For 25 years UA Presents has presented performing arts programming for Southern Arizona.
But in the past year, there have been profound shifts happening – not only with COVID-19 — but behind the scenes, starting with the hiring of Chad Herzog, an international arts curator, who was named Executive Director in May 2019.
“I spent months getting to know the people, places, and traditions that shape the culture of our community. I, of course, fell in love,” Chad said. “This community is unlike any other.”
But as much as the community was winning Chad over, he saw room for improvement.
“That is the beauty of great arts experiences, after all, to push us to new ideas and perspectives by lighting a spark within us.”— Chad Herzog, Executive Director, Arizona Arts Live
“Two items quickly came to my attention,” Chad said, “First, our regular patrons were only representative of a fraction of our diverse community. And second, we weren’t bringing in programming that was nearly as inspiring, evocative, or challenging as it could be.
“That is the beauty of great arts experiences, after all, to push us to new ideas and perspectives by lighting a spark within us.”
The Arizona Arts Live staff curated unexpected and compelling programming from all over the world to present to the Southern Arizona community with a dramatically different mentality, reaching different audiences, including exploring new spaces outside of Centennial Hall.
“To reflect this dramatic shift and reimagining, we felt we needed to hit the reset button and start fresh with a new name and a new attitude,” Chad said.
The new name — Arizona Arts Live — represents the organization’s place within the broader Arizona Arts division at the University of Arizona, working to make Tucson an arts destination.
Ready for a Renaissance
“The original Renaissance era was a period of enlightenment that followed the Black Plague in the 14th century and we’ve seen similar patterns throughout history, including The Roaring Twenties and the Harlem Renaissance following the Spanish Flu pandemic,” Chad said.
“What is Tucson’s renaissance going to look like? Now is the time to answer that question as a community. My hope is Arizona Arts Live will play a big part in it.”
As part of the campaign, Arizona Arts Live is commissioning a number of local artists to create Renaissance-inspired murals rooted in this community and this moment in time. The mural projects and broader “Ready for a Renaissance” message will be amplified through social media and a number of strategic partnerships.
How will Arizona Arts Live respond during this time of COVID-19 and social distancing? By getting creative with a fall season of live programs that can be enjoyed safely:
Oct. 29 – Nov. 29, 2020
University of Arizona campus
Australian artist Craig Walsh challenges the traditional concept of monuments to celebrate living, contributing, members of our Southern Arizona community. Monuments will be on display each night from Oct. 29 – Nov. 29 in the trees of the University of Arizona, projecting the faces of some of our local heroes in an outdoor environment that allows for physical.
600 Highway Men’s A Thousand Ways, Act 1
Nov. 10-24, 2020
Begins over the telephone
A Thousand Ways is a three-part performance in which your words, actions, gestures, silence, thoughts, and willingness are the tools. With two people, a telephone, a table, and a stack of cards, a new type of performance emerges. Guided by a score of instructions, questions, prompts, and physical directives, audience members, who have never met, build a series of performances for one another.
Scott Silven’s The Journey
Interactive, immersive online experience
Renowned illusionist, mentalist, and performance artist Scott Silven invites you on a journey to his home in Scotland. Hear a long-forgotten story, reveal the mysteries of your own mind, and unlock the secrets of Silven’s homeland through extraordinary illusions and feats of imagination. This remarkable interactive experience explores the power of place to transform us.
Arizona Arts Live is pleased to be a co-commissioner of The Journey.
Manual Cinema’s A Christmas Carol
Dec. 11-13, 2020
An avowed holiday skeptic, Aunt Trudy has been recruited to channel her late husband Joe’s famous Christmas cheer. From the isolation of her studio apartment, she reconstructs his annual “Christmas Carol” puppet show over a Zoom call while the family celebrates Christmas Eve under lockdown. Hundreds of paper puppets, miniatures, silhouettes, and a live original score come together to tell an imaginative re-invention of this cherished holiday classic.
Visit ArizonaArtsLive.com for ticketing and more information.