State of the Arts Arizona

Local arts and culture groups entertain us, connect our communities, and help attract new businesses and residents to Arizona. Nonprofit arts organizations were in a precarious situation before the virus altered our world. Now, they are adapting to new methods of providing services while trying to remain relevant. State of the Arts Arizona focuses on how arts nonprofits are connecting with us no matter what the circumstances. This podcast series is supported by Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust.

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Episode 1: Arts off Pointe

Mural in downtown Phoenix

Even in the best of times, arts organizations sometimes struggled to stay afloat, despite their significant economic and cultural impact. The upheaval of 2020 has forced them to adapt to a world where revenue is even less stable than before, and even their most basic mission could be unsafe. Leaders of some major local arts nonprofits share their insights on the state of the arts in Arizona. 

Episode 2: Arts' Economic Perseverance

Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra

The arts and the economy are inextricably linked. The arts community creates 90,000 jobs and 3 percent of the state's GDP -- yet the state allocates less than one-tenth of one percent of the annual budget to the arts. As Arizona navigates a post-pandemic economic recovery, the local arts scene will inevitably play a big role in the state's future.

Episode 3: Small Venues, Big Mission

The Rebel Lounge in Phoenix

With nearly all concerts, festivals, and comedy shows canceled over the past year, the live event industry has been significantly impacted by the pandemic. And it’s been particularly tough for America’s small, independently owned venues—those like The Rebel Lounge on 24th street and Indian School. One survey in April found that 90% of these venues across America were in danger of closing. There was only one thing that could save them: unprecedented government action. 

Episode 4: A Year Without Live Performance

Trio of musicians playing in a parking lot

The pandemic has almost completely deprived us of going in-person to concerts and plays. What is still unclear is how available they will be to us once the threat of the virus subsides. Smaller theaters like the Brelby Theatre Company in Glendale and The Rogue Theatre in Tucson are scratching and clawing to survive, but even more established arts organizations, like the Arizona Theatre Company and The Phoenix Symphony, are struggling.

We hear from researchers, actors, playwrights, and theater owners about the invaluable role that performing arts play in our lives and society—and how they can promote unity at a time when our country becomes increasingly divided.

Episode 5: The Value of Art

Mesa Arts Center

What is the value of art? Is it merely a nice add-on, luxury or past-time? Or is it truly valuable and maybe essential for a thriving and healthy life and society? In the United Kingdom, research revealing the surprisingly strong link between arts participation and health outcomes has led doctors there to prescribe cultural activities as medicine. In this episode, we hear from Arizonans benefiting from the healing power of art—from veterans doing glass art to people dancing with dementia—and the researchers and advocates supporting them. Arizona may be on the precipice of an art scene breakthrough, and America on the verge of a groundbreaking union between healthcare and arts.