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Phoenix Arts and Culture Commission to Mark Its 30th Anniversary With Panel Discussion Featuring Arts and Culture LeadersPhoenix Arts and Culture Commission to Mark Its 30th Anniversary With Panel Discussion Featuring Arts and Culture Leaders<div class="ExternalClass4B7BA6D5676A4AB89FDA5EAD7BED4CF0"><p>The Phoenix Arts and Culture Commission will mark its 30th anniversary Friday, April 17, with a panel discussion on the growth of the Phoenix cultural sector featuring city leaders and key figures in the history of the Commission and Office of Arts and Culture.  </p><p>“Phoenix Arts and Culture @ 30: A Conversation,” which will be held from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Phoenix Arts Museum, 1625 N Central Ave., will include Mayor Greg Stanton, former Mayor Terry Goddard, arts leader James K. Ballinger and Black Theatre Troupe Executive Director David Hemphill. They will be joined by former commissioner F. William Sheppard, first executive director of the Office of Arts and Culture Deborah Whitehurst, first public art director Gretchen Freeman and current public art director Ed Lebow.  </p><p>The panel discussion will be moderated by Alberto Rios, Poet Laureate for the State of Arizona.   </p><p>The Commission was established in 1985 by the Mayor and City Council. The City ordinance creating the Phoenix Arts Commission (later renamed the Phoenix Arts and Culture Commission) was unanimously accepted by Mayor Goddard and City Council on April 16, 1985.  The ordinance called for the Commission to “protect, enhance, serve, and advocate excellence in the arts for the people of Phoenix in their City.”  For the past 30 years, the Commission has been setting priorities for and planning the development and improvement of cultural activities in Phoenix. </p><p>Since 1985, Phoenix has experienced an exciting proliferation of arts and culture activity, supported in part through three major bond initiatives (dating back to 1989). The Phoenix Public Art Program, guided by a Public Art Master Plan, which was created in 1988 and updated in 2006, has collaborated with artists and designers to create more than 170 major public art projects throughout the city. The expansion and creation of cultural facilities such as the Phoenix Art Museum, Herberger Theatre, Orpheum Theatre, Children’s Museum, Arizona Science Center, Valley Youth Theatre, Phoenix Theatre, Symphony Hall, Ballet Arizona, Arizona Opera, Indian School Memorial Hall, Carver Museum, and Black Theatre Troupe have dramatically changed the cultural landscape of Phoenix. A 30-year investment in a community grants program has nurtured the development of non-profit arts and culture organizations, which now number over 150 within the Phoenix city limits, and supported delivery of cultural services to Phoenix residents in the form of community outreach and arts learning programming.  The non-profit arts and culture sector has become a $300 million economic driver for the City of Phoenix.</p><p>“Phoenix Arts and Culture at 30: A Conversation,” sponsored by the Phoenix Arts and Culture Commission, Phoenix Art Museum, and the Phoenix Center for the Arts, takes place in the Whiteman Lecture Hall and will be followed by a dessert reception in the Cummings Great Hall. </p><p>Brief bios of participants:</p><p>Mayor Greg Stanton was elected Mayor of Phoenix in 2011, after having served nine years on the City Council.  Throughout his time in office he has been a consistent advocate for the growth of arts and culture in the City of Phoenix.</p><p>Terry Goddard served as the Mayor of Phoenix from 1984 to 1990. In 1984 he appointed the Ad Hoc Advisory Committee on the Arts which led to the creation of the Phoenix Arts Commission in 1985. Goddard represented the State as the 24th Attorney General of Arizona from 2003 to 2011.</p><p>James K. Ballinger recently retired from the Phoenix Art Museum where he was director for 33 years (having joined the museum as Curator of Collections in 1974). He served as Treasurer for the last two City Phoenix Bond programs and points to the first bond election in the 1980s as a milestone launching point for the Phoenix Art Museum’s growth.</p><p>David Hemphill is Executive Director of the Black Theatre Troupe, which has been providing opportunities for multi-ethnic and underserved artists since 1970.  In 2013 Black Theatre Troupe moved into their new home, the Helen K. Mason Performing Arts Center, where the company has been able to expand its outreach programming.</p><p>F. William Sheppard, served on the Phoenix Arts and Culture Commission from 1995-2001.He was also a member of the Arizona Theatre Company Board of Trustees from 1986-1997 and from 1999-2005 and a board member of the Arizona Citizen for the Arts from 2002-2010. </p><p>Deborah Whitehurst was involved with the Ad Hoc Advisory Committee on the Arts and became the founding Executive Director of the Phoenix Arts Commission. Under her leadership the percent for art ordinance for public art, community grant funding, and arts education programs were initiated.</p><p>Gretchen Freeman served as the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture’s first Public Art Program Director.  She helped to establish the program’s national renown for involving artists in the design of city infrastructure.  She oversaw the development of numerous award-winning public art projects.</p><p>Ed Lebow has directed the Phoenix Public Art Program since 2005 (and served as a Public Art Project Manager from 1989-1996).  Under his leadership, the program developed a GIS mapping system to better see how art can benefit the city’s investments in infrastructure and urban design.</p><p>For more information about the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture, visit <a href="/arts" target="_blank">phoenix.gov/arts</a>, call 602-262-4637 or TTY 602-534-5500, or follow the Office of Arts and Culture on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/phxofficeofartsandculture" target="_blank">Facebook </a>or Twitter at <a href="https://twitter.com/phxarts_culture" target="_blank">@phxarts_culture</a>.</p></div>3/20/2015 3:00:00 PMMonica Hernandez602-262-6180