Awesome Tips Bucket List Worthy
By Carolyn B. Heller
A winter escape to Arizona isn’t just about sun, supper, and sharpening your golf swing. In and around Phoenix, it can also mean trying your hand at a variety of art activities. Here are five ways to experience art hands-on in the Phoenix area this winter:
Just because you’re on holiday doesn’t mean you can’t learn something. If you’d like to hone your photography skills, make pottery, fashion glass beads with a blowtorch, or take up a variety of other art activities, check out the classes at the thoroughly modern Mesa Art Center.
Workshops here are designed for both visitors and local residents, ranging from a three-hour class to multi-session programs. Have a look at the Art Center’s performance calendar, too, which is packed with concerts, plays, lectures, and other events.
Phoenix’s Musical Instrument Museum is the world’s first museum to showcase instruments from more than 200 countries. As you wander the galleries, listen on your wireless headset to the boom of Zambian drums, the delicate string notes of a North Korean sohaegum (lute), or the piano that John Lennon used to compose his classic “Imagine.”
On select weekend afternoons, you can take your first step toward becoming a rock star, when you learn to play some guitar chords during the “instrument spotlight” workshops (free with museum admission). This winter’s special exhibition is worth seeing, too: Women Who Rock is on view through April 20, 2014.
Tip: If you’re working up an appetite after these artistic endeavors, head for the Barrio Café on Phoenix’s Calle 16. Not only does Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza cook up some of the best Mexican food in town, but you can check also out the vibrantly coloured murals in the lane out back (such as the one at the bottom of this article).
This winter, the Desert Botanical Garden is hosting a special exhibition featuring the works of acclaimed glass artist Dale Chihuly. FromNovember 10, 2013 through May 18, 2014, Chihuly’s fanciful glass works will be installed along the Garden’s trails. Want to get up close and personal with these wildly creative sculptures? The Garden has organized a number of special programs in conjunction with the Chihuly exhibition, including several hands-on photography workshops.
Are you more interested in the art of food? Learn about making olive oil with an “Olive Oil 101 class” at the Queen Creek Olive Mill. Canadian-born owner Perry Rea and his family produce Arizona’s only extra virgin olive oil, with flavors ranging from rosemary to Mexican lime to chocolate. These 30-minute classes include olive oil tastings, but if you’re still hungry, the mill café serves fluffy — and delicious — olive oil waffles.
To see what’s new in the Phoenix art scene, wander downtown for Phoenix First Fridays. On the first Friday of every month from 6 to 10 pm, dozens of galleries, studios, and art shops open their doors for an evening of art exploration. You can chat with the artists, do some shopping, and soak in the lively party vibe.
Tip: During First Fridays, check out the Phoenix Art Museum, too. Among the more than 17,000 works, you’ll find everything from Western American art to European classics to contemporary creations like Blob, a weird green video installation by Tony Oursler. Museum admission during First Fridays is free.