Tag Archives: Arizona State University

ASU Art Museum Film Festival

ASU Art Museum's Annual Film Festival: the turnout

ASU Art Museum's Annual Film Festival: the turnout

Last night was the 13th annual ASU Art Museum Film festival. The turnout was great —  50+ (edit: 1000+ so much for my ability to estimate crowds) people with lawn chairs and blankets spread out over the museum’s architecture in the warm night.

Oh  yeah, and the films were great too. Entries from all over the country were presented back to back, and I liked every one. Film festivals always present a great opportunity to escape from the formulaic, perpetual echoing of film-culture. They really challenge people to both feel and think through the visual/audio presentation. You may not always understand pieces, but understanding isn’t what’s important — it’s the sensations they provokes.

I took the opportunity at intermission to shoot my first panorama, using my crappy little digital camera. I just free-handed it so the images didn’t line up perfecty, but some creative cropping fixed that. Above is the full image in a low-quality format for the web, and I’m trying to create a player that allows you to zoom and move around the image, but it’s not working yet — WordPress may not allow me to embed it without some serious fennangling . I like how it turned out though; maybe I’ll do more panoramas soon.

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Civic Space Park opens

enter the vortex

enter the vortex

"Her Secret is Patience" hovers over the Cronkite School.

"Her Secret is Patience" hovers over the Cronkite School.

About half a month behind schedule, the Civic Space Park opened today, bringing a large, urban-style park to Phoenix.

The park looked excellent — lush grass, chessboard-topped tables, polished and cleaned architecture. And, of course in the middle of it all, was Janet Echelman’s “Her Secret is Patience,” the giant “mothership-looking sculpture” (as my friend described it) that hangs over the space.

Water is good at 100+ degrees.

Water is good at 100+ degrees.

City council members, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, representatives from ASU and the community spoke at the opening. Gordon emphasized that the park’s completion made Phoenix final look like the fifth largest city in the nation — which appearances or not, it is.

Crowds gathered for the opening.

Crowds gathered for the opening.

Personally, I can’t wait to chill on the grass between classes at the Cronkite School. The park looks and feels (think grass on your toes) great. I’m just a bit miffed it didn’t open earlier; the good weather won’t last long.

rallies: they’re not just for your parents anymore

Community is a lot like an abstract painting—all the parts work together, even if you’re not sure how or why.

While the Phoenix art scene and the university system exist as two independent brush strokes, the two both come from the same painting and the link between artists and academia can’t be ignored.

Many Phoenix artists contribute to or in some way associate with Arizona State University. I know first hand the impact ASU faculty have on the burgeoning arts scene. For instance, the Kitchenette Gallery in Phoenix—well known for the controversy following ASU Professor Betsy Schneider’s photography—features monthly photographers, who for the most part, come from the pool of ASU graduates and students.

The art community also connects predominately with ASU. College-aged students make up the majority of the art community as well as the major audience that attends the more offbeat scenes. The experimental years of college can provide the most introspective, edgy and controversial movements.

students protest with signs and slogans

students protest with signs and slogans

With that, I hope I’ve established how crucial ASU’s community has become to Phoenix’s cultural growth. A threat to ASU mushrooms into a threat for the community.

Yesterday, about 1,800 protesters from all three Arizona universities assembled outside the state capitol to oppose sharp budget cuts that university officials say could cripple education. The protest atmosphere — slogan chanting, picket signs, uniform color and moving oration — resembled the idiosyncrasies of the 70s, a foreign experience for members of my generation.

students march on the state capitol

students march on the state capitol

ASU President Michael Crow instituted furloughs last night for all faculty, marking the first decent of the rollercoaster.

“Through this furlough the university will save approximately $24 million to help toward meeting its FY09 state budget reduction which could total more than $60 million,” Crow said.

This comes as a surprise considering the catastrophic numbers originally released in other e-mails from the president. The budget proposal working in the Arizona legislature calls for a 20% cut this year and another 20% next year, totaling 40%. Needless to say, a budget cut of this magnitude would greatly harm the school and art/culture programs are historically the first to go.

However, this issue goes beyond the university. All of Phoenix faces money problems in this bum economy. I fear Phoenix’s unique people and places will be the first to suffer.

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