Surprise, Peoria stage arts events to usher in the holidays

For many families, the holiday season isn’t complete unless they attend a live performance or arts event. Fortunately, West Valley arts groups have you covered. Here are a few to get you in the spirit. 

Give a unique gift

West Valley residents and others can shop for the holidays and give back to the community on on the first weekend in December, when WHAM (What’s Happen’n Art Movement), a nonprofit arts organization located in Surprise, hosts two events: The fifth annual “Bowls of Hope” and “Find It – Fix It – Flip It.” 

WHAM clay artists have partnered with Sun City Grand Clay Club member to produce several hundred hand-crafted and wheel-thrown bowls to choose from. For a $12 donation, holiday shoppers can choose from many bowls, all glazed and food-safe. This year, the “Bowls of Hope” proceeds will benefit Valley Vista Food Bank, St. Mary’s Food Bank, Eves Place, Street Lights, Homeless Youth Connection and a women’s veterans homeless shelter.

The accompanying event, “Find It – Fix It – Flip It,” may inspire attendees to view furniture at garage sales, thrift stores or even in your own home with a more appreciative eye. Perhaps even think about creating your own one-of-a-kind treasure. Pieces in the exhibit are ordinary furniture pieces repurposed as art. Proceeds from the sale of items also will benefit local charities. 

Awards will be made in the following categories: “Oregon-ize” Design, “Out There” Design, “Odd Couples” Design and “Entertain Me” Design. A number of these unique creations will be for sale to raise funds for the WHAM Art Center to support their many community-provided art experiences. Items not sold that day will be taken home by the creators; however, images of items are for sale will be on WHAM’s website for a month.

“The TV show ‘Flea Market Flip’ sparked the basic idea for this event,” said Connie Whitlock, WHAM’S executive director. “Approaching recycling in this manner can add some fun to your life and even give you the opportunity to exercise some creativity.”

WHAM volunteer Wayne Frodel certainly gave his “Out There'” design creation a humorous spin. He found an old Samsonite suitcase, put legs on it to create a table and finished it off by installing a pole lamp. 

Details: Both events are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1. WHAM is located at 16560 N. Dysart Road, Surprise. Free. 623-584-8311 and www.wham-art.org.

Something for the family 

Elves play major roles at Theaterworks’ holiday presentations. The musical, “Elf, Jr.,” running Nov. 9-18 and based on the Will Ferrell movie, focuses on Buddy, a young orphan who crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported to the North Pole. The would-be elf isn’t aware of being a human until his enormous size coupled with poor toy-making skills force him to face the truth. Buddy’s attempts to find his family in New York City leads to laughs as well as remembering the true meaning of Christmas.

Another Theaterworks production features puppetry.

Well-meaning but lacking experience, new elves in training end up destroying Santa’s toy-making machine. Frantically searching for supersonic ice crystals to save the day, they encounter a not-so-scary Abominable Snow Man and have a strange adventure in the candy cane forest. Presented Dec. 15-22, “Saving Santa” is performed in a black-light style.

“It’s like watching a living cartoon,” said director Brianna Funk. A post-show tutorial, a brief overview of puppetry manipulation and the chance for audience members to make their own puppets to take home is included with every performance.

Details: Theaterworks is at the Peoria Center for Performing Arts, 10580 N. 83rd Drive. $16 for “Elf, Jr,” $8 for “Saving Santa.” Senior, youth, student and group discounts available. For performance times and to purchase, call the box office at 623-815-7930. http://theaterworks.org. 

Artistically rewarding 

Highlights of holiday events offered by West Valley Arts include the Roster Artists Exhibit staged Nov. 29-Jan. 11. A reception will be held from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 29. This show will feature art ranging from photography to paintings, sculpture to installation pieces, digital work to interactive art. Selected works will be offered for sale. 

This organization is supported by the Arizona Commission on the Arts with funding from the state of Arizona and the National Endowment for the Arts. 

“Women in Song” will feature holiday favorites sung by members of the Promusica Arizona Chorale. This organization is supported by the Arizona Commission on the Arts with funding from the state of Arizona and the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Details: Both events will be staged at The Arts HQ, 16126 N. Civic Center Plaza, Surprise. $11.95 for concert. Exhibit and reception free. To order tickets for the concert, contact westvalleyarts.org or call 623-584-2626.

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