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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Tap into Tucson art

    Rebecca Marie Sasnett
    Rebecca Marie Sasnett / The Daily Wildcat Joe Brown, sculptor, sands down his piece “Flow” at his Metal Arts Village studio Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013. “Flow” is part of the Tucson Museum of Art’s Art on Tap.

    An event this weekend aims to merge the best of southern Arizona’s art and beer in what organizers hope to be an annual showcase of Tucson’s own artists and breweries.

    On Saturday, the first ART on TAP event will feature tastings of locally brewed beer, a showcase of local art, food trucks and live music entertainment at the Tucson Museum of Art.

    Meagan Crain, the museum’s special events and membership manager, said that the venue has coordinated with Craft Tucson, a local brewery-support organization founded by Austin Santos, co-owner of 1702 Pizza & Beer, to unite the local artists and breweries in an evening of community celebration.

    Crain said that each of the 16 participating breweries will provide two samples of their finely brewed beers. Breweries include Dragoon Brewing Co., Four Peaks Brewing Co., Thunder Canyon Brewery and Barrio Brewing Co. Art on Tap will also include 50 local artists who will bring more than 130 works of art in an array of mediums, for sale and display.

    Although general admission for the event runs around $50, the cost for UA students is only $30, which will allow attendees to enjoy 20 samples from any of the breweries at the event.

    Proceeds from the tickets, which can be purchased directly from the museum’s website, will go to keeping the museum’s doors open while supporting local artists and breweries in the community.

    Food trucks, including Hellfire Pizza Co. and Serial Grillers, will also be in the parking lot of the museum to accompany beer sampling and satiate hunger while participants view the artwork and listen to music.

    Carlos Arzate & the Kind Souls, Saint Maybe and Andy Depew from Satyr Entertainment will provide live music throughout the evening to support a relaxing and upbeat atmosphere.

    Featured artists include Joe Brown, Graham Thompson, Jim Jones, Hope Jones and the Sonoran Glass Academy, with four participatory artworks that provide an interactive experience for the evening.

    Thompson, a general studies senior at the UA, will have his own piece available for public painting, and has been working with the museum over the past six months to prepare the event.

    “We’ve been working steadily on this,” Thompson said. “I’m excited to see it in action, and it’s crazy to me to think that six months of work can be reduced to a period of four hours.”

    Thompson’s participatory art creation, which will be painted and finished by the public, is a 6-by-3-and-a-half-foot black frame stencil cutout named “Crossroads.” He said it is designed to symbolize the beginning of his life as an artist and soon-to-be college graduate.

    “Even the piece itself could be considered at a crossroads because it’s not complete until everyone else completes it,” Thompson said. “That kept showing up when I was doing it.”

    A steel frame will support the oversized stencil, where surrounding buckets of paint will be available for people to finish the artwork however they desire.

    Thompson said that the white portion of the cutout will then be peeled away from the black to reveal the final work, and he has no idea what the end product will look like.

    As a former employee at 1702, Thompson added that he is most excited to see the progression of beer and art that will be supported by ART on TAP and views the present as an evolving period in time for both.

    “I think that craft beer right now is kind of hip; it’s vogue,” Thompson said. “From what I’ve seen, there’s sort of a renaissance going on with beer, and I think there is a renaissance going on with art as well.”

    Another artist presenting an interactive piece is Joe Brown, a 2010 UA fine arts graduate who works in illustration, design and stone sculpting.

    Brown said he will bring one of his closely completed stone sculptures to the event, where he will finish the job while encouraging participants to engage in the medium by demonstrating the challenging techniques of stone sculpting.

    Although his artistic style is detailed and technical, Brown said stone sculpting has an aspect to it that does not confine his artistic flow. Brown said that the first step in stone sculpting is to find a reliable boulder to work with.

    “You have to look at a boulder and what the boulder can do,” he said. “You can’t tell it to do a design; you have to ask it because it could just fall apart.”

    Brown said that he enjoys focusing on more delicate and ethereal sculpting. He will work on the wet-sanding aspect of the sculpture during ART on TAP to demonstrate the delicate processes of the medium — encouraging spectators to get a hands-on experience with the unfamiliar medium.

    “People aren’t exposed to stone sculpture that much; that’s one other reason I like doing it,” Brown said. “I want people to try it.”

    Brown said that he is hopeful for more appearances of contemporary art in the community, and he admires more artists who are gearing their work toward critical thinking and turning away from the standards of Southwestern-style artwork.

    Brown added that he is also looking forward to the expansion of the local arts community, which is being celebrated through events such as ART on TAP.

    “Tucson needs that change because there are more young people seeing things happen here,” Brown said. “Downtown is now a cool place; we can build up rather than out.”

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