While Girl Scouts are best known for their heartbreakingly good cookies, the Sahuaro Girl Scouts troop is ready to turn that image on its head.
Since January, they have been hosting workshops for teen girls in the community about obstacles facing young women. The newest addition to this series is next week's "Life ... A Crash Course!" conference for girls 16 to 18 years old in Tucson.
This "professional-style conference" will feature six community speakers on hand to talk about everything from résumés and job interviews to renting that first apartment, said Timalee Hustin, program and retention specialist for the Sahuaro Girl Scouts.
"We feel like a lot of young girls just aren't prepared when they turn 18," Hustin said. "This will be a taste of a grown-up experience."
The speakers include UA students, Girl Scouts staffers and professional women from the community. Attendees will choose two specific workshops to attend, with a "luncheon" in the middle.
"We want to expose the girls to Girl Scouts in a new way," Hustin said. "It's a new way to look at us."
The conference is free and open to any girl age 16-18, regardless of Girl Scouts affiliation. Attendees need to register by Monday, Aug. 4, by calling 319-3159. Dress is business casual. --C.E.
A nonprofit art center has taken downtown revitalization into its own hands, as ArtFare the Muse kicks off the re-creation of Sixth Avenue with a block party this Saturday.
Fletcher McCusker, chairperson of the ArtFare board of directors, explained that the organization is trying to makeover its block of Sixth Avenue, from Pennington Street to Congress Street.
"We've tried in vain to get the city and other governmental entities to fund those (arts) programs," said McCusker.
ArtFare relies on donations, so they've recruited new and existing businesses to relocate and contribute to the project. So far, they've partnered with El Ojito Springs and Burger City, a restaurant created in collaboration with the Colligan family, former owners of the Hidden Valley Inn. The new burger joint opens this Saturday, and its profits will go toward the revitalization project.
They've also teamed up with Tucson Academy of Leadership and Arts, a school for kids in kindergarten through the eighth grade, which opens in August in the first floor of the ArtFare building.
From 4 to 7 p.m., visitors can attend an open house at the school, which will include hands-on art activities and music from the Arizona Jazz Academy. For the children, there will be clowns, carnival games and a jumping castle.
At 7 p.m., the party moves outside, with live music from the Blue Note Jazz Quintet, the Afrodelic Stegosaurchestra, the Columbia Jazz Sextet, the Arizona Roadrunners, the Arizona Jazz Academy Ellington Big Band, Haley Jane and Rare Earth.
McCusker said some revitalization efforts have suffered from a lack of commitment and excitement, but he hopes ArtFare's efforts will inspire citizens to take an active role in making downtown Tucson an attraction.
Admission is free. --K.S.
On most Thursdays, University Boulevard is filled with college students looking for a good time. On Aug. 7, however, Main Gate Square will become a Mecca of art, music, fashion and food for the First Thursday Art Walk, hosted by Vila Thai Cuisine.
This month's art walk will feature an exhibit by Mexican-born artist Pupe, titled Faces, featuring 14 large canvases of work in oil and acrylic, said Hana Ripp of Eagle Productions International.
"But just like the theater, we have a supporting cast as well," Ripp said.
The supporting cast will be made up of other local artists, including Victor Navarro, Edgar Huerta, Layla "Flora" Edwards and Roberto Gallegos.
Besides walking around the Vila Thai courtyard looking at art, guests will be treated to live music and models showcasing the designs of Arturo Valenzuela.
"Creativity flourishes here," Ripp said.
While Vila Thai is "hosting" the event, food and drinks will be provided for a price. Parents beware: High chairs will not be available, Ripp said.
The art walk will also offer a chance for the community to kick off a month-long celebration leading up to Tucson's 233rd birthday on Aug. 20, Ripp said.
Art supplies will be on hand, free of charge, for guests to create art about Tucson, from poetry and birthday cards to luminaries, which will line University Boulevard on Aug. 20 for a birthday processional.
"This is a chance for the community to get excited about what we have to offer," Ripp said. "And we have a lot to offer." --C.E.
If you haven't gotten your fix of dance performances on TV lately, head over to Loews Ventana Canyon Resort this Saturday, as Studio West School of Dance holds its fourth annual Summer Dance Expo.
About 95 students and instructors from Studio West and other local dance schools, including a few from Phoenix, will show off their moves. They will perform mostly ballroom-style dances, including the foxtrot, waltz, tango, cha-cha, samba and salsa, with a little bit of country thrown into the mix, said Linda Lowell, manager of Studio West and organizer of the Summer Dance Expo.
Dancers range in age from young children to adults in their 90s; the skill level varies as well, said Lowell.
"I think a lot of people really enjoy watching it, especially (with) all the dance shows that are coming out on television--you always hear a lot of people talking about it, so I think there's a real interest in it," said Lowell.
The expo isn't a contest, said Lowell. "It's just an opportunity for the students to perform in a competition atmosphere," she said. Each couple gets about a minute and a half to perform, and there are usually four to five couples on the floor at a time.
Dancers won't get prizes for their work, but they will get some valuable advice. Ron Montez, a choreographer from the Fox television show So You Think You Can Dance, will judge the dancers and offer a critique for each performing couple.
"I think it lets people see that dancing is really athletic," said Lowell, who added that many people don't realize the level of strength necessary for dancing.
Admission is $5. --K.S.