- Your Voice
Most of us remember Michael Keaton’s successful string of comedies in the early 1980s that started off with “Night Shift” and “Mr. Mom”. Afterwards, he starred in Tim Burton’s highly anticipated “Batman” in 1989. By 1992, he once again played the caped crusader in “Batman Returns”, earning Keaton widespread acclaim. Then something happened; Keaton’s movies were more “misses” than “hits” until he seemed to disappear from cinema screens overnight. Keaton’s career had fallen into the category of insignificance. He missed out on meatier roles and blockbuster box office winners. Years later, even as he found himself providing voices to successful animated films (“Cars”, “Toy Story 3”), Keaton was never handed that potential Academy Award acting part or movie. Until now.
The Town is seeking nominations of outstanding residents and organizations to be considered for the Branding Iron and Ora Mae Harn Crystal Legacy awards.
The Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce hosts its annual awards banquet on Aug. 8, honoring local businesses and residents for continued contributions to making the community better.
Tickets are on sale for the Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce’s 2014 Annual Meeting and Awards Breakfast, to be held Friday, Aug. 8, at the Hilton El Conquistador Golf and Tennis Resort, 10000 N. Oracle in Oro Valley.
1. VA watchdog report sparks outrage
Strike up the band! Multi-platinum-selling, two-time Emmy and five-time Grammy Award-nominated, pianist and vocalist Michael Feinstein returns to Tucson on Sunday March 9 at 7 p.m. at Centennial Hall
The hoopla of NBA All-Star weekend is unquestionably boisterous and unruly. There is simply something mystical about the assemblage of the most talented basketball players on the planet, under one roof, trying their best to put on a show for the fans. But amidst the East versus West matchups, highlight reels, and celebrity appearances, the widespread notion is and always has been that the true marquee event is the Slam Dunk Contest. After all, what is more glamorized and glorified in basketball than the slam dunk?
These guests, including five from Arizona, who have been invited to sit with the First Lady represent the stories of millions of Americans across the country, who are working hard to better their communities, improve their own economic outcomes and help restore opportunity for all.
Three residents and an organization were honored by the Town on Thursday night for their efforts to improve the community.
Before Golder Ranch Fire Chief Randy Karrer entered the lifesaving business, it was his life being saved.
During the Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce annual awards breakfast on Aug. 15, Police Chief Danny Sharp was honored with the Legacy Award.
Oro Valley Police Chief Danny Sharp received the Chamber's Legacy Award.
In 1998 NBA Finals, the most monumental athlete in sports history, Michael Jordan, executed a perfect crossover jump shot that sealed his sixth NBA title, and became the perfect send-off for his last ride into the sunset. All that remained were memories, record books rewritten, and an uncertain future over who would carry the torch as the NBA’s new model champion. Jordan’s retirement birthed the rise of a new champion, albeit a different one: The San Antonio Spurs.
Gov. Jan Brewer today appointed attorneys Sean Earl Brearcliffe, Michael Joseph Butler and Brenden James Griffin to the Pima County Superior Court.
The first art exhibition at the University of Arizona opened nearly 90 years ago, a time when fine art had a minimal public presence in the southwestern United States.
It took intentional, forward-thinking plans, along with strong and sustained support from donors and friends of the UA, to establish a vibrant professional school and museum with an internationally regarded collection.
Behind the decades-old push is the UA School of Artand the UA Museum of Art & Archive of Visual Arts, or UAMA, whose students, faculty and staff generate national and international attention for their research, productions and outreach.
Today's effort is to harness the expertise and resources of the UAMA and the School of Art, in partnership with other UA arts divisions and external partners, to expand the UA's legacy in the arts, said Dennis Jones, who directs the School of Art and the UAMA.
"The UAMA has always been that trigger, that spark for making things happen in the arts here," Jones said. "The museum was an outgrowth of the School of Art, and I envision the UAMA and the School of Art working together in ways we have never seen before."
Complementing and elevating the UA's arts enterprise are the Center for Creative Photography, or CCP, and the Arizona State Museum, seminal units not only for the UA, but for arts communities elsewhere.
Under the tutelage of Jones, the long-range vision for the School of Art and the UAMA is more cohesion and visibility toward the goal of bolstering arts research at the UA while expanding community-based outreach and efforts to elevate the reputation of the region's visual arts core.
In fact, C. Leonard Pfeiffer, the UAMA's first major donor, once said: "I wish that all men with the love of art in their souls would take these words to heart: Help build collections in every corner of our land."
Uniting a Professional School, Museum
Since Katherine Kitt, the UA faculty member who founded what would become the UA School of Art, organized the first art exhibition at the UA in 1924, the UAMA and the school have grown to become two crucial facilities for research, training, preservation and engagement in the arts in the southwestern U.S.
The ever-growing synergy between the UA arts units has netted a number of important milestones and notoriety for the UA, with a public impact that has been extensive, Jones said.
The UAMA played a key role in the founding of the CCP after hosting an exhibition of Ansel Adam's work in 1974. Today, the CCP is an internationally regarded institution, revered for being the largest organization devoted to collecting and preserving modern North American photography.
The UAMA also gained notoriety for its permanent collection, with all pieces having been gifted to the UA or purchased with donor funds, said Carol Petrozzello, the UAMA's marketing specialist.
"The personal collections of our donors have made a great difference," Petrozzello said.
"There have been so many people who have had an affinity and love for Tucson and the UA," she said, adding that such individuals have long donated major works and helped the UAMA acquire additional pieces over the decades.
Among the prized artwork in UAMA's holdings are works by Jackson Pollock, Georgia O’Keeffe, Mark Rothko, Edward Hopper, Jacques Lipchitz, Robert McCall and dozens of panels in the Retablo Room, works that comprise the 15th century altarpiece, a gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.
With 60 paintings and four sculptures, the Samuel H. Kress Collection is one of the University's prized collections. The UA maintains the 15th century panels from Spain, making the UAMA one among the regional and academic art museums in the U.S. responsible for preserving the Spanish Renaissance paintings while educating the public about the history of the collection.
Jones prides that both units retain strong outreach initiatives, both driven by the understanding and outward mission to regularly interact with off-campus partners, including schools, businesses, nonprofit organizations, community centers and senior centers, among others.
Of note, student illustrators and designers persistently work with business and industry, developing marketing materials, logos, community art projects and other materials.
Studio A, a nonprofit design studio run by UA students, is a perfect example of such work. Now self-sufficient, the studio provides fee-based design and illustration work to offices, organizations and companies. The more recently launched Digital Print Studio is on track to also become self-sufficient, Jones said.
Meanwhile, members of the art faculty have contributed to new publications and exhibited and taught around the world; some also have earned awards and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, National Art Education Association and Fulbright Scholar Program.
"Art really stands out at the University and, really, the cause behind it is much bigger," Jones said. "It has always about trying to raise the bar."
Great Integration, Broader Impact
Among the new plans is the future integration into UAMA of Wildcat Art, a K-12 arts education program that involves youth in collaborative learning toward creating artwork, Jones said.
Jones said creating more cohesion between UAMA and Wildcat Art, which is run out of the UA Division of Art and Visual Culture Education, will result in an expansion of regional arts education.
Currently, the museum has an open survey aimed at educators to improve future outreach efforts.
Also, the museum's staff recently collaborated with School of Art faculty members and students on a Renaissance, for which students investigated works in the UAMA collection. Their writings will become part of the museum's collection, contributing to the expanding resources available to members of the public.
That collaboration speaks directly to the work of Olivia Miller, the UAMA's curator of education, who is working toward becoming a faculty liaison.
Serving as the intermediary between the UAMA and the School of Art, as well as other academic units on campus, Miller's objective is driven by a nationwide movement. Increasingly, campus-run museums have appointed faculty liaisons to better integrate repositories of art with the very individuals creating new knowledge and new works of art.
Emphasizing the need for an expansion of art and a better integration of units and disciplines, Miller said the arts stand as an important conduit for public discourse, offering space in which challenging conversations can be safely couched.
"Naturally, museum labels and exhibition themes are designed to create a pathway for thought, but even within this focus, the public can still think critically," said Miller, the UAMA's curator of education.
"It's important for us to consider that the public is diverse and constantly evolving and as such, we have to think outside the box and realize there are a myriad of ways to interpret art," she also said. "What's especially important, particularly for university art museums, is to engage faculty and students from all departments in addition to the public at large."
After the death of their UA classmate, Jessica Stebbins, a group of students brought to life her dream of creating a yoga program designed for individuals with low mobility. A little more than one year after Stebbins's death, UA students have founded the Yoga for Any Body club and a class under the same name.
Jessica Stebbins's eventual legacy would begin with a simple idea to establish a yoga class at the University of Arizona that would benefit individuals with disabilities and low mobility.
Stebbins, who used a wheelchair, was quite fond of yoga, but she found it was not always approachable or accommodating for those with limited mobility. She began speaking about the issue with her peers in the UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, which eventually led to the creation of a club and yoga class that now is being offered at the University.
"She saw something in yoga that could be beneficial or helpful for people who used wheelchairs," said Sheila Parker, a lecturer in the Health Promotion Sciences Division at the College of Public Health who taught one of the last classes Stebbins would take.
"She wanted to increase the awareness of what yoga is and what health benefits exist," Parker said. "That goes beyond what one does in the classroom."
Stebbins died suddenly in December 2011. But driven by her memory and motivated by her infectious enthusiasm, a group of UA students continued working toward introducing an adaptive yoga class on campus.
And after her peers founded a club and spent more than one year learning about the practice, gaining professional training and conducting an assessment for need, they also completed protocols necessary to launch a course.
"I didn't meet her, but I felt so motivated by her," said Karen Rios, a public health senior and the club's president.
For their work, the club's members earned the UA's Inclusive Excellence Award, which goes to individuals and organizations who make important contributions to creating and enhancing a diverse and inclusive community at the University.
With a flush face and eyes filling with tears, Rios said she could feel the passion Stebbins carried even after she was gone and despite having never met her.
It was by interacting with her collaborators – including UA alumni Drew Donnellan; students Elizabeth Brewer, and Blanca Delgado; Honors College student Megan Morales as well as Eve Hampton, an academic adviser – that Rios began to rethink how she conceived of disability and ability and how she could continue to aid in launching the course.
"It's not about targeting a specific group," Rios said, speaking about the club and class. "It's about the unity of everyone; of everyone being able to participate in the practice of yoga."
Stebbins had been friends with Brewer for years through their studies in the College of Public Health. It was after Brewer began giving presentations on the benefits of yoga that Stebbins learned she practiced and taught yoga.
Eventually, Stebbins asked Brewer to teach her. Later, Brewer approached Parker about completing an independent study with Stebbins on the benefits of yoga for individuals with physical disabilities, said Brewer, the club's vice president.
Stebbins died shortly thereafter, and on the night of her death, Brewer reached out.
"I invited group members working on a project with the two of us who were having a difficult time dealing with Jessica’s passing to come to my yoga class that evening," said Brewer, a public health senior who has been teaching yoga for four years.
"After class, they came up to me and said, 'What was Jessica’s dream?' This was a moment I will never forget," she said. "After Jessica passed, I knew I couldn't do the independent research project on my own. I asked them if they would help me follow through with Jessica's dream, and they said 'Yes.'"
At that moment, Brewer, Rios and others pledged to establish what would become Yoga For Any Bodyand would later connect with other students who either knew Stebbins personally or were devoted to her idea.
"Before I knew it, there was a large group of them interested," Parker said, adding that eight students committed to the independent study. "They are very much a self-propelled group of students. I have never had a group of students so motivated."
Parker guided Brewer and the other students through a general needs assessment and additional research about launching a club and eventual course at the UA.
After a major drive to raise funds, and having earned a grant from Mel and Enid Zuckerman, three of the students traveled to Minnesota during the spring of 2012 to study with nationally known yoga instructor Matthew Sanford, founder of Mind Body Solutions.
"Although Jessica is no longer in our lives, we have brought her dream to life," said Brewer, a certified PiYo instructor who completed the adaptive yoga level one teacher training for disabilities with Sanford.
"Bringing yoga for every single body, whether standing or in a wheelchair, to the University of Arizona is a contribution I am proud to be bringing to this very special school," Brewer said. "Yoga is not only a practice, it is a way of life and everyone should be able to have the joy of practicing. This is one of the sweetest joys of my life."
Creating a class for any body
Yoga for Any Body soon will launch at Campus Recreation. "There is a lot of emotional excitement around the launch," Rios said.
After receiving their training in Minnesota, the student leads returned to Tucson, teaching student volunteers how to serve as grounding assistants, individuals who will aid others with upper and lower body moments during the class and ensure their safety. Of about 45 club members, 12 are serving as trained grounding assistants.
"You can feel the impact of the yoga, and not just the physical impact, but the emotional and meditative impact," said Rios, one of the trained grounding assistants. "It is very meditative and relaxing."
The class, which will be offered Friday evenings through April 12, will cover the centuries-old practice of yoga, offering sessions in the seated position for both able-bodied individuals, those with disabilities and others with mobility challenges due to conditions like arthritis, for example.
"Spreading loving kindness is my personal mission in life. As an instructor, I have the opportunity to teach loving kindness everyday," said Brewer, who is also certified through the Aerobic and Fitness Association of America as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor.
"I plan to use yoga as an expansion beyond the classroom into all areas of our community as a vehicle for wellness, healing and personal transformation," she said.
Brewer said she hopes that, above all, those who participate will be able to experience "'metta,' which means loving kindness, toward themselves their mind and their body."
Alan Beaudrie, who worked with Stebbins after she switched her major to public health in the spring of 2011, said it is one of the strongest examples he has since of students organizing around a shared idea.
"They continue to amaze me. This is something unique, but I can see that this is something that could easily be replicated on a national level at universities across the U.S. I believe that," said Beaudrie, the assistant director of undergraduate advising.
"They're not doing this just because they want to start a club and put it on their resume. It's a different attitude and a very good one, in a positive way," Beaudrie said.
He recalled Stebbins and her desire to help others through the health profession.
"I think this may have been the start of something she, herself, could have gotten into. Not just with yoga, but with working with people with disabilities and helping them to live healthy lives," Beaudrie said.
In the end, Parker said she was even more impressed with the group because not only are they working to manifest an idea, but also because they took a course project and transformed it into a long-standing commitment.
"Some were new to yoga; others were involved for some time," Parker said. "They are just wonderful examples to other students of what you can do when you put your minds and hearts to it."