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Arizona art museums offer escape from the desert

Belen+Santistevan+%2718+looks+at+one+of+Frida+Kahlo%27s+self-portraits+on+display+in+the+Heard+Museum+in+Phoenix%2C+Ariz.+on+Friday%2C+May+19%2C+2017.
Belen Santistevan '18 looks at one of Frida Kahlo's self-portraits on display in the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Ariz. on Friday, May 19, 2017.

Belen Santistevan '18 looks at one of Frida Kahlo's self-portraits on display in the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Ariz. on Friday, May 19, 2017.

Jessica Roy

Jessica Roy

Belen Santistevan '18 looks at one of Frida Kahlo's self-portraits on display in the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Ariz. on Friday, May 19, 2017.

Abbey Alexander, Arts & Entertainment Editor

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As the summer winds down, August finds its way into September, and the Phoenix temperatures continue to sit at a steady 105, 108, 110 degrees, the whole valley itches for something – anything – to do, as long as it involves air conditioning. They flee to movie theatres, or the mall, drinking cold brews and smoothies to beat the heat.

But as the new school year starts, why not switch it up and try something different?

Phoenicians often forget that although a desert surrounds them, so does a city; filled with lively activities, fascinating night life, performances of all kinds and art. More specifically, art museums.

Today XPress is looking at three art museums in the Valley, perfect for those days where you’re itching for an artistic adventure.

First up is possibly the most well-known among Arizonans. The Phoenix Art Museum has been providing the valley with creative and inspiring art since 1959. While their exhibits are constantly changing, each time being replaced with something equally exciting and interesting, the museum does have consistent pieces that have become somewhat of a symbol for the Downtown Phoenix establishment. Chances are, at least one person that you follow on Instagram has a photo of them standing in front of various well-known pieces hung on the walls of the museum. That’s what makes the Phoenix Art Museum so iconic and prominent in the Arizona art community.

Upcoming and current exhibitions include “A Tribute to James Galanos,” which is, as stated in the name, a tribute to the fashion designer, showcasing some of his most well-known looks. Starting Sept. 9, the “Alexander Calder: An Outburst of Color” exhibit will present a collection of colorful prints by Calder, which have never been showcased to the public. The museum is located at 1625 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004. To find information on upcoming exhibits and more, visit http://www.phxart.org.

Next is the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMOCA). This one has gained popularity recently for their current exhibition; “Ocean of Light: Submergence – A Squidsoup Project.” The exhibit is essentially a room of hanging lights and Arizonans are going crazy for it. If you haven’t found your way to SMOCA yet, don’t fear. The Ocean of Light exhibition is there until Sept. 24, and beyond that, they have several other attractions that are well worth a trip. Conceptual photography, colorful murals and contemporary design are all aspects of the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. SMOCA is located at 7374 E 2nd St, Scottsdale, AZ 85251. Visit https://smoca.org/visit/ for more information on the creative space.

Last but certainly not least, the Heard Museum. Located at 2301 North Central Avenue

Phoenix, AZ 85004, the Heard has been home to the iconic Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera exhibit for the last few months. Drawing in visitors from all over the state, the Frida exhibit has certainly made an impact on the museum. Aside from the art of Kahlo and Rivera, the Heard also showcases art of all other kinds, many of which celebrate Native American culture and Southwestern style. Luckily for all those who haven’t yet gotten the chance to look at the Frida exhibit, the Heard recently extended its stay until Sept. 4. Beyond that, though, fascinating exhibits are shown all year long. For more information, visit http://heard.org.

Those are the top three picks for art museums in the Valley. Make sure to stop into one of these incredible establishments the next time you are in need of a little inspiration, a fun weekend activity or just an excuse to wander around a cool space for a couple of hours.

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Arizona art museums offer escape from the desert