February 6, 2014

Contact: Steve Wilcox
[email protected]

Arizona Arts Commission Invests $124,000 in Entrepreneurial Arts-based Ventures through Innovative Funding Initiative

PHOENIX, AZ (February 6, 2014) – Between January 28 and February 3, 2014, the Arizona Commission on the Arts awarded a total of $124,000 in seed-funding grants to 21 arts-based ventures through its innovative Arizona Art Tank funding initiative, which celebrates the creativity, resilience and entrepreneurial drive of Arizona’s artists and arts organizations.

At regional events held in four Arizona cities, top applicants were given six minutes each to pitch an arts-based venture to an expert panel and live audience. At the end of each evening, panels awarded top-scoring applicants with seed-funding of between $4,000 and $10,000. An additional $500 Audience Award was granted through popular vote at each event.

Arizona Art Tank was made possible by a special one-time allocation to the Arts Commission in the State of Arizona’s budget for Fiscal Year 2014. Devised by State Senator Steve Farley and marshalled by broad bipartisan support in the legislature, this allocation was derived from interest accrued on the State’s Rainy-Day Fund. Funding was immediately applied to the Arts Commission’s existing statewide grantmaking activities as well as to new initiatives such as Arizona Art Tank. Due to this special allocation, the state arts budget did not decrease for the first time in five years.

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

Ventures were evaluated based on the following criteria:
Impact: The venture is innovative and entrepreneurial in spirit, with potential to initiate change.
Responsiveness: The venture is creative and strategic in the way it responds to the concerns or needs of an identified Market.
Visibility: The venture’s envisioned outcomes are viable and visible, reaching beyond the applicant’s standard engagement and practice.

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

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

Arizona Art Tank: West
January 28, 2014
Peoria Community Center, Peoria

Rick Gray, Arizona State Representative for District 21
Mark Feldman, Governor-appointed Chairman of the Arizona Commission on the Arts; CEO/Managing Partner for Miller/Russell Investments
Mary Stephens, Producing Director for Performance in the Borderlands
Dora Hernandez, Arts Collection Manager for Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture
Brad Moore, Owner of Short Leash Hotdogs
Bonnie Lewis, Owner of Catitude Gallery

Funded Projects and Presenters:
$10,000 – “Second Stories: Light Rail Plays”, Rising Youth Theatre (Phoenix)
Dedicated to creating original, youth-driven art with professional artists in collaboration with communities, Rising Youth Theatre will bring a series of original, youth-developed plays out of the theatre and onto the light rail with Second Stories: The Light Rail Plays.
$7,500 – “Art4All Mobile”, Art4All and Phoenix Center for the Arts (Phoenix)
Art4All will partner with Phoenix Center for the Arts to provide access to the arts to underserved youth in Phoenix. Their project will apply the concept of a bookmobile to the world of art, delivering arts education and experiences directly to schools and communities.
$6,000 – “If I Could Change The World “, BlackPoet Ventures (Phoenix)
Black Poet Ventures aims to inspire youth to be activists in their communities. Students will be introduced to and interact with journalism, documentary video and broadcasting media. The program will culminate in a year-end showcase of participant-generated work.
$5,000 – “The Roots Collection “, Tumbletees (Phoenix)
TumbleTees, a division of the Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development, will provide paid job training and skill development for street youth. Working with visual artists and local business leaders, homeless youth will design, produce and sell socially relevant casual wear.
$4,000 – “Game CoLab Jam”, Game CoLab (Phoenix)
Game CoLab will organize and host a regular Game Jam series. Comparable to musicians’ jam sessions, beginner and novice game developers will be invited to gather, ideate and create computer games during highly productive, hyper-concentrated 48 hour sessions.
$500 (Audience Award) – “Orange Theatre Digital Performance Lab”, Orange Theatre (Phoenix)
Orange Theatre will apply their award to the establishment of a Phoenix-­based laboratory for digital artists and performers to experiment and prototype new, cutting-­edge technologies and expand the boundaries what is possible in the performing arts.

Arizona Art Tank: East
January 29, 2014
Chandler Center for the Arts, Chandler

John McComish, Senate Majority Leader and Arizona State Senator for District 18
Lisa Barnes, Governor-appointed Commissioner for the Arizona Commission on the Arts; Phoenix Art Museum Docent
Sophie May Hook, Events Manager for Scottsdale Public Art
Steve Potter, Contracts and Facilities Manager for ASU Gammage
Cherie Scott, Community Liaison for Free Arts of Arizona
Hamid Shojaee, Founder and CEO of Axosoft in Scottsdale

Funded Projects and Presenters:
$10,000 – “Arizona State University Art Xchange”, School of Art, ASU (Tempe)
The Arizona State University School of Art received funding to build a web portal that will connect campus units, ASU affiliated business and community organizations with Herberger Institute School of Art students, faculty and alumni to support rotating displays of original art.
$7,500 – “Arts Entrepreneur Toolkit”, Pave Program in Arts Entrepreneurship, ASU (Tempe)
Arizona State University’s Pave Program in Arts Entrepreneurship will produce a digital toolkit to provide artists across the state (not just students in the university) with specific information and materials they can use to help them thrive in a market-driven economy.
$6,000 – “Send A Poet”, Send a Poet & Arizona Community Media Foundation (Tempe)
Send a Poet & Arizona Community Media Foundation will collaborate to create a one-stop online social expression platform–a cutting-edge freemium service designed to connect users to poets and causes while “evolving & spreading poetry in a digital & socially driven world.”
$5,000 – “Mesa Up @ Night”, City of Mesa Dept. of Arts and Culture & Neighborhood Economic Development Corp. (Mesa)
City of Mesa and Neighborhood Economic Development Corp. will work together to place performances and art activities in downtown retailers & restaurants in return for extended hours and participation in a collaborative endeavor to generate late night social activity.
$500 (Audience Award) – “The Black Mustache Olde Fashioned Melodrama Co.”, Actor’s Youth Theatre at the Tuscany Theatre (Gilbert)
Actor’s Youth Theatre will use their audience awarded funding to enhance their marketing strategies and increase brand awareness as they open a new theater and begin the Black Mustache productions to serve families and senior communities.

Arizona Art Tank: North
January 30, 2014
Crossroads Center South, Prescott

Dr. Ray Everett, Governor-appointed Commissioner for the Arizona Commission on the Arts; Professor of Management and Economics for Park University
Diane Prescott, Attorney and former Commissioner for the Arizona Commission on the Arts
Joel Hiller, Consultant and former President of Prescott College
Jason Hasenbank, Managing Director of Flagstaff Photography Center

Funded Projects and Presenters:
$10,000 – “Cash For Local Change”, Flagstaff Cultural Partners (Flagstaff)
Flagstaff Cultural Partners will use their award to launch a new community-wide campaign to encourage consumers to use cash in their purchases. At participating businesses, 1% of cash sales will be donated to arts projects that engender local impact and change.
$7,500 – “Young Playwrights Project”, Prescott Center for the Arts (Prescott)
The Young Playwrights Project is designed to engage students in the art of playwriting through workshops for students and teachers, mentorships and seeing their works come to life through reader’s theater and live performances.
$6,000 – “Northern Arizona Print Shop”, Caryn Bopp (Flagstaff)
Flagstaff artist Caryn Bopp will use her $6,000 award to establish a community print shop where Northern Arizona artists will be able to rent studio time and low cost classes will be taught to the public.
$5,000 & $500 (Audience Award) – “Nellie Quamalla’s Basket”, Smoki Museum (Prescott)
Smoki Museum was awarded funding by both the panel and the audience for their proposal to lead a campaign to repair “Nellie’s basket”, the world’s largest Hopi basket, and to produce a children’s book about Nellie’s story to act as a tool for education and fundraising.
Arizona Art Tank: South
February 3, 2014
El Casino Ballroom, Tucson

Steve Farley, Arizona State Senator for District 9
Ethan Orr, Arizona State Representative for District 9
Tim Bee, Governor-appointed Commissioner for the Arizona Commission on the Arts; Senior Associate Vice President for Legislative and Community Relations for the University of Arizona
Chelsey Killebrew, Communications Director for Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance
Joyce Jackson, Vice President of Instruction for Estrella Mountain Community College
Nadia Hagen, Artistic Director for All Souls Procession and Flam Chen

Funded Projects and Presenters:
$10,000 – “Art After Dark”, Tucson Museum of Art (Tucson)
Tucson Museum of the Art calls Art After Dark “a live, in-person social network of the arts.” Led by a team of young locals, the project will present meaningful cultural experiences to Tucsonans in their twenties and thirties, revitalizing downtown Tucson in the process.
$7,500 – “OMA-Vision”, Opening Minds through the Arts & Tucson Unified School District (Tucson)
Opening Minds through the Arts will collaborate with Tucson Unified School District to develop OMA-Vision, an online video channel designed to assist teachers in creative instruction techniques and the integration of the core curriculum with the fine arts.
$6,000 – “Discover the People”, Gold Canyon Arts Council (Gold Canyon)
Gold Canyon Arts Council will apply their funding to a project that will address the shared history and cultures of their community by preserving and presenting an intergenerational oral history of the Old West Highway Cultural Corridor.
$5,000 – “Night Visions!”, Solar Sculptures™ & Dinnerware Artspace (Tucson)
A collaboration of Solar Sculptures™ And Dinnerware Art Space, NIGHT VISIONS! will project digitally mapped, locally produced art onto downtown Tucson buildings from the mobile art gallery known as “Planet Rabbit”.
$4,000 – “Arts Leadership Academy”, Black Box Foundation (Casa Grande)
Casa Grande’s Black Box Foundation will use their award to create an Arts Leadership Academy (ADA). This academy will provide a training ground for arts leaders in Pinal County to sharpen their skills through education and service.
$500 (Audience Award) – “The PhoebeBird Project”, Moises Orozco & Phoebe Jenkins (Tucson)
With their goal of building a vehicle powered only by human energy and flywheel technology that can travel at fast speeds, shift gears, accelerate quickly, and stop safely and efficiently, Moises Orozco and Phoebe Jenkins captured the audience’s imagination and their votes.

For more information on the Arizona Art Tank funding initiative, Arizona Art Tank regional events, Arizona Art Tank grantees and their ventures, or the Arizona Commission on the Arts, please visit Specific inquiries may be directed to Steve Wilcox, Communications and Research Director, available by phone at 602.771.6536 or by email at [email protected]

About the Arizona Commission on the Arts

One of 56 state and jurisdictional arts agencies, the Arizona Commission on the Arts is a 48-year-old agency of the State of Arizona charged with supporting a statewide arts and culture sector. The agency is governed by a 15-member Governor-appointed Commission and a professional staff grounded in the arts.

The Arts Commission receives and administers funds from the State of Arizona and the National Endowment for the Arts and directs this funding to programs which contribute to the growth and stabilization of the arts, impact student learning, nurture and develop artists’ craft and skills, preserve the rich traditions of Arizona communities, and encourage participation by citizens of all ages and abilities.

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

We imagine an Arizona where everyone can participate in and experience the arts.

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