Unlocking Arizona’s Creative Potential

This year, as the Arizona Commission on the Arts celebrates its 50th anniversary, we are proud to launch Next50, a visionary planning initiative designed to unleash the power of the arts in realizing Arizona’s brightest future.

Through innovative programs, strategic investment, exploration and convenings, Next50 will empower communities to activate creative assets and co-create ideas to fuel Arizona’s next 50 years.

Next50 activities put you at the center, focusing on…

  • LISTENING to your stories, your triumphs and aspirations;
  • LEARNING about your unique talents, and your community’s challenges and opportunities; and
  • LEVERAGING – lending our creative and collaborative skills to help Arizonans, and Arizona communities, achieve their most significant goals.

Arizona’s Next50 begins today. Let’s create it together.

This area of the website will become home to invitations and information related to Next50 community programming, research, and grantmaking, to result in innovative creative activities and products, intra- and cross-sector partnerships, publications, policy papers, interactive online tools, and an agency plan.

Visit this page for news and updates.



Next50 begins with you – your voice, your values, and your imagination. You live and learn and work here. You make things happen. You build, explore, and innovate. In so many ways, you are a creative Arizonan.

So we want to know: what, or where, is your creative spark?

Your stories, talent, and dreams drive the Next50 initiative. We want to learn from and with you. Your Creative Spark submissions help us to better understand your perspectives and aspirations, and consider changes to our service in response.

Below are just a few submissions we’ve already received. We hope you’ll share yours!


“Hayden Flour Mill” by Ralph Michael Brekan

“Hand-crafted from color theatrical gels and coated in polymer resin, this one-of-a-kind cut and paste collage-painting is the latest fare from American Pop Artist Ralph Michael Brekan.”

“Thunder On The Mountain” by Jay Beckman

“Aviation has played and continues to play a large role in Arizona’s economy and documenting flight in the southwest is my creative spark.”

“Raven Steals the Sun” by Tom Williams

“I play with fire so hot it can melt metal, electricity with enough voltage to start Frankenstein’s heart, light so bright it can burn your eyes. Sparks fly, motors whine. Bam! Bam! Bam! The hammer falls. Sweat pours off my forehead, hot embers singe my skin, my back aches, and I love it! I may not be a super hero; I am better. I am an ARTIST!”

Contemporary Wearable Art by Rameen Ahmed

Contemporary wearable art by Studio Jeweler & Fine Arts Instructor Rameen Ahmed. The composition embodies a mobile sculpture – contoured to the human body, that is really an extension of play between the body and the piece.

A Multimedia Work-in-Progress by Oliverio Balcells

“I’m working on a multimedia project with original music and images, is the story of a person that came from a different dimension and is trying to remember his symbols that were on his skin before he came to this life. The story would take place in the Valley of the Sun.”

“To Be” by Libby Rooney

Libby Rooney of Globe performs her poem “To Be” in this video clip from the 2015 Women of the World Poetry Slam.

View all submissions »