Art’s true power is revealed when a painting or a play goes beyond the aesthetically pleasing to bridge divides between people.
The community-based CALA Alliance may kindle such bridge-building when it throws a spotlight on Arizona art, artists and artforms rooted in Latino-culture with the first-ever CALA Festival.
The two-month celebration kicks off Sept. 14 with opening ceremonies at Phoenix Art Museum. In the weeks to come, CALA (Celebración Artística de las Américas) will call attention to concerts, street fairs, theatrical performances and art exhibitions at venues throughout the Valley.
“We wanted to create multiple opportunities to participate in cultural activities that would spark dialogue among people of all cultures,” said CALA Alliance board member Myra Millinger in a release.
In the East Valley, Childsplay will premiere “The Sun Serpent,” a new play by José Cruz González about the conquest of Mexico. Running Oct. 22 through Nov. 3 at Tempe Center for the Arts, the play features colorful, handmade masks by Mesa artist Zarco Guerrero.
Meanwhile, New Carpa Theater Co. will present “Amexica: Tales from the Fourth World” at Mesa Arts Center. The new multidisciplinary narrative is a collaboration between Valley playwright James E. Garcia and Arizona State University professor and accomplished author Alberto Rios. It runs Oct. 21 through Nov. 6.
Also on tap for the E.V. are Dia de los Muertos celebrations in Chandler and Mesa, and a “tardeada” street fair in Tempe. Across the Valley, photography exhibitions, cooking classes, art workshops and film screenings are planned.
Organizers hope to make the festival a bi-annual occurrence.
“The more participants support this event, the more positive the impact on our local economy and public image,” said CALA president Rubén Álvarez in a statement. “Most importantly, we can use art to create commonality among diverse communities by celebrating our differences instead of being divided by them.”
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