The AZ Creative Communities Institute (AZ CCI) offers small teams, made up of diverse members of your community, a unique opportunity to explore the many ways creativity can be put to work for positive community impact. AZ CCI teams will become members of an active learning network, with opportunities to learn from and with local and national experts, as well as peers from other Arizona cities/towns and neighborhoods.

The Arizona Commission on the Arts and Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts (ASU HIDA), with guidance from Southwest Folklife Alliance, are seeking applications from teams representing Arizona cities/towns and neighborhoods to participate in the inaugural AZ Creative Communities Institute.

The AZ Creative Communities Institute (AZ CCI) offers small teams, made up of diverse members of your community, a unique opportunity to explore the many ways creativity can be put to work for positive community impact.

AZ CCI teams will become members of an active learning network, with opportunities to learn from and with local and national experts, as well as peers from other Arizona cities/towns and neighborhoods.

The AZ CCI will take place over 12 months, and will include:

  1. AZ CCI Learning Sessions: Four 2-day AZ CCI gatherings in the Phoenix area. Learning sessions are designed to provide each team with knowledge, skills, and tools to select and collaborate with an artist and implement creative community listening and engagement strategies.
  1. Embedded Artist Residency: A 5-month residency to take place in your community. The focus and format of each artist residency will be collaboratively-designed once selected artists join each team.
  1. Targeted Trainings: Up to 2 half-day site visits in AZ CCI team communities, as well as interactive web-based training or mentorship calls. Teams will have the opportunity to identify areas for customized training and learning to aid in goal implementation.

Diverse teams representing Arizona cities/towns or neighborhoods, including those within Arizona’s tribal nations, were invited to apply. Nine were selected to participate.

Teams are expected to coordinate, facilitate, and promote the artist residency, site visits in the community, and other related public events. For this reason, it is critical that at least some team members possess the capacity to “authorize” such activities and can devote focused attention to the team’s work over the 12-month engagement.

Maribel Alvarez
Associate Research Professor, School of Anthropology, and Associate Research Social Scientist at the Southwest Center, University of Arizona; Executive Director, Southwest Folklife Alliance; ASU Cultural Policy Fellow; Community Arts Expert

Liz Lerman
Institute Professor, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University; Founder, Dance Exchange; MacArthur “Genius” Grant Recipient

Maria Rosario Jackson
Institute Professor, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University; Senior Advisor, Arts and Culture Program at the Kresge Foundation; Expert in Urban Planning and Community Revitalization

Michael Rohd
Institute Professor, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University; Founding Artistic Director, Sojourn Theatre; Executive Director, Center for Performance in Civic Practice

  • David Martinez III
    Advocacy & Outreach Specialist, St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance; Vice-Chair, Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits Policy Council
  • Sarah Sullivan
    Co-Founder/Artistic Director, Rising Youth Theatre
  • Ashley Hare
    Managing Director, Rising Youth Theatre
  • Xanthia Walker
    Co-Founder/Artistic Director, Rising Youth Theatre
  • Michael Soto
    Community Organizer and Policy Advisor on Equity and Community Justice

The application period for the AZ Creative Communities Institute (AZ CCI) is now closed.

The application deadline was 11:59pm, Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Guidelines below are provided only for reference.

AZ CCI Call for Community Partners

The application guidelines provide a complete overview of the AZ Creative Communities Institute, eligibility and team composition requirements, and step-by-step application instructions. Please review the application guidelines thoroughly before applying.

AZ Creative Communities Inaugural Cohort

  • Julian Barcelo, Teacher, Davis Elementary School
  • Luis Mena, Artist
  • Marc Pinate, Producing Artistic Director, Borderlands Theater
  • Regina Romero, City Councilor, Ward 1, City of Tucson

  • Erica Herman, Teacher, Casa Grande ESD; Owner, Erica Herman Studios
  • Gloria Leija, City Clerk, City of Casa Grande
  • Rina Rien, Executive Director, Casa Grande Main Street
  • Stacey Seaman, Teacher, Casa Grande ESD; Owner/Director, Blackbox Foundation

  • David Carranza, Economic/Community Development Director, City of Douglas
  • Arturo Escalante, Director, Sun Magazine
  • M Jenea Sanchez, Artist; Instructor, Cochise College
  • Jose Pedro Teran, Owner, El Arteran Designs

  • Talonya Adams, Business Attorney and Founder, 1700 West Law, PLLC
  • Jackie Berry, Real Estate Broker, Berry Realty & Associates
  • Ronn Turner, Artist
  • Rachel Webster, Assistant Program Officer, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)

  • Sarah Douthit, Chief Probation Officer, Coconino County Adult Probation
  • Myra Ferechil, CEO, Victim Witness Services for Coconino County
  • Michael Olson, Community Restitution Coordinator, Coconino County Adult Probation
  • Keli Openshaw, Senior Service Line Programs Developer, Flagstaff Medical Center

  • Al Gameros, Mayor, City of Globe
  • Tiéra Reann Guereña, Student, Arizona State University, College of Public Service and Community Solutions
  • Linda Oddonetto, Executive Assistant, City of Globe
  • Paul Tunis, Executive Director, Cobre Valley Center for the Arts

  • Maya Blanco, Community Organizer
  • Franco Hernandez, Community Organizer
  • Julio Reyna, Community Organizer
  • Sharifa Rowe, CEO, SROWE Consulting, LLC

  • Maja Aurora, Director of Arts Engagement, City of Tempe
  • Maggie Fountain, Fine Arts Curriculum/Instructional Specialist, Tempe Union HSD
  • Gayle Shanks, Owner, Changing Hands Bookstore
  • Aaron Thacker, Public Affairs Officer, Arizona National Guard

  • Lindsay Benacka, Arts and Culture Program Manager, City of Yuma
  • Maria McKivergan, Licensed Professional Counselor, Desert Counseling and Recovery Services
  • Cari Jean Nelson, Ceramics Instructor, Yuma High School District
  • Isaac Russell, Research Analyst, US Department of Defense; Co-Director, Littlewood Fine Art Co-op


AZ Creative Communities Institute is a program of the Arizona Commission on the Arts and ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, with guidance from Southwest Folklife Alliance


AZ Creative Communities is funded in part by a grant from the Surdna Foundation, awarded to the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University as part of its Thriving Cultures grant program.