Shindig Photo Contest 2015

Yes, it’s that time again — plans are underway for the annual Sonoran Shindig photography contest sponsored by the Cabeza Prieta Natural History Association. This year’s show will take place March 21, in the Plaza in Ajo, AZ.

Organizers are looking for entries in 6 categories:

  • Desert Plants
  • Desert Wildlife
  • Desert Places
  • Desert Patterns
  • Desert Landscapes
  • People in the Desert

All photos must have been taken in the Sonoran Desert and previous entries are not eligible. Photos can be in color, or black and white. They must be unframed and mounted on mat board. Printed frames are not acceptable.

We want to showcase the desert, not computer programs.  That being said, even Ansel Adams used a few tricks in the dark room.   So computer enhanced photos will be accepted. Photos may not have text, dates or other data on them.

You can see previous winners here and a copy of the entry form here. So grab your camera, head out to the desert and see what you can find. 🙂

Art in Action

Many of us don’t get to see artists at work very often, if at all. If you live in or visit Ajo, however, you’ll soon have many opportunities to see artists creating new pieces — right on the street.

Mike Baker, also known as DaWolf and Lonewolf, is currently painting a large mural along Highway 85, just south of the Plaza and directly across the street from 100 Estrella Restaurant.

DaWolf’s work is familiar to many in Ajo — one of his most recent pieces of street art features a lush tropical scene with a gorilla peering out from the vegetation.

Gorilla - Mike Baker

Right now he’s developing a piece to promote the Street Art Happening that will be a cornerstone of the upcoming Community Arts Gathering March 14-18, 2015.

Street artists will convene on Ajo during this event to paint their own murals along the alley and around the big building on the south side of the Plaza. It will be an amazing undertaking.

Creating large pieces like this is a lengthy undertaking — pressure washing the walls, applying a base coat, sketching in the design and then, finally, beginning to paint.

If you have the time, it’s definitely worth a visit. Grab a coffee or a pastry at the Oasis Cafe and wander over for a firsthand look.


Bed to spare? Share with a visiting artist

Ajo is hosting its first-ever Community Arts Gathering March 14 to 18, 2015.

Many of the participating artists are coming from out of town and will need places to stay. If you have space in your home — or a place to rent for the Gathering — please contact ISDA (International Sonoran Desert Alliance) via the email address in the poster below.

If you’re interested in attending the event, registration is now open.

Homes Needed

Red Show 2015

The much anticipated Red Show opened last week on a lovely balmy evening. This is one of the favorite art shows, leading as it does into St. Valentine’s Day.

Everything in the show has red in it — from the art on the wall, to the clothing people wore to the opening, to many of the refreshments.

In addition to the artists who entered work, Ajo’s Cultural Crafts Group produced a beautiful basket of red and white cascarones, tokens of celebration throughout Mexico and the American Southwest. A fitting addition to such a festive event.

The show runs to the end of the month so there’s still time to view the works and catch the spirit of “red”!


Tucson Symphony Orchestra Returns to Ajo

Conductor George Hanson

Musical good fortune shines on Ajo this week as the TSO takes to the stage of the Dicus Auditorium on Wednesday, February 18 at 7 pm.

Sponsored by the Ajo Council for the Fine Arts and the Desert Music Club, this year’s program, titled  “S’Wonderful”, is a pops concert.

The conductor is George Hanson. He’s conducted over 100 orchestras on five continents and served as assistant to Leonard Bernstein for seven years. This year marks his 20th year with the TSO as Music Director.

Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door. Students are free. Tickets available at Chamber of Commerce, Ajo Copper News, Raven’s Nest and Shadow Ridge RV office.

If you attended last year’s concert you know what an enjoyable evening awaits. If you’ve never been before, well, what can I say! Get your tickets early and join us. 🙂


Gibson Artists At the Ajo Library

An exhibition of the latest artistic offerings from the Gibson Neighborhood Artists opens this week at the Salazar – Ajo Library in Ajo, Arizona.

A reception hosted by the Ajo Library will take place in the library from 3:00 to 4:30 Saturday, February 7, 2015.

Mark this date to attend the opening reception and have a bit of fun.  Once again guests attending the reception can participate by writing their own titles for the work presented. Participating artists will give a brief talk about their work, also answer any questions posed plus possible future artistic plans.

"Thunder Across The Land" - Faye Gustafson

Among the participating artists …

John Cooper A photographer who seeks out the old and hidden relics as subjects for his photo art. In addition to this show, John has had his work included in juried exhibits.

Lynn Cooper With pen and ink, plus watercolor Lynn is always on the hunt for the perfect subject for her exquisite renderings and is regularly juried into art shows.

Rich Davis This is an artist who covers a lot of ground. From Alaska, and Washington State to the Sonoran Desert, Rich paints it all! He works in oil and his paintings also have been included in juried shows and is represented by Confluence Gallery and Art Center in Twisp, Washington.

Rene Cloutier and Wendee Cloutier They have traveled the world photographing places that many of us may only be able to see through their camera lens. They make even the most common everyday scene look exciting. Rene and Wendee have had their work included in International Photography Exhibitions.

Claire Bistline Working in pastel, acrylic, and oils Claire pursues a variety of subject matters. This exhibition includes one of her very popular rooster series. Claire has also had work in a number of juried art shows.

Terry Gonzales He chooses oils to create his colorful desert scenes. Terry’s paintings have also been included in a number of juried art shows.

Faye Gustafson She paints all things western, including portraits in oils, and also works in the mediums of sculpture and pencil. Faye exhibits in national and regional events and is a member of Oil Painters of America.

Linda Constant Robinson Her paintings can be described as expressionistic with a distinctive style that incorporates brilliant color, subconscious elements, mysticism and distorted realism. Emotion, color and compelling compositions form the basis of her work.

Who are the Gibson Artists?

We are a group of artists defined not by anything other than our neighborhood, Gibson. During the past 6 or 7 years we would get together each November for the yearly “Open Studio” event in Ajo and afterward we always talked about what a terrific time we had together.

At some point we approached the Salazar Library to hang our work and the library wanted us to have a name for PR purposes. Since we all lived in our Gibson neighborhood it was decided to add the word ‘artists’ to become ‘Gibson Artists’.

In addition to the library exhibitions the Gibson Artists originated the first Christmas Gift Store in Ajo which continued for 3 seasons. We are just a group of friends who love art. In fact once every year or two we all gather at the home of one of the artists and enjoy delicious appetizers and talk art! What sets Gibson Artists apart from most groups is we hold no monthly meetings or keep minutes of our activities.

Sketch Class Improves Skills

Ajo artist Jacqueline Andes started a weekly sketch class to help regain skills she felt she’d lost. 

Sketch Class“This drawing is a break-through for me. All the years of teaching and driving back and forth from Phoenix to Ajo, left no time for doing my own artwork.” says Jackie.

“After retirement in 2009, I struggled with getting back in the groove. That struggle was emotionally painful, frustrating, and depressing!

“Going to sketch class has helped build a bridge back. I think the struggle has added a new dimension to my work, and I’m excited to see where that leads.”

Artists at all levels are invited to join the weekly class. Check the Calendar for dates.

Register for Community Arts Gathering

Community Arts Gathering, Ajo, AZ

Registration is now open for the first Community Arts Gathering being held in Ajo, AZ March 14 to 18, 2015.

The Community Arts Gathering is a coming together of artists diverse in culture, discipline, and practice, held at the intersection of three nations — the U.S., the Tohono O’odham Nation, and Mexico.

Artists will occupy this unique place in the Sonoran Desert as a framework for a larger national and international dialogue on socially engaged practice and community based arts. This is an opportunity for renewal, connection, sharing, and inspiration between artists working within community.

The Community Arts Gathering will offer five days of exciting performances, presentations, workshops and exhibitions of work by community artists from around the country and Mexico. 

You can register online here COMMUNITY ARTS GATHERING March 14-18, 2015 | International Sonoran Desert Alliance. You’ll also find information on participating artists, schedule of events and places to stay.

We hope you can join us for this very special event!