For Immediate Release
January 26, 2015

Contact: Steve Wilcox

$119,000 Invested Statewide in Entrepreneurial Arts-Based Ventures through Arizona Art Tank
Artists and arts organizations awarded up to $10,000 in seed funding at four regional events

PHOENIX, AZ (January 26, 2015). Between January 12 and January 20, 2015, the Arizona Commission on the Arts, an agency of the State of Arizona, awarded grants to 16 arts-based ventures through the second year of its fast-pitch grant program, Arizona Art Tank.

Fast-Pitch for Seed Funding

At regional events held in four Arizona cities, artists and nonprofit arts organizations were given 6 minutes each to pitch an innovative project or program to a live audience and a panel of experts. At each event, the presentations that received the highest panelist scores were awarded between $5,000 and $10,000 in seed funding.

“Art Tank was a success in so many ways,” said Robert Booker, Executive Director of the Arizona Commission on the Arts. “Organizations and artists imagined new entrepreneurial ventures that required them to move beyond the status quo into a realm of risk and creativity. This leap of faith by arts leaders has allowed the Arts Commission to support projects that reach into every corner of our state and serve Arizonans in new and exciting ways.”

For a complete list of grant recipients and additional details about the regional Arizona Art Tank events, click here.

Arizona Art Tank review panels were composed of Governor-appointed Arts Commissioners, elected officials, business leaders and arts professionals from each region.

An additional $1,000 grant, the APS Innovation Award (furnished by program sponsor Arizona Public Service Company), was awarded to the presentation which received the most audience votes at each of the four regional events.

Recipients of Arizona Art Tank funding will be required to adhere to the strict eligibility and accountability protocols governing all Arts Commission grants.

Reimagining Public Funding for the Arts

Drawing inspiration from the world of entrepreneurial start-ups and venture capital, the “fast-pitch” event represents a dramatic departure from the 48 year-old state agency’s standard method for awarding grants.

In a traditional grant process, applicants are represented only by their written applications and relevant work samples. Arizona Art Tank allows artists and arts organizations a rare opportunity to pitch their proposals directly to review panels and invites the public to witness and actively participate in the process.

An Uncertain Future

Art Tank was made possible due to bipartisan legislative action, sparked and championed by Senator Steve Farley of District 9. This action successfully allocated an additional $1 million derived from interest accrued on the state’s rainy day fund to the Arts Commission’s grantmaking budget for each of the last two fiscal years. Though this allocation provided for the creation of Arizona Art Tank and significantly bolstered the Arts Commission’s existing grant programs without affecting the state’s overall bottom line, it was not included in the executive budget released on January 16, 2015.

Arizona Art Tank: 2015 Grant Recipients

The location, panelists and grantees for each event are as follows:

Arizona Art Tank: Eastern Region
Date: January 12, 2015
Location: Chandler Center for the Arts, Chandler, AZ

• Senator Bob Worsley, Arizona State Senator, District 25
• Tamalyn Lewis, Attorney and Governor-appointed Commissioner, Arizona Commission on the Arts
• Tammy McLeod, Vice President of Resource Management, APS
• Terry Benelli, Executive Director, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Phoenix
• Sarah Cochran, Associate Director and Curator, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
• Baron Gordon, Artist and Entrepreneur, Principal at Smart Guy Marketing
• Royce Manuel, Artist and Educator, Founder of Morningstar Leaders Foundation
• Michael Soto, Communications Associate, Miller Russell Associates

Grant Recipients:

$5,000: ProMusica Arizona will present The Unpredictable Adventures of Henry Hicklebee, an event that combines classical music, cell phone-based voting, and “the choose your own adventure” concept from children’s literature to provide an innovative concert experience for people new to classical music as well as concert aficionados.
$6,000: The Bridge Initiative will provide a platform to unite and promote female theatre artists, culminating in a June symposium at which scholars, teachers, students, and professionals will have opportunities to interact, network, and develop mentoring relationships through classes, rehearsals, seminars and internships.
$8,000: Essential Theatre will develop a multi-tiered arts-based job training program for homeless young adults. Forming their own ensemble, working in the form known as Playback Theatre and presenting performances to other homeless young adults, participants will build job skills that will support them as they transition out of homelessness and into self-sufficiency and independence.
$10,000: Childsplay, a professional theatre for young audiences company, will create a programming series that allows families with children on the autism spectrum to participate in meaningful theatre experiences at a variety of levels and entrance points.
$1,000 APS Innovation Award (chosen by audience vote): Childsplay

Arizona Art Tank: Southern Region

Date: January 13, 2015
Location: Star Studios, Bisbee, AZ

• Vicky Boyce, Retired gallery owner and Governor-appointed Commissioner, Arizona Commission on the Arts
• Peggy Jelen, Section Leader, APS
• Ryan J. Bruce, Station Director, Radio Bisbee
• Mel Dominguez, Visual Artist
• Mignonne Hollis, Executive Director, Sierra Vista Economic Development Foundation
• J.C. Mutchler, Associate Research Historian, Southwest Center, Associate Research Professor, History Department, University of Arizona
• Katie Perry, Grants Manager and Development Associate, Tucson Museum of Art
• Alfred Urbina, Attorney General, Pascua Yaqui Tribe

Grant Recipients:

$5,000: Tucson Symphony Orchestra (TSO) will develop an innovative program whereby they will commission, present and license new classical music works by emerging composers. Collecting royalties when the commission is performed by other orchestras, TSO will strategically reinvest these dividends to fund the commissioning of new works by emerging composers in the future.
$6,000: Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum will collaborate with the University of Arizona Poetry Center to develop an “interpretative, playful, ruminative and interactive” social media experience centered around Ms. Marple, the museum’s poetic ringtail mascot. The interactive nature of the creation of her poems will open new educational and writing opportunities to ASDM visitors and students.
$8,000: Arts Express’ Building careACTOR Program, provided in partnership with the Arizona Schools for the Deaf and Blind (ASDB), will unite deaf or blind students with students that can see and hear to perform in a full-length musical production, creating a rich environment for personal growth and community building.
$10,000: Bisbee artist Gretchen Baer received funding for Paint Your Town!, a “mobile, roadside art happening for young people” in Cochise County. The project will begin as an outdoor painting experience, grow into a countywide art exhibition, and then return to the towns it was created in as a traveling art show.
$1,000 APS Innovation Award (chosen by audience vote): Gretchen Baer

Arizona Art Tank: Northern Region

Date: January 15, 2015
Location: Coconino Center for the Arts, Flagstaff, AZ
• Representative Bob Thorpe, Arizona State Representative, District 6
• Janet Dean, Community Affairs Manager, Northeast Division, APS
• William Eaton, Musician and Director of Old Town Center for the Arts in Cottonwood
• Coral Evans, Executive Director of Sunnyside Neighborhood Association, Flagstaff City Councilmember
• Porangui McGrew, Performing Artist and Teaching Artist
• Bahe Whitethorn, Visual Artist
• Kris Williams, Co-owner of The Gallery in Williams
• Annette Zinky, Executive Director, Northern Arizona Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology

Grant Recipients:

$5,000*: Sedona Arts Center will partner with the Sedona Historical Society, Red Rock High School (Sedona) and Mingus Union High School (Cottonwood) to train five inter-generational teams to create Digital Storytelling packages about Sedona’s movie-making history.
$5,000*: Canyon Movement Company will provide a “choreographers’ challenge” for teens and young adults, mentoring them and engaging them in community and social issues through dance.
$8,000: Prescott College Art Gallery at Sam Hill Warehouse received funding to establish a Sam Hill Fellows Program. The program will develop fellows training opportunities, including weekend‐long retreats occurring twice per year, focused on fellows training as well as emerging topics and trends for artists and arts organizations.
$10,000: AZ Culture and the Town of Clarkdale will join forces to present Verde Valley Open Air Cinema, a series of family friendly, outdoor film screenings and live entertainment.
$1,000 APS Innovation Award (chosen by audience vote): Sedona Arts Center
* Sedona Arts Center and Canyon Movement Company tied for third place.

Arizona Art Tank: Western Region

Date: January 20, 2015
Location: Peoria Center for the Performing Arts (Theater Works), Peoria, AZ

• Senator Steve Farley, Arizona S
• tate Senator, District 9
• Senator Debbie Lesko, Arizona State Senator, District 21
• Dr. Pamela Hall, Chair of the Art Department at Glendale Community College and Governor-appointed Commissioner, Arizona Commission on the Arts
• Frank McCune, Government Affairs Representative, APS
• Norma Cunningham, Artist Representative, former Commissioner for Goodyear Arts and Culture
• Damian Jim, Owner, 1Spot Gallery
• Jacob Meders, Visual Artist and Master Printmaker, Warbird Press
• Tara Sharpe, Producer of ARTELPHX and Director of Arts, Media, Community and Culture, the Clarendon Hotel
• Jorge Torres, Founder, Palabra Art Collective
• Xanthia Walker, Co-Artistic Director, Rising Youth Theatre

Grant Recipients:
$5,000: The Rag Collection will develop Street Voice, an internship program led by local mural artists, to create a focused mentorship process for underserved, at-risk youth interested in Street Art so they can connect with and empower community engagement and public art in their neighborhood.
$6,000: Arizona Association of the Deaf will produce The Deafhood Monologues, an episodic play of Deaf experiences, chronicles and reflections delivered through poetry, stories, and presentations in American Sign Language.
$8,000: Teatro Bravo will produce The Carpa Plays, a touring series of original theatrical performances, telling stories of the Latino experience in and out of AZ. The focus of this venture is to bring theatre to the Latino families in the surrounding areas of Phoenix who may not otherwise be able to experience theatre in its conventional forms.
$10,000: Orange Theatre will establish a Phoenix-based laboratory for digital artists and performers to experiment and prototype new, cutting-edge technologies and expand the boundaries of what is possible in the performing arts. This long-term residency will bring professional digital/media artists and performers to their downtown Phoenix warehouse performance facility to collaborate on the development of interactive systems for the stage.
$1,000 APS Innovation Award (chosen by audience vote): Arizona Association of the Deaf

For more information, visit, send an email to, or call the Arizona Commission on the Arts at 602.771.6536.

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About the Arizona Commission on the Arts

One of 56 state and jurisdictional arts agencies across the United States, the Arizona Commission on the Arts is an agency of the State of Arizona that supports a statewide arts network. The Arizona Commission on the Arts supports access to quality arts and arts education opportunities for all Arizona citizens; the development and retention of statewide jobs in the nonprofit arts, culture and education sectors; and increased economic impact in local communities through arts-based partnerships that develop tax and small business revenue.

For more information about the grants, services and programs of the Arizona Commission on the Arts, visit

To request this or any other agency publication in an alternative format, contact the Arts Commission offices at (602) 771-6502, or