Read to Me, Arizona! launch and Story Town
10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 14
Joel D. Valdez Main Library
101 N. Stone Ave.
Keep an eye out for Honorary Mayor Curious George. He'll be patrolling the streets of Rhythm Road and Art Alley at the sixth annual Story Town.
Other characters will come to life to visit Story Town, too, like Corduroy and Clifford. Story Town brings books to life, with free books for children, art, dancing and games, as well as information for parents.
Along with Curious George, the Man in the Yellow Hat will be emceeing in English and Spanish. Some stories will be interpreted through sign language, too.
This year's Story Town is also introducing the Read to Me, Arizona! campaign. Read to Me, Arizona! provides information around Tucson about the importance of reading to children, especially before the age of 5. The campaign also aims to help children with minimal resources to be ready to start school.
"Our message is that most of a child's brain grows before age 5," says founder Mary Jan Bancroft. "We say, 'Read to me early; read to me often.'"
The program includes different components to reach the community and promote children's literacy. The purpose is to give parents and adults information on how to effectively read aloud to kids, to provide free books at specific locations around town (aka Blue Book Houses), and to host family forums in an effort to get everyone involved in reading.
"We're really trying to get books in the home and impress upon adults the importance of reading," says Bancroft.
The Web site has information on times and locations for the reading events and Blue Book Houses.
Story Town takes place at Jácome Plaza, in front of the Joel D. Valdez Main Library. The event is free. —A.P.
Sculpture Garden Grand Opening
2 to 4 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 15
Tucson Jewish Community Center
3800 E. River Road
It's hard for Tucson drivers to miss the 39-foot-tall sculpture perched at the intersection where Dodge Boulevard ends, and Alvernon Way curves around into River Road.
This Tucson mainstay, 39-foot-tall "Itselfness" by Kosso Eloul, is part of the Tucson Jewish Community Center's permanent collection of artwork.
A rotating exhibit to supplement the existing collection has been in the works for the last two years and—what do ya know!—the towering maze of monuments is now ready, just in time for the TJCC's 60th anniversary celebration. The grand opening of the 10-month garden exhibit will feature roughly 30 pieces from all over the world.
"This is kind of like a gift to Tucson," says Helen Bernard, director of communications for the TJCC.
Bernard says that the community center is really just providing a house for the exhibit on its south lawn; it was generous private donations that brought the art in from exotic locales.
The new sculptures will be offered for sale. The pieces—made of bronze, steel, marble, copper and every other medium under the sun—were selected by Tucson Museum of Art executive director Robert Knight. According to Bernard, there was no specific theme for the choices that went into this Zen garden.
"There is no sort of genre, but (Knight) chose the pieces that he liked," she says. "He wanted to show people that anyone can do art."
The eclectic designs come together in a garden intended for relaxation and contemplation. Tucson landscape artist Ellen Barth Alster designed the garden, working the existing turf and trees into the layout.
The event is free, with refreshments and a cash bar. Visit the TJCC Web site for a list of all the featured artwork. —E.N.
Screening of Between the Folds
4 p.m., Friday, Nov. 13
Golf Links Branch
Pima County Public Library
9640 E. Golf Links Road
The Japanese art of origami is more than just folding paper to make creative little shapes. It is a skill that people from all walks of life have taken up in order to design intricate and beautiful pieces of artwork.
The documentary Between the Folds follows 10 people from around the world who have learned impressive origami skills, leaving behind their everyday lives in order to express themselves and share their worldview through the complexities of the art. The Pima County Public Library will host various showings of the documentary this month as part of the library's free monthly screening series.
"In the film, you will see people almost obsessed with the form," says librarian Beth Petrucci.
Petrucci, who helped organize the event, says one of her favorite scenes in the film depicts a finished paper tortoise from a man who catalogs his work like musical opuses. "This was done with one piece of paper, no cutting, just folding. He gets all the details," she says. "You think, 'How did he pull this off?'"
After the film screening at the Golf Links Branch, M Craig, founder of the Tucson Origami Club, will host a discussion. She will also demonstrate and teach folding techniques with special paper provided. Door prizes will be given to the first 10 people at the screening.
Between the Folds will also show at 9 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 12, at the Quincie Douglas Branch, 1585 E. 36th St., and at 2 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 22, at the Valencia Branch, 202 W. Valencia Road. The events are free. —A.P.
Fresh Paint art auction and party
6 to 9:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 14
University of Arizona Museum of Art
1031 N. Olive Road
The University of Arizona Museum of Art has added a fun twist to the traditional art auction.
The UAMA auction event won't have just any old artwork up for grabs; this auction will only showcase fresh artwork, painted within the week leading up to the event. Hence the name: Fresh Paint.
Fresh Paint will combine the work of 124 UA, Pima Community College and Tucson Art Academy students, and established local artists. All of the money raised will go to UAMA programs and exhibitions.
"The idea is to be, well, fresh and spontaneous," says UAMA spokeswoman Christine Aguilar.
Aguilar explains that all of the artwork is two-dimensional and ranges from acrylic to watercolor. There will also be some out-of-the-ordinary paintings included—art like encaustic painting, which uses hot wax. Also, fiber art—with fibers that adhere to the canvas to retain the two-dimensional effect—will be up for auction.
The silent auction lasts from 6 to 8 p.m. At 7:30 p.m., the top five bids will enter the live auction, says Aguilar.
Attendees can not only get a first look at all of this fresh art; live music and food will be around to enjoy. Steel-drum band Jovert, from Tucson High Magnet School, will perform, and Mexican appetizers will be offered from several local Mexican restaurants and catering services.
Tickets are $50 per person (and $20 of that is tax-deductible). Advance purchases are preferred, but it's OK to get them at the door, too. Call Aguilar at 621-5676 for tickets or info. —A.P.