AZ Creative Communities Institute (AZCCI) recently named Tempe as one of the first funding recipients for a new initiative exploring how creativity can positively impact communities.
Tempe was one of nine statewide municipalities chosen from 22 applicants. Each selected locale will form a team of community organizers, business stakeholders and local leaders who will network with experts and colleagues in neighboring jurisdictions as they collaborate for 12 months in an active learning structure, according to an announcement.
Tempe’s team includes Maja Aurora, who serves as director of arts engagement at the city of Tempe; Gayle Shanks, co-founder of Changing Hands Bookstore; Maggie Fountain, Tempe Union High School District staff member; and Aaron Thacker, Tempe Arts and Culture Commission member.
"This is an exciting time for south Tempe residents as we explore future arts programming options," Aurora said in the announcement. "We've heard from residents in the area that the arts are important to them. We're thrilled for this opportunity to collaborate."
Partnering organizations include Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts (HIDA), Southwest Folklife Alliance (SFA) and the Arizona Commission on the Arts.
Organizing officials said that the number of applicants was double what they expected.
“We knew there was an appetite for putting creativity to work in Arizona communities, but did not know how strong an appetite it was,” Arts Commission Deputy Director Jaime Dempsey said. “[We] could not be more excited by the depth of knowledge, breadth of experience, and diversity of perspective represented in the selected teams.”