As I write this, another AAG year is quickly coming to a close.  I am stunned that it is here so quickly.  The time went by in a blink.  From my perspective, it has been a stellar year.

Distilling our mission down to its core, AAG promotes the visual arts through education, exhibition, and outreach.  Underneath all of that is community.  We are a unique community of artists with common values.  We come together with compassion, creativity, encouragement, and an openness to growing, expressing, and exchanging ideas.  When I speak about AAG people are astounded to hear about what we do, who we are, and how we serve not only one another, but a broader community as well.  There is no other arts organization quite like ours.

I am enthusiastic about the Perennial Picassos, the newest segment of our outreach program that will bloom Sept 20th.  This program will address the changing needs of some of our members and their friends or family members who have lost some or all of their independence due to illness or circumstance, be it temporary or permanently. This program, like the others, has the potential to be cathartic for both the participants and the volunteers who run it.

These past few months I have been thinking about our upcoming anniversary…. 90 years.  It is something to be immensely proud of.  There are few organizations that have been around for as long.  It is something to honor and celebrate, and we will do so in style. Many exciting plans are coming together to make this a celebratory time.  The first is the exhibit at the Sky Harbor Museum (prospectus).  The deadline for entry is  August 10.  We will host a day at the end of July or the beginning of August to assist you with your entry, as it is a mailed-in digital entry.  Stay tuned through eblasts and the website.  If you are not signed up for eblasts you might want to be sure to do so.  This is a great opportunity!  I hope you decide to get involved in planning or participating in some of the other events that will happen throughout the year.  There are many opportunities.  Email me if you have any questions about the exhibit or if you want to volunteer.

This afternoon I attended a memorial service for a dear friend. Lila Bush was 94 and one of the most delightful people I have known, though I only knew her a short while.  We met at a time of her life when her character was fully formed and layered with a patina of a life well lived.

What is remarkable about Lila is that she was remembered for the way she made people feel.  Story after story, the theme remained the same.  I share this not so much to share about this personal loss, I share it to plant a thought that has been rolling around inside me these past few days:  As creatives we master skills to visually give voice to our emotional experiences.  The more honest the expression, the deeper the impact.  The depth of the impact is directly proportionate to the rawness of what is being revealed.  My questions to you is – do you know how your art makes others feel?  And if not, what do you need to do to find out?

All of the art that I love is because of how it makes me feel when I am with it.  That does not diminish or dilute the skills or techniques needed to make it. Quite the contrary, sometimes the awe of the skill is the emotion that is experienced.  Sometimes it is the memory of the person who made it or how it was acquired.  Mostly it is the work itself.

As we bid farewell for the summer, I want to thank you for this opportunity.  I am humbled and grateful to hold this position, and excitedly look to the year ahead.

May the summer treat you kindly and inspire you wildly.

Tess

Tess Mosko Scherer, President, Arizona Artists Guild
MoskoScherer@ArizonaArtistsGuild.net

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the nature of your creativity and role as an artist

Happy Spring!

What a vibrant time of year!   Wildflowers bloom as the landscape awakens from it slumber and the air is abuzz with creative energy and happenings.  Every weekend hosts an arts festival somewhere.  The Canal Convergence in Scottsdale, Spark Festival at Mesa Center for the Arts, Art Detour in downtown Phoenix, Art Expo and the Celebration of Fine Art white tent shows in Scottsdale are just a few that come immediately to mind.

I probably missed more opening than I attended – and I attended a LOT! Congratulations to all of our members and friends of AAG who participated in these events either by organizing or exhibiting. It has been a stellar couple of weeks.

Steven Tepper
photo: Phoenix New Times

In early March, I was fortunate to attend a lecture by Steven Tepper, Dean of Arts and Sciences at ASU.  If you are not familiar with him, you should be.  With sociology degrees from Princeton and Harvard he brings a unique and fresh perspective to the roles of the artist and arts educator. His ideas have become national initiatives, breaking beyond the boundaries of his ASU campus.

Tepper began his talk posing two questions: ‘what is the nature of creativity in our world’ and ‘what is the role of the artist’?  With these questions as the compass, he took us on a historical journey looking at art through the lens of the sociologist.  Essentially, he posed that since the 19th century, art was part of everyday life.  If you wanted to listen to music, you played it. If you wanted to hear Shakespeare, you recited it.  If you wanted pictures of your family or loved ones, you painted them. With industrialization came the gap between us and art as an ‘every-person expression’.  Suddenly, the artist was on a pedestal, the act of making art was idealized and out of reach for the ‘non-artist’.

He shared a lot of data and statistics.  What was interesting to me was that in 1950 there were 250 non-profit arts organization.  Today there is over 100,000. This growth redefined how society viewed art and broadened the gap between society and the artist even more. Today we are poised to see even more change.  As artists we will have to reimagine how we interact with society and how we invite society to interact with our art.

No one can predict what the future will hold.  The present time does not have room for complacency.  That thought takes me full circle to Tepper’s initial questions: ‘what is the nature of creativity in our world’ and ‘what is the role of the artist’?  I would like to reframe those questions to make them a little more personal – ‘what is the nature of your creativity’ and ‘what is your role as an artist’?

Have a wildly creative month,

Tess

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2017 Scholarship Recipients

Arizona Artists Guild is proud to announce that it has awarded $7,000 in Visual Arts Scholarships for the 2017 year.  Please join us for a reception in their honor at the Shemer Art Center and Museum on March 9, 2017 from 6-8:30 pm.

This year’s scholarship exhibition will be co-curated by 2015 scholarship recipient, Zachary Valent and Tess Mosko Scherer, AAG president.   The exhibition, titled, New Art in Arizona will run from March 9- April 6, 2016 at the Shemer Art Center and Museum | 5005 E. Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85018 |  ShemerArtCenter.org.

Additionally, each scholarship recipient will give a 10 – 15 minute presentation of their work on May 16 at Arizona Artists Guild |18411 N 7th Avenue, Phoenix.

The 2017 AAG Scholarship Recipients are:

Andrew Noble | ASU | AAG Ruth Magadini Scholarship $1000

Layne Farmer | ASU | AAG Erin O’Dell Scholarship $1000.

Brandi Lee Cooper | ASU | AAG President’s Scholarship $1500

Tyler Griese | ASU | AAG Marigold Linton Scholarship $1500.

Elizabeth Tabor | ASU | AAG Scholarship $1000

Shannon Ludington | ASU | AAG Scholarship $1000.

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Scholarship News

Superbowl Sunday was not just a big day for the Patriots, it was also a big day for 6 college students who were juried to receive this year’s AAG’s scholarships.  The reception will be at Shemer Art Center and Museum on Thursday March 9, 2017 from 6-8:30 pm.

The recipients will present at AAG during the general meeting on May 16, 2017.

I hope you can join us for one or both events.  It is gratifying to hear the impact AAG has on these young adults. So much so that they continue to stay involved.  In addition to the scholarship, they receive a one-year membership.  I have stayed connected with all of last years’ recipients and am so proud to see the work they are producing, knowing in a small way we helped.

And they have been ambassadors for AAG spreading the word!  Additionally, two of last year’s recipients are board members of AAG, one is also volunteering on the scholarship committee as a juror and will assist with the installation of this year’s show at Shemer.  All of last years’ recipients helped distribute applications,.  Several of last year’s recipients have continued to garner advice and counsel on this year’s scholarship program, and several have been involved in shows at Shemer Art Center and Museum, with one of them acting as a curator and juror for an upcoming exhibit, Photography with Presence.

Also exciting is how many individuals are donating to the fund.  In addition to our fundraising events, we had the granddaughter of a member raise $350 through a high-school fundraising event, earmarked for scholarship. We are partnered with the Glendale Art Council who donates annually, and a private donor who contributes $1500 annually for a scholarship in her name.  We still have a ways to go in creating a self-generating fund for this program. Anything you can do to assist be it through funds, fundraising, or ideas would be greatly appreciated.  Each donation of $25,000 goes directly into our scholarship investment fund generating a $1000. annual scholarship in the donor’s name in perpetuity.  Please reach out to me if this is something you would like to do, find out more information about, or to stipulate in your will.

2018 ushers in our 90th year.  It’s an exciting time!  Planning is already underway to celebrate our endurance, sustainability and impact.  Our mission has not wavered much through the years – promoting the arts through education, exhibition and outreach.  Historically we have been strong in exhibition and education.  Over the last few years the Outreach program has grown and is at its historical strongest.  In addition to the scholarship program, we are offering free monthly art classes to veterans, non-English speaking elderly refugees at an adult center, and to young girls who have been sexually abused or trafficked.  We are working with the Az Arts Commission in expanding our reach to isolated elderly whose lives can be transformed through art and the socialization at AAG.  It is an exciting time for us at AAG.

Be sure to join us at the Artstravaganza on March 10, with proceeds divided between our scholarship and outreach programs.  It’s a fun-filled creative evening with proceeds going to a great cause.

Thank you all for your continued support and interest in AAG. Have a creative and inspired month.

Tess

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the choices you make that give voice to your art

Happy February.
Last month at the general meeting I referenced “If Everybody Did It”, a new book written by Marcia Losh and illustrated by Phyllis Arnold. Essentially, the book invites you to consider the consequence of choice and the influence, impact, and effect one person’s choice has on others – not only on their individual lives, but on their community and the earth as well.  It is a beautiful story written for children with a moral for all.  We know so well how one choice can change the path of many.

In light of current poitical and social climate I have been thinking about the choices we make and more specifically the choices we make as artists. As artists, we face a multitude of choices as we determine the course of our current project – from composition, materials, color, placement of color or texture, design, perspective and so on.  As artists the choices we make in and out of the studio are driven by our creativity, our curiousity, and our personal experiences or perspective.  Perhaps it is because we study perspective that we are able to view situations from several vantages points.  When not bogged down by our own ‘stuff’ obscuring our view, we are generally open to different points of view. Living outside the box we approach the world from a creative perch.

With choice comes voice. What is the voice of your art? For instance, if you are a landscape painter, are you creating pretty images of the natural world? Or do you remind people of the fragility or conversely the mighty power of that same world?  Or do you transport people from their world into the one you created in your paiting, stirring introspection and personal reflection?

As artists, living a creative life, we use our choices to determine the voice of our work.  What is your artistic voice?  If your focus is about mastery of a medium, technique, or skill – that’s ok. If its about having fun – that’s ok, too.  If you have not considered the meaning behind your work, consider this an invitation to do so.  I pose this question to myself in my work in and out of my studio and particularly in my leadership position as president of AAG.

We have a great month ahead. Be sure to read the newsletter and check the website for details.  Don’t miss the general meeting this month, Tessa Windt will be leading an interactive program on Feb 21 that is sure to be inspirational and thought provoking focusing on the arts and aging.  Roger LeBrash will open his blacksmithing studio to the sculptor’s group on February 6. Roger is a gifted artist and businessman, with his son Jason, they own and operate one of the largest blacksmithing shops in the state. You do not have to be a member of the sculptor’s group to attend.

As usual, my perverbial door is always open and I welcome your thoughts.
Have a creative and inspired month.

Tess

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Happy New Year!

I write this while in Mystic, Connecticut enjoying the holidays with my family. Sitting here this morning listening to the wind howl as it moves through the natural and constructed landscape outside my window, I think about my family of origin and my AAG family, and the impact of both on my life.  Reflecting on the year that is ending and contemplating the one about to begin, I find myself proud of what we have accomplished and excited by what lay ahead.

2016 was an expansive year. We opened the door to partnership with other arts organizations, strengthened our administrative and organizational structure, refined our website and increased our social media presence. Membership is on the rise – but more important, so is member involvement- more members are participating in guild events! That tells me we are on the right path and you like what we are doing.

Working with the Arizona Arts Commission we are expanding our outreach program. Karen Wintergartner, David Bradley, and I are participating in their Creative Aging/Generations Lab program. We recently met with the Commission to review our already impactful Outreach Programs and plan our expansion. Working closely with the Commission we are building partnerships to assist us in reaching our goals. We expect to have a working plan in place by May.  Stay tuned for more details!

Following Art Smith’s brilliant instruction on mandalas, I led an impromptu calligraphy session at the first StreetlightsUSA class. The girls left the class equally uplifted and ignited. True to form, we had more volunteers than students, speaking volumes to the heart of our community.

Our Veterans Program continues in its vibrancy under the helm of David Bradley, Art Smith, Lisa Wyman, and Mark Woehrle.  Entering its fourth year the Veterans have established a community within AAG that supports, nourishes, and inspires. Giving back to those who have generously given of themselves is rewarding and humbling.

With Karen Wintergartner, Art Smith launched a class for non-English-speaking refugees at an adult day center. This program is positively impacting the lives of adult immigrants who are often overlooked as they are no longer in the work force and are isolated from regular community building experiences.

Many AAG members exhibited in the Arizona State Fair, with several winning awards. What few people may know is that David Bradley worked closely with Fair Director, Chi Isiogu to improve the quality of the exhibit.  Among the work they did together was to rewrite the prospectus,  review the juror selection process, and create the veterans art exhibit.

The Fine Arts Fiesta in Spring and Fall were hugely successful not only in money raised, but also in attendance and increased fun! Expanding the event, the Artstravaganza as it has been renamed is on March 10, 2017.  Save the date!!

Speaking of fundraising, the Art Supply Exchange continues to thrive as one of AAG’s most successful fundraising program.  Alicia Plogman and Alice Pelchat work tirelessly to fill the shelves with materials to foster our creative experimentation.

With the closure of Gallery Glendale we are forging new relationships with other venues for next year’s Statewide Exhibition. In doing so we are increasing community awareness to a broader audience.

These are just some of the past and future highlights that come to me in this morning’s reverie. Please pardon if I overlooked anything.  As I look toward the upcoming year, I see it full of transformative and creative possibilities for all.

On a personal note, may the new year treat you kindly, inspire you wildly, and fill you with unexpected and welcomed experiences.

Tess

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The Man in the Arena Speech

tess
I received several requests for the passage I read at the November meeting, so I thought I would include it here.  It was from Theodore Roosevelt’s speech “Citizenship in a Republic.”  Sometimes referred to as “The Man in the Arena” speech, Roosevelt delivered it at the Sorbonne in Paris, France, April 23, 1910.  I drew its reference from Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly book which I highly recommend for anyone interested in living an examined life.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again,

Because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause;

Who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…”

As artists we open ourselves to critique and exposed vulnerability.  It is not enough to do the work.  It is only half the process.  Showing the work is the other half.  The exhibition is what completes it.  Some may argue that it is enough to create for oneself.  I allow the argument to stand, however it is my belief that art is intended to be shared, to be enjoyed, reveled, or contemplated.  The exchange is the medicine of the art and the artist, the gift that is given to the world.

However, as Creatives, we can consciously decide who can influence us by recognizing the wealth of their grit in relation to our own. Remembering to align ourselves with others who are in the arena doing the difficult work rather than playing it safe on the sideline leaves us open to honest feedback that promotes growth, development or our own insight to bloom.

As an organization we continue to raise the bar as leaders in the arts community.  AAG’s commitment to the promotion of the arts and artists through education, exhibition and outreach continues to build our reputation and our reach.  We are in the arena, making a difference and transforming lives. Thank you for being a part of that be it through your physical and/or fiscal contributions.  We couldn’t do it without you. Please think of AAG for your year-end donation.

On behalf of the board, I wish you and yours a happy and healthy holiday season. May the upcoming year be abundant with creative growth and expression.

Tess

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Veteran’s November Program and Thanksgiving Meal

vets-thanksgiving-3 vets-thanksgiving-2 vets-thanksgiving1

 

 

 

 

 

 
AAG held its November session of the Veteran’s Art Program on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and was a heartwarming success for all who attended. 12 Veterans and 10 AAG member volunteers explored wet on wet watercolor painting techniques under the capable guidance of John Erwin. John led the Vets through three exercises: painting a leaf, a group of peppers and painting a snow scene.

For lunch there was a Thanksgiving feast donated by AAG members that provided satisfaction and good feelings for all. There was enough leftovers for all the Vets to take home some as well. Special thanks to Charlie Plogman, his wife, Debbie and their daughter, Annie who brought a turkey, dressing, corn and six pies. Sitting at the tables set with table cloths and fresh flowers were smiles, and conversation that was deeply rewarding. Veteran Barbara L related how much she has grown as an artist since she began coming to the program in 2014. Participating in the AAG program helped her learn how to let go of the need for “perfection” in her artwork and led to the discovery of how to really express her inner feelings through her art.

The December Veteran’s Art program session will be a raku firing on Saturday, December 17, 10am-2pm. All AAG members are invited to come and participate, chat with the Vets, guide them through the process of glazing their pieces, and make a connection with someone who really appreciates it.

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Deer Valley High School Charity Event

tessThis evening I attended the CHARITY ARTS SHOW that Alicia Plogman’s granddaughter Annie organized at Deer Valley High school on 51st Ave. and Union Hills. She worked extremely hard for tonight’s event.  She organized a photographer to work with students from the performing and fine arts divisions to photograph them or their art.  Included in the night’s festivities was a raffle of donated artwork and a concert by James Majors.  The fundraiser was created to raise money and awareness for the art department at Deer Valley High School as well as the scholarship program at Arizona Artists Guild.

Although the raffle ended, donations will be accepted through November 18.  You can donate online through Arizona Artists Guild or mail a check to AAG | PO Box 41534 | Phoenix, Az 85023,  Please make checks payable to Deer Valley HS.  Every donation is greatly appreciated. Take joy in celebrating the arts, and supporting this young woman’s endeavors.

Here are some images from the night:

annie-and-tess-1 annie dancers-images-2fine-art james raffle-table

 

Pictured above:  Annie Plogman and Tess Mosko Scherer, event coordinator Annie Plogman, A display of photos of students from the Dance Program, students’ artwork, James Majors, raffle table.

Congratulations, Annie on a successful event!

Tess Mosko Scherer
President, Arizona Artists Guild

 

 

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Fine Art Fiesta was a hit!

Tess Mosko Scherer Zentangling

Tess Mosko Scherer Zentangling

The Fine Arts Fiesta on October 21 was a huge success.  It was great to spend time with members and their spouses that I had not met before or rarely get to visit with.  This was a great opportunity for them to participate in a guild event.  It was so much fun to spend time making art, learning new techniques and learning more about one another through the process.

I always say ‘it takes a village’ and it was so great to see our village in action.  Linda Thiel, Darlene Ritter and Alice Pelchat set the jovial tone at the admissions desk.  From there David Bradley, assisted by Doug Hebert, led the raku firing event.  David outdid himself this year.  He made piggy banks, pig critters, birds and vessels that were glazed and fired.  Usually ceramic firings take from 12 to 24 hours, however with raku, it takes about 20 minutes.  But behind the scenes, the pieces had to be made and bisque fired in preparation for the event.  A huge thank you to David for the generous donation of his time and resources.  Additionally, David donated ceramic vessels and bowls that were sold with the proceeds going to the guild.

Inside was abuzz with activities including Zentangling with the Phoenix Tanglers led by Suzanne O’Malley.  Suzanne has been studying this art form and is in the process of gaining her certification.  Art Smith and I enjoyed visiting with Suzanne and her co-host Diana learning the art of the tangle.

Anne Osgood, Amy DeCaussin, Gerard Guarino and Wendy Raisanen - banner painters extraordinaire!!

Anne Osgood, Amy DeCaussin, Gerard Guarino and Wendy Raisanen – banner painters extraordinaire!!

Laughter reverberated through the room as the night wore on and people were experimenting with alcohol ink, stamping and watercolor, with Linda Schooley, Lynda Burruss and Sue Hunter respectively.  Amy DeCaussin, wife of scholarship recipient, Cam DeCaussin, led banner painting on banners generously donated by the Shemer Art Center and Museum.  Designed by Laura Cohen Hogan and Ann Osgood, the banners will hang on the north side of the building.  I can’t wait to see them hung! They are fabulous!

Thank goodness for Ivan Halvorson who photographed the evening. He even managed to get a good shot of me, which is no easy feat!

No AAG event would be complete without a smorgasbord of delights.  There was so much food there, I can’t even remember it all.  Highlights include pulled pork, curried chicken, potato salad, coleslaw, kale salad, amazing brownies and more.  Thank you to Alicia Plogman, Joan McGue and Alice Pelchat for manning the kitchen.  You do so much more.  The kitchen is the heart of the home, and your efforts make it the heart and hearth for AAG.  Thank you for infusing your warmth and generous spirits to our table.

The proceeds from the night will benefit AAG programs including scholarship and outreach programs which positively impacts the lives of those we serve. Click here to see images from the night.  

Tess Mosko Scherer,
President, Arizona Artists Guild

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