin moving in the right direction if we are ever to achieve equity in the country, in the state, and in our local communities. Let’s be a part of the solution, together.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
– Martin Luther King Jr.

Liliana Gomez at Jacob’s Pillow

Jacob’s Pillow, in partnership with the Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) and The New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA), invited early career dance presenters to apply for an immersive professional development experience to:

  • Strengthen curatorial practice in dance
  • Discuss critical issues facing the dance field
  • Learn about and share audience engagement strategies
  • Explore collaborative strategies to support choreographic development
  • Strengthen professional networks

We are super excited that our very own Dance Department Head, Liliana Gomez will be attending on behalf of Phoenix Center for the Arts!

Photo by Eduardo Robles


Women Veteran Art Program

The new Women Veteran Art Program, part of Arizona Art Alliance Veteran Outreach Program, participated in the ADVS Military & Veteran Women’s Summit on June 15th.
Along with providing an impressive display of women veteran art, a beautiful painting was donated by Rita Goldner, who served as a Naval Officer, and  is the first programs’ art instructor and continues to this day.
Rita is an artist, writer and children’s book illustrator. It was her idea to help inspire attendee’s to engage and experience the many benefits of art by arranging the raffle.
The lucky winner is Annette P. from Parks, AZ, Congratulations Annette! Rita notified the lucky winner with the following, “I shipped your painting! Hope you enjoy it. It’s a plein air of Woods Canyon Lake, up on the Mogollon Rim, I painted it while camping up there in the cool pines”.
Annette responded with. “Thank you! I am a painter and appreciate what others paint, draw sculpt…I do mine for peace of mind. The women’s summit was excellent”.
The Women Veteran Art Program is held at Phoenix Center for the Arts every Third Monday of each month.
To sign up, please contact Laurielle Schwab:

For more information the on the free Women Veteran Art Program at Phoenix Center for the Arts, CLICK HERE.

Phoenix Center for the Arts Announces Lauren Henschen as its new Chief Executive Officer

We are absolutely thrilled to announce the appointment of Lauren Henschen as the new Chief Executive Officer of Central Arts Alliance (CAA), most commonly known as Phoenix Center for the Arts, effective July 1, 2019. Henschen was unanimously approved by the CAA Board of Directors and will oversee all CAA operations and programming, including Phoenix Center for the Arts, Thunderbird Arts Center, and the Arizona Art Mobile.
Board Chair, Jamie Halavais, states, “We chose Lauren to lead CAA into its next stage of service because of the depth and breadth of her knowledge about CAA and the communities and constituents it engages, her strong business acumen, and countless other positive business attributes. All of these factors made Lauren the obvious and best choice to lead CAA as it continues to provide arts and culture opportunities for all through education, programming, and advocacy.”
“The CAA Board has tasked Lauren with launching a broad public search for a Director of Institutional Advancement,” Halavais continued, “as part of our ongoing commitment to expanding the roster of professional skills, creative talents, and lived experience on our leadership team.”
Henschen joined the Phoenix Center for the Arts staff in 2013 and has served in the position of Deputy Director for the past three years, overseeing sales, marketing, major events, and community partnerships. CAA’s outgoing Director, Joseph Benesh, states “Lauren has been an instrumental force in the development of Phoenix Center for the Arts since the early days of our growth as a nonprofit organization. In addition to ‘putting Phoenix Center for the Arts on the map’ by marketing our programs with thoughtful integrity, Lauren has always seen the bigger picture in what we do, who we serve, and what we can do better.”
Phoenix Center for the Arts Dance Department Head, Liliana Gomez, states “Over the years, Lauren has proven her commitment to the community on behalf of PCA/CAA; of providing services and opportunities to the community, and also serving on boards and committees that align with the beliefs of arts for all.”
An active member of the Downtown Phoenix community, Henschen serves on the Executive Boards of the Evans Churchill Community Association and the Hance Park Conservancy, as well as on the Phoenix Community Alliance Arts, Culture, and Public Life Committee, and the Noche en Blanco event planning committee. Henschen is a graduate of Valley Leadership Institute Class 38. In 2017, Henschen was featured in AZCentral’s “Who’s Next” list, identifying the next generation of Arizona movers and shakers.
Prior to her time with Phoenix Center for the Arts, Henschen worked closely with small business, nonprofit, and arts-based organizations for eight years through Communication Arts Network, a local public relations and marketing firm. She also served as an ongoing consultant for Arizona State University’s PAVE Professional Sustainability Program.
Henschen is a summa cum laude graduate of Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute.
Photo by Mirinda DiBiase.

Phoenix Center for the Arts Announces Departure of Director, Joseph Benesh

Phoenix Center for the Arts and the Central Arts Alliance Board of Directors announced yesterday that longtime Director, Joseph Benesh, has accepted the position of Executive Director with Arizona Citizens for the Arts, a nonprofit statewide arts advocacy organization.
“It is with a myriad of emotions that I make this change,” Joseph states. “Central Arts Alliance is my home and I feel I have grown with the organization, the programs, and the people it serves. I will miss working with the staff and artists who have become part of my family.”
Board Chair, Jamie Halavais, issued the following statement: “The board would like to thank Joseph for his years of dedicated service to Phoenix Center for the Arts and Central Arts Alliance. Over the past eight years, Joseph has expanded the capacity of this organization tremendously, and made a meaningful impact on the community it serves. Under his tenure Central Arts Alliance created the Mayor’s Arts Awards, Art Mobile, and Thunderbird Arts Center. In the past year, Central Arts Alliance has served over 3,300 students at its two campuses, and another 35,000 through engagement programming and community events. We wish Joseph all the best in his future endeavor.”
The transition in leadership will take place over the next month. The CAA Board of Directors is considering candidates for its top leadership position and will be making a decision soon.

Arizona Gives Day

Celebrate Arizona Gives Day with us! 
Arizona Gives Day Pre-Game: April 1st from 6-9pm in the Ceramics Courtyard. Come hang out, grab some food and drinks, and make your AZGD donation!
Donuts and Donations: April 2nd from 9-11am in the VAB Lobby. Stop by on your way into class, have a donut and some coffee, and make your AZGD donation!
Cookies and Contributions: April 2nd from noon-9pm in the VAB Lobby. Grab a cookie and a drink on your way into class and make your AZGD donation!

WonderLab: A Visual Poetics

April 5 & 19, 2019
at the Larry Wilson Gallery,
Phoenix Center for the Arts

Phoenix Center for the Arts is proud to present WonderLab: A Visual Poetics, an exhibition created by MFA students at Arizona State University. Students include: Maritza Estrada, Jabari Jawan Allen, Maria Woodson, Erin Noehre, Joel Salcido, Chelsea ListonElliot Winter, and Steven Abell, curated by Rashaad Thomas. The show will be open to the public on Friday, April 5 & 19, 2019 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm, in the Larry Wilson Gallery, located within the Performing Arts Building at Phoenix Center for the Arts, 1202 N Third Street, Phoenix, AZ 85004.

[The] WonderLab: A Visual Poetics, is the product of poets wondering about the possibilities and deficiencies of “text”. Through rigor and critical inquiry, this group of eight poets of varying identities and aesthetics are reconsidering what a text can be, how a poem can be “read”, how the emotional and intellectual landscapes of poetry can be rendered beyond the traditional “page”, how the imagistic, aural and textural resonances of poetics can be made visual. This exhibition is about questions.


These words have been crafted without you in mind. They are being read over you. Over your body. To prepare you. What is there to read here? Posture? The long movements of ritual? Tiny adjustments that cannot be concealed? Have you ever tried to touch a gathering, a play, a funeral? Which are its most untouchable parts? Is a funeral a kind art? Are we never supposed to touch art? Does touching art change it? Does touching it alter how we gather? Who’s allowed to sob loudly in a museum? The viewer? Certainly not. The artist? But isn’t the artist’s art the manifestation of a prior grief? Wouldn’t this person’s unrestrained outpourings of emotion be a spontaneous demonstration and need to be contained and given a thoughtful name and provided adequate time to promote? Surely it should not be permitted in the same venue? Isn’t there a massive conflict of interests? How many monuments have been born into us? When should we stop asking questions about gathering? If we’re reading this, our gaze is passing over the surface of a text. Our hearts are beating continually. The moment is gorgeous. It is so many things that we cannot touch. Or. Maybe it’s not even a thing at all.

Spring Break Camp at Thunderbird Arts Center

Register today! 
Thunderbird Arts Center
Mon. 3/18 – Friday 3/22
9 a.m. – 4 p.m. 
Spring Break Camp at Thunderbird Arts Center starts next week!  We still have spots left, and wanted to let you know.  Looking forward to seeing you and your camper next week for a whole week of artsy fun!

Art Detour at Phoenix Center for the Arts
Two Gallery Shows – March 15 & 16

“Creative Resistance:
Confronting Indigenous Struggles Through Street Art”
Gallery Exhibition by Remy
March 15, 6:00-9:00pm
March 16, 9:00am-4:00pm

Phoenix Center for the Arts is proud to present CREATIVE RESISTANCE – Confronting Indigenous Struggles Through Street Art, an exhibition by artist Remy, curated by Rashaad Thomas.

The show will be open to the public on Friday, March 15, 2019 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm and Saturday, March 16 from 9:00am to 4:00pm, in the Larry Wilson Gallery, located within the Performing Arts Building at Phoenix Center for the Arts, 1202 N Third Street, Phoenix, AZ 85004.

Remy is a multidisciplinary Indigenous activist and artist of many different media from the Black Mesa region on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona. By utilizing art, activism and technology, his creations are rooted in his heritage and culture addressing social, environmental and political issues. Remy’s work and installations can be seen in the streets, traveling in various exhibits around the world and secured in many of the country’s finest evidence lockers, but not before making its statement to the public pushing the important role art plays within movements.

Please bring warm clothing donations for our unsheltered Indigenous relatives up north in colder weather. Thank you!

Visit our Gallery page for more information

Join us tonight for Third Friday!

We are thrilled to have partnered with Roosevelt Row Academy to help bring FREE workshops facilitated by three different artists/disciplines. During Third Friday, over three months during Spring 2019, three (3) one-hour workshops will be facilitated by three different artists/disciplines per month. This outdoor arts and culture workshop series will take place at Shadow Play, the “triangle” on 3rd Street and Roosevelt. Classes are accessible for all levels, of all ages, and are free for the public to attend.

Student Art Series: Spring Show
Stop by during Art Detour tonight!
Out and about for Art Detour? We have so much amazing artwork on display at Phoenix Center for the Arts this month.

Phoenix Center for the Arts is proud to present the Student Art Series, Spring Show, featuring the work of our very own visual arts students.

This show is presented in the Visual Arts Building, open for viewing during business hours,and is free to the public. Stop by this Friday from 6:00-9:00pm!

Artists include:
Archana Padmavati, Brianna Spadafora, Ellen Roach, Hana Shafer, Jon Whitcomb, Kathleen Yardley, Lee Brown, Lizbeth Patterson, Mary Egbert, Rosalie Kirkman, Susan Parkin, and Thomas Santilli

The IMPACTful Nonprofit Award celebrates an organization that exhibits community impact, innovation, and has proven to overcome adversity. Phoenix Center for the Arts is honored to be a finalist for the award. YOU have to opportunity to help us receive this distinguished award. Voting closes on April 19th.

Arizona Gives Day is an annual giving movement uniting nonprofits, big and small, new and established, to celebrate and increase philanthropy in Arizona through online giving. Please consider donating to Phoenix Center for the Arts on April 2nd. Your contribution, no matter how big or small, creates an impact.