Featured photo: “Cyclical Patterns 02,” mixed media animation by Chris Johnson. Taken at West Valley Arts HQ.
Yesterday I made a worthwhile trek to Surprise, Arizona, to see the Southwestern Invitational, featuring a potpourri of Arizona artists. The Invitational had been organized in Yuma for many years and traveled around the state under the auspices of the Arizona Commission on the Arts before a fire at its home gallery forced it to take a long hiatus. It’s back on track this year, curated by the Yuma Fine Arts Association and offering work by 100 artists, with a good portion of the work traveling to a handful of galleries around the state in the next two years. The Invitational’s second stop is the West Valley Arts HQ, a pleasant gallery in Surprise’s new Civic Center complex. If you head out there, yes, that is the gallery, adjacent to the Chamber of Commerce — don’t let the surrounding vacant lots and vast agricultural fields fool you. Surprise is still in its growing stages.
Knowing that the far northwest Valley is not exactly on everyone’s art-walking circuit, I’ve put together a slideshow (below), but I do urge you to see the exhibit if you can, before it closes. (Hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday until July 23, with a reception scheduled for 5 p.m. July 24.) In coming months, the Southwestern Invitational will be at:
Prescott College Art Gallery at Sam Hill Warehouse
September 5 — October 17, 2015
Tubac Center of the Arts
October 30 — December 13, 2015
Coconino Center for the Arts
January 12 — February 17, 2016
Phoenix Airport Museum
February 27 — August 15, 2016
I enjoyed the opportunity to admire works by artists who are well-established but whom I don’t normally see in Phoenix shows. On the other hand, a few of the works created by — I assume — part-time artists seem overshadowed by the stronger works. I did take comfort in seeing worthy entrants by several familiar names, including Christine Cassano, Jeff Falk, Sarah Kriehn, Annie Lopez and Larry Willis. Here are a few other favorites: