City Week

Clean Up the Neighborhood

Gang and Graffiti Workshop
1 to 4:15 p.m., Thursday, July 24
Register by Monday, July 21
Valencia Branch, Pima County Public Library
202 W. Valencia Road

Next Thursday, the Tucson Police Department Gang Outreach Unit and the Department of Neighborhood Resources will be hosting a Gang and Graffiti Workshop. The workshop will discuss strategies for removing graffiti from neighborhood areas, including ideas that have worked in the past.

"We have a tutorial that we go through with people," said Levonne Gaddy, a community services manager for the Department of Neighborhood Resources. "In exchange for their agreement to clean graffiti in a certain way, we will give them a limited amount of supplies that they can use. Basically, we're asking people to remove stickers (and) to remove marks from signs and poles and plastic containers. We give them a graffiti-removal solvent, and we give them some spray paint that matches the green garbage cans and the blue recycle cans."

Gaddy said that, although graffiti removal seems simple enough, they ask people to follow specific guidelines.

"We ask them not to paint a surface that has not been painted before," said Gaddy. "We also ask them to, if they're going to paint something, make sure that they match the background of the surface color of what they're painting. We ask them to match paint colors. If they can't do that, we ask them to please call ... so we can send our removal contractor out to color-match. The goal is for the surface to look like it never had graffiti on it."

There will also be a presentation from the Tucson Police Department Gang Outreach Unit at the meeting. They will discuss the motivations behind gang membership and graffiti.

The event is free, but registration is required by Monday, July 21. Call the number or visit the Web site listed above to register. --J.G.

Over the Net

2008 USA Volleyball High Performance Championships
8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Wednesday-Saturday, July 23-26; 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Sunday, July 27
Tucson Convention Center
260 S. Church Ave.
(719) 201-7323;;

A veritable army of teenagers will be descending upon Tucson--not for a pop concert or anything like that, but for a large youth volleyball tournament at the Tucson Convention Center from July 23-27.

Tom Pingel is the USA Volleyball managing director of High Performance Indoor National Programs, the group putting on the 2008 USA Volleyball High Performance Championships.

"I think it's an opportunity for some of the kids that are just kind of outside looking in from our national teams to get a chance to show what they can do, and hopefully put themselves in a position to be on the national teams next year," said Pingel.

The play will involve four different girls' and two different boys' groups, with 82 teams overall. Pingel said this is the only event on a national level that features both boys and girls groups competing at the same event. It also features some international play.

"I know for the teams from Chile, Peru and Puerto Rico, that they're hoping to prepare for future international competition," said Pingel.

Pool play for all groups will be featured July 23-25, to establish records for playoffs. July 26 will have playoffs for all brackets, with the international girls' and both boys' groups having their finals that afternoon and night. The finals for the other divisions will take place the morning of July 27.

Tickets are $8 for one day, or $32 for a full event pass. --J.G.

Ancient Flora and Fauna

"Dig: Prehistoric Gardens" on display through Sept. 30
Tucson Botanical Gardens
2150 N. Alvernon Way

Have you ever dreamt of touching a flesh-eating raptor, seeing a giant dragonfly or walking among prehistoric plants? Renderings of these creatures and more are on display at the Tucson Botanical Gardens through September.

Dig: Prehistoric Gardens is an exhibit created David Klanderman, a museum exhibit design contractor trained in geology and paleontology. He said he was inspired by a similar setup at Washington, D.C.'s United States Botanic Garden about 15 years ago.

Among about a dozen dinosaurs and insects on display is a human-sized raptor, deinonychus, which was built for use in the movie Jurassic Park and is on loan from the T-Rex Museum.

Giant insects on display include a 5-foot long millipede, a 4-foot long "paleo-scorpion" and a dragonfly with a 30-inch wingspan, said Klanderman, who made the sculptures.

The exhibit also includes native prehistoric plants, which will remain after the exhibit closes. Some of them were already in the gardens, but others were added for the exhibit, said Debbi Ng, a communications employee at the Tucson Botanical Gardens.

It's a new way of looking at the stuff that grows around Tucson," said Klanderman. "It'll hopefully open people's eyes to some of the stuff they're growing on their own and give them some idea of what it's all about."

Visitors take a self-guided tour through the exhibit, which is located mainly in the greenhouse, with some pieces outside. There's also a fossil quarry dig and a scavenger hunt for children.

Visitors can check out the exhibit during the garden's regular hours, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., daily. Entrance to the exhibit is free with admission to the gardens: $7 general, or $3 for kids age 4-12; younger children are admitted for free. --K.S.

Promoting Empathy

"The Last Sin" and "The Mending Tree" Exhibit
On display through Friday, Aug. 15
Kachina Lounge and Gallery
UA Student Union Memorial Center, Third Floor
1303 E. University Drive

Ernesto Trujillo wants the world to know that people care. He's showing this through his exhibit of "The Last Sin" and "The Mending Tree," both on display at the Kachina Lounge and Gallery through August.

The two works are here combined into one installation piece. Trujillo, a graduate student in the University of Arizona arts department, originally planned the works separately, but discovered during their creation that they made more sense together.

The work covers the same topics as Trujillo's The Mending Rivalry, a book awaiting publication that started as a collection of poetry but transformed into a narrative.

"I've been noticing that, of late, there's been a great deal of apathy," said Trujillo. "There are a lot of people struggling, so I try to speak on those voices."

A walk through the installation takes visitors along a journey of inner conflict and resolution, revealing the challenges of human experience, said Trujillo.

"It's basically like a visual expression of this person's toiled soul--their sort of inner struggle to look at themselves and really see the ugliness that lies beneath," said Trujillo.

Trujillo is fascinated by life experiences and talks to people as a way to gain understanding and lift their burdens.

"I think it's important that people realize that people care. People know that what you may be experiencing on one side is the same as what they may be experiencing," said Trujillo. "There's this choice we can make--we can choose to be complacent; we can choose to capitulate and give in; or we can choose to renew ourselves in the experiences we are having right now. That's the really beautiful thing about it."

The exhibit is open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday. Admission is free. --K.S.