In 2013, the Arizona Commission on the Arts launched a unique funding initiative designed to make strategic investments in Arizona’s most exciting arts-based ventures. At regional events in four Arizona communities, top applicants were given six minutes each to pitch innovative arts-based ventures to a live audience and a panel of experts for a shot at up to $10,000 in seed-funding.

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.

Arizona Art Tank: 2014 pitch events were held in four Arizona cities between January 28 and February 3, 2014. A complete list of award recipients, venture descriptions, panelists and additional information for each event can be found here.

In January 2015, Arizona Art Tank returned.  

Arizona Art Tank: 2015 events were held in four Arizona communities throughout January 2015.


Arizona Art Tank: East
Chandler Center for the Arts
Chandler, AZ
January 12, 2015

Arizona Art Tank: South
Star Studios
Bisbee, AZ
January 13, 2015

Arizona Art Tank: North
Coconino Center for the Arts
Flagstaff, AZ
January 15, 2015

Arizona Art Tank: West
Peoria Center for the Performing Arts
Peoria, AZ
January 20, 2015



Arizona Art Tank: Eastern Region

January 12, 2015


Chandler Center for the Arts, Chandler, AZ


  • Senator Bob Worsley, Arizona State Senator, District 25
  • Tamalyn Lewis, 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
  • Royce Manuel, Artist and Educator, Founder of Morningstar Leaders Foundation
  • Baron Gordon, Artist and Entrepreneur, Principal at Smart Guy Marketing
  • 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 both people new to classical music and concert aficionados.

Beyond the Pitch: ProMusica Arizona

$6,000: The Bridge Initiative will provide a platform to unite and promote female theatre artists,culminating in a symposium in June at which scholars, teachers, students, and professionals will have opportunities to interact, network, and develop mentoring relationships through classes, rehearsals, and seminars and internships.

Beyond the Pitch: The Bridge Initiative

$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 series of programming 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

Photos by Alonso Parras, Left Lamp Media

Arizona Art Tank: Southern Region

January 13, 2015


Star Studios, Bisbee, AZ


  • Vicky Boyce, Governor-appointed Commissioner, Arizona Commission on the Arts
  • Richard Rosales, Community Affairs Manager, APS
  • Ryan J. Bruce, Station Director, Radio Bisbee
  • Mel Dominguez, Visual Artist
  • Mignonne Hollis, Executive Director, Sierra Vista Economic Development Foundation
  • J.C. Mutchler, Borderlands/Southwest Faculty, University of Arizona
  • Katie Perry, Grants Manager, Tucson Museum of Art
  • Alfred Urbina, Community Leader and Chief Prosecutor, 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 ExpressBuilding 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.

Beyond the Pitch: Arts Express


$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, then return to the towns it was created in as a traveling art show.

Beyond the Pitch: Gretchen Baer


$1,000 APS Innovation Award (chosen by audience vote): Gretchen Baer

Arizona Art Tank: Northern Region

January 15, 2015


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
  • Coral Evans, Executive Director of Sunnyside Neighborhood Association, Vice Mayor of Flagstaff
  • Porangui McGrew, Musician and Performing Artist
  • Bahe Whitethorn, Visual Artist
  • Kris Williams, Owner, 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

January 20, 2015


Peoria Center for the Performing Arts (TheaterWorks), Peoria, AZ


  • Representative Debbie Lesko, Arizona State Representative, District 9
  • State Senator Steve Farley, Arizona State Senator, District 28
  • Dr. Pamela Hall, Governor-appointed Commissioner, Arizona Commission on the Arts
  • Michael Vargas, Government Affairs Representative, APS
  • Norma Cunningham, Artist and Business Owner, Commissioner for Goodyear Arts and Culture
  • Jacob Meders, Visual Artist
  • Damian Jim, Owner, 1Spot Gallery
  • Tara Sharpe, Director of Arts, Media, Community and Culture, Clarendon Hotel and Producer of ARTELPHX
  • Jorge Torres, Owner, Palabra Pop-Up Gallery
  • Xanthia Walker, 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 under-served, at-risk youth interested in Street Art so they can connect with and empower community engagement and public art in their neighborhood.

$6,000: Inspired by Understanding Deaf Culture: In search of Deafhood and The Vagina Monologues, 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 form.

Beyond the Pitch: Teatro Bravo

$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

Photos by Alonso Parras, Left Lamp Media

In mission, method, and tone, Arizona Art Tank is unlike any grant initiative previously offered by the Arizona Commission on the Arts. In light of this, a number of resources were developed to educate applicants about the program and help them succeed.

The application period for Arizona Art Tank: 2015 closed on September 18, 2014. Materials and resources below are provided only for reference.

Arizona Art Tank Grant Guidelines

The Arizona Art Tank Grant Guidelines detail the intent and parameters of the program, eligibility requirements and application instructions. 

The Arizona Art Tank Compatibility Quiz

To help potential applicants determine whether their arts-based venture was an appropriate fit for Arizona Art Tank, the Arts Commission introduced the Arizona Art Tank Compatibility Quiz in 2014.

Arizona Art Tank: 2015 Online Information Session

A series of in person and online information sessions were offered in the lead up to the application deadline.

Arizona Art Tank: 2014 Applicant Prep Webinar

Prior to the Arizona Art Tank: 2014 pitch events, applicants were coached on developing strong pitches by Arts Commission staff via online webinars.

(The information in this webinar does not apply to Arizona Art Tank: 2015 applicants. New resources for 2015 will be provided for those selected to participate in the live pitch events)