Tempe is one of nine communities represented in the inaugural Arizona Creative Communities Institute, a learning program wherein diverse teams from Arizona cities, towns, and neighborhoods reimagine community assets and devise meaningful projects that place creative engagement, ethical and equitable practices, and local wisdom at the center.

Team Members & Collaborators

The list below includes persons affiliated with the team at any point in the 2+ year engagement:

Maja Aurora, Director of Arts Engagement, City of Tempe

Maggie Fountain, Specialist, Tempe Union High School District

Samuel Peña, Founder, AZ Beat Lab; Community Engagement Coordinator, ASU School of Music

Gayle Shanks, Co-Owner, Changing Hands Bookstore

Aaron Thacker, Director of Communications, Arizona National Guard; Vice Chair, Tempe Arts and Culture Commission

About Tempe

Population: 192,364

“Tempe is filled with arts, activities, education and opportunity. The university provides the intelligence hub but it is the diversity of its residents, the local businesses, the enlightened politicians, the artists and the individuals who choose to live near this world class university that are the cultural decision makers and heart of this community.”

Gayle Shanks, AZ CCI Team Tempe


Celebrating the creative talents of Tempe residents, “Tempe Playlist: Saturn Sessions” is a locally-inspired audio project, highlighting the diverse sounds of Tempe’s musicians, poets, spoken word artists, emcees, singers, and storytellers, and connecting them to broader audiences. Selected contributors were commissioned for live performances, and recordings were compiled into digital playlists, available online and marketed in partnership with Tempe’s Orbit/Saturn city buses.


AZ CCI: Tempe

Additional Information and Project Updates