For Immediate Release
January 12, 2017

Contact: Steve Wilcox
602.771.6536
swilcox@azarts.gov

Arts Commission Invites Arizonans to Imagine NextAZ, Share Their Creative Spark
Expansive NextAZ initiative coincides with state agency’s 50th anniversary

Today the Arizona Commission on the Arts, an agency of the State of Arizona, officially launched NextAZ, a statewide planning initiative designed to empower communities to activate creative assets and co-create ideas to fuel Arizona’s next 50 years.

Coinciding with the state agency’s 50th anniversary, the NextAZ initiative will comprise a range of activities in service to Arizonans, including focused research, meaningful community collaborations, targeted grantmaking, professional development, and inventive cross-sector partnerships.

In a letter posted today to the Arizona Commission on the Arts website and addressed to Arizona’s residents, the Arts Commission’s leadership team emphasized the central role Arizonans will play in NextAZ.

“This planning initiative and its programs focus 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.”

“We believe Arizonans possess boundless creative potential. We think creativity should join other valuable resources on Arizona’s 21st-century list of ‘5 Cs.’ We know that creativity thrives here, and that together we can put that creativity to work in support of Arizona’s most prosperous future.”

Alongside the initiative announcement, the Arts Commission launched the first public component of the initiative, NextAZ: Creative Spark, a crowdsourcing experiment inviting Arizona residents to submit original images, poems, testimonials, audio or video clips representing the power of creativity in their own lives and communities.

“Arizonans’ stories, talent, and dreams drive the NextAZ 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,” stated Jaime Dempsey, Deputy Director of the Arts Commission.

Original submissions can be shared via an online form at www.azarts.gov/nextaz/creative-spark or mailed to the Arts Commission’s office at 417 West Roosevelt Street, Phoenix, AZ 85003, and may be featured on the NextAZ website and in a variety of program materials.

“Your creative spark could be a photo of your grandma’s upright bass, an audio recording of your church choir, or a video clip of your son’s dance squad performing at school,” suggests Dempsey. “One person’s creative spark might be an original haiku while another’s might be found in our wondrous Arizona landscape, perhaps in the calm after a monsoon storm. We can’t wait to discover what inspires you.”

For more information visit www.azarts.gov/nextaz or contact Steve Wilcox at (602) 771-6536 or swilcox@azarts.gov.

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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 a 50-year-old agency of the State of Arizona and a leading force in the creative and professional development of Arizona’s arts sector. Through robust programs, research initiatives and strategic grantmaking, the Arts Commission catalyzes arts-based partnerships that strengthen Arizona communities through the arts.

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

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

Images available upon request.