In addition to the many art shows taking place in the Apache Junction/Gold Canyon area this fall and spring - evtnow.com/48i - other circumstances are conjoining to set the area up as a major arts center in Arizona for years to come.
The Superstition Arts & Cultural Alliance (SACA) (http://www.sacaaj.com/) is a 501(3)c non-profit organization, based in Apache Junction, whose charter is to advocate for Superstition Area art and artists. SACA has joined forces with the AJ City Council to procure public art for the median on Apache Trail, and sponsors numerous fundraisers to benefit the arts program of the Apache Junction Boys and Girls Club. They have recently inaugurated a new "Superstitions Artist of the Month" program, in which they recognize a different Superstition area artist every month, and are working with the AJ junior high and high schools to develop an "Artists of the Month" program to honor art students. They have also partnered with the AJ City Council to host a juried art show in November as part of the annual Festival of the Superstitions (http://festivalofthesuperstitions.com/) in downtown Apache Junction. SACA has begun discussions with Mountain Health and Wellness Center in Apache Junction about the idea of staging a series of theme-related art shows in the center's new park.
The Gold Canyon Arts Council (GCAC) (http://www.gcac1.com/), in addition to hosting a well-received art show every January, sponsors a series of performing arts events every season. They also sponsor a recognition program for art students in the AJ/Gold Canyon area.
Artists of the Superstitions (AOTS) (http://www.artistsofthesuperstitions.com/), which boasts a membership of more than 60 local artists, hosts the annual studio artists tour and several quality art events every year. They also sponsor a scholarship program for art students from the area who attend the AJ campus of Central Arizona College.
Superstition Mountain Museum (http://superstitionmountainmuseum.org/) hosts a series of pure art events in the fall and spring as well as other cultural events that include artists selling their art.
Mountain Heath and Wellness Center (http://www.mhwaz.org/) in Apache Junction is striving to add an arts component to its health and wellness program.
Focal Point and Tourism Group is a non-political group of interested citizens who are interested in promoting tourism in Apache Junction and is one of the driving forces behind the move to procure public art for AJ's main downtown thoroughfare. If you have seen the bronze sculpture of the prospector and his mule at AJ City Hall, you can thank this group for its efforts to procure the work of art from its private owners.
Dreams and Legends Gallery (http://www.dreamsandlegendsart.com/), located at 2260 N. Apache Trail / Highway 88 in Apache Junction, is a compact little art gallery that features work by local artists. The owner, Ernest Imbeau, sponsors several programs to encourage the love of art in AJ's public school students, and has partnered with SACA to sponsor the Artist of the Month program. He has donated a wall space on which each month's featured artist can display their work for sale. Dreams and Legends also hosts numerous art events during the tourist season at which local artists and artisans can offer their work to the public.
Joel Coplin and Jo-Ann Lowney operate East Side Art & ESA Gallery (http://www.eastsideart.org/), an historic artist community that includes a multi-purpose studio, gallery and art supply store and guest artist studios. East Side also offers a full range of art classes for novice and experienced artists alike.
All of these create the foundation for a vibrant art community located in the shadow of the majestic Superstition Mountains. The next time you want to find some awesome art for your home or collection, explore the opportunities the Apache Junction/Gold Canyon area have to offer.
Jeffrey Danford is an Apache Junction artist whose work can be seen at PawPrintArtists.com. Reach Jeff at (480) 292-0815.