A week and a half. That’s all that’s left before our drop-dead deadline for the Arizona Attorney Magazine Creative Arts Competition. That’s our annual endeavor we’ve been doing for almost 15 years now. And we need your submissions sent to the contest email by the end of Friday, January 13, 2017. You can see one of our great call-for-submissions ads below.

arts-competition-ad-2017

We welcome entries in the following categories:

  • Fiction
  • Nonfiction
  • Poetry
  • Humor
  • Music
  • Visual Arts: Painting, Photography, Drawing, Sculpture

We will publish the winners in Spring 2017.

Send submissions to ArtsContest@azbar.org and queries to the editor at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

And do you like reading rules? We’ve got ’em; click here.

For inspiration, here is last year’s issue with the 2016 winners.

Remember: The submission deadline is January 13, 2017.

The Creative Arts Competition deadline approaches!

Think creative life, think Iggy Pop. Iggy Pop in May 2016 Arizona Attorney Magazine-page0001

Think creative life, think Iggy Pop.

Before we exit May, I share with you my editor’s letter from that issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine. It referred to the incredible lawyer–artists who populate the issue’s pages, comprising our annual Creative Arts Competition (See the whole issue here). What do you think of this year’s amazing artists? And what role do artistic interests play in your own life? Write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

In Chicago back in the late ‘80s, I had a friend who attended an Iggy Pop concert. Through strategy and sharp elbows, she managed to reach the front ranks of the pulsating crowd and stand—OK, quake with joy—right next to the stage. During the show, she reports, Iggy knelt down and licked her palm. Because Iggy.

She claimed she would never again wash that hand. In the office, she would hold out the sacred appendage, aimed skyward for all to see, the invisible stigmata transporting her to new heights.

What makes someone set aside good sense and hygiene for its colorful opposite, I wondered? What neurons does Iggy Pop make pop in people’s brains?

May_2016 Arizona Attorney Magazine coverI was reminded of that graphic story of palm-love as we prepared this issue—and as I read a magazine (of course) published by American Airlines. “American Way” is beautiful (even if it has a vaguely unsettling title). But its beauty is more than skin-deep, for within the current issue is a Q&A with two rock stars, one of whom is the craggy, talented, and ever-punkish Iggy.

He was spreading the word about a musical collaboration with Josh Homme, founder of Queens of the Stone Age. And as impressive as Iggy Pop may be, I was struck by one of Homme’s insights:

“I’ve always loved infiltration. To me, that’s what punk rock has always been about: going where you don’t belong without anyone noticing until it’s too late. … It’s a pleasure to wander in this historic place, set up shop and say, ‘The elegant scumbags are in town.’ It feels good sometimes to be the most rogue person there.”

Infiltration. That may be what Pop’s got popping.

When Homme spoke of a “historic place,” he did not mean Arizona Attorney Magazine, though he could have. Like Detroit’s Fox Theatre, where the two musicians played, AzAt has great bones, sharp looks, and a storied past. But infiltration is not our usual fare.

Except in May. In May we open the doors—main stage and balcony—to creative talents who showcase their art and—more important—the rogue portions of their brains. They rattle the chandeliers and kick over some furniture. Occasionally, a guitar is smashed.

I hope you share my pleasure at the thrill of artists in full concert. Congratulations and thanks to all those who submitted and all those who prevailed in our annual competition. They truly are all winners—brave infiltrators who are conversant with the rogue.

Come on in, find a spot. Reach toward the stage, for the house lights are dimming

Rock on, Iggy.

iggy Pop, "I Wanna Be Your Dog," 1979.

iggy Pop, “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” 1979.

Arizona Attorney Magazine, December 2015 arts and education

Arizona Attorney Magazine, December 2015

How is Arizona doing in the realm of education? And what role can—and should—arts play in the complete development of the human mind?

Those were a few of the questions that drove us toward our December cover story for Arizona Attorney Magazine. Yes, Arizona is consistently ranked poorly in national assessments of education. Given our longtime commitment to arts at the magazine, we wondered what our lawyer-artists would think of the topic.

That’s what took our writer, Oriana Parker, into fascinating conversations with numerous Arizona lawyers. The result, I think, is an insightful and highly readable piece that speaks to modern public policy issues.

You can read the whole story here. And thank you to those lawyers who gave of their time and talents to share their thoughts.

What did you think of the topic—and our coverage? And how should we be covering important policy dialogues in the future? Write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

Arts and education Dec 2015 Arizona Attorney opening spread-page0001 combined Arizona Attorney Magazine

Our 2015 arts competition winners, on the cover of the May 2015 Arizona Attorney Magazine

Our 2015 arts competition winners, on the cover of the May 2015 Arizona Attorney Magazine

I can hardly believe it’s late September. And around here, that means art.

Well, art prep, anyway.

If you scour your September Arizona Attorney Magazine, which you may be about to receive, you may spot our kickoff ad for the arts competition. It’s more of a save-the-date, as submissions can be made beginning November 2.

The arts competition kickoff print ad in the September issue.

The arts competition kickoff print ad in the September issue.

We figure, you can’t give artists too much time to start their creative engines running.

But maybe they shouldn’t rev TOO high, at least in one category.

What I mean is, for the first time ever, the editorial board has asked those submitting in the Photography category to limit their submissions to 15 images.

We decided not to do that in other categories. But in a field where digital photography has made pressing the shutter button easier, we were being inundated by huge numbers of images.

Take it from an editor: Editing yourself can be a good thing.

In case you have a spare 10 minutes, all of our arts competition rules are here.

And between now and November, please urge your creative colleagues to consider submitting to our competition, which has been around for more than a decade.

To see last year’s winners, go here.

That's the Institute of Contemporary Art (Boston) to you and me.

That’s the Institute of Contemporary Art (Boston) to you and me.

In late March, I attended a conference at ASU that focused on the value of prison education—a topic easy to overlook, even in a high-incarceration society. (I previewed the event here.)

The conference was terrific, and you may still be able to see tweets by me and others by looking for @PEAC_ASU and the hashtag #PEC15. And as long as you’re online, be sure to follow ASU’s Prison Education Awareness Club.

The topic of education for correctional inmates is pretty specific, one that I would think does not recur in my life too often. But a recent trip to Boston threw the issue in stark relief again.

As I strolled through the Institute of Contemporary Art in that city, I was pleased to see so many compelling and provocative pieces. It is worth a stop—the longer the better—if you get the chance.

This is the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. Yes, it’s as cool as it looks. Yes, you want to visit.

This is the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. Yes, it’s as cool as it looks. Yes, you want to visit.

One particularly striking exhibition (sorry, it closes May 10) was called “When the Stars Begin to Fall.” The ICA describes it here:

“When the Stars Begin to Fall gathers 35 artists of different generations who share an interest in the American South as both a real and fabled place. Key to the exhibition is the relationship between contemporary art, black life, and ‘outsider’ art, a historically fraught category typically encompassing artists who have not received formal art training and who may have been marginalized in society. When the Stars Begin to Fall includes artworks by self-taught, spiritually inspired, and incarcerated artists alongside projects by prominent contemporary artists such as Kara Walker, Carrie Mae Weems, Kerry James Marshall, David Hammons, and Theaster Gates. It presents diverse artworks—from drawing and painting to performance, sculpture, and assemblage—unified by an insistent reference to place.”

Read more about the exhibition here.

The entire show was amazing, but I was especially struck by the work of the incarcerated artists. (That may not be a surprise, given the number of times I’ve covered corrections issues before. For instance, here is my review of the film Herman’s House, about former Louisiana inmate Herman Wallace, whom I’ve written about numerous times.)

It may be more than a coincidence that some of our most evocative art arises from people in adverse conditions. And a few artists represented in Boston cause viewers to stop and consider what we value and how fragile our sense of normalcy is.

Causing me to pause was the work of Frank Albert Jones. As I gleaned from the museum-curated detail: The artist created the drawings with colored pencils he salvaged from the accounting office of the Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville, where Jones was an inmate at the end of his life. The pieces on display were from the late 1960s, soon before Jones’s death.

Here are photos of his pieces on display:

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Also compelling were pieces by Henry Ray Clark, as described by the museum:

“Conjuring alternate realities, Clark creates drawings populated with figures that appear to be from another planet. He builds his compositions by repeating geometric shapes to form patterns and elaborate borders around central subjects. As Clark’s titles imply, his works express feelings of isolation while humorously suggesting possible places where people can exist with their multiple identities.”

Clark also was in the Texas Penitentiary. Upon release, he got involved in Houston’s artist community and participated in community-based organization Project Row Houses. Here is some of Clark’s work:

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The work by Jones and Clark was noteworthy, but I also was struck by the artists who had never been incarcerated but whose work complements and comments on a society heavy on incarceration. Like the dedicated students in the Prison Education Awareness Club, these artists feel that prisons say a lot about us and that they have lessons to tell—about those within the walls and those without.

Among those intriguing people were video artists Kara Walker (and her video titled 8 Possible Beginnings; or the Creation of African-America, A Moving Picture by Kara E. Walker) and Lauren Kelley (and her video titled Unbleached Objects).

Kelley’s work (photo below) communicated consciously with the pieces by Frank Albert Jones on a facing wall. As the museum explained:

“Kelley’s series of videos on view are inspired by the blue and red drawings of Frank albert Jones featured in this gallery. To create these animated drawings, Kelley sourced images of miscellaneous goods on Etsy, an online marketplace for arts, crafts, and vintage items. She envisions these as ‘portraits of the playful spirits captured in the spaces Jones ornately rendered.’ The objects sourced from the free market of the internet contrast sharply with Jones’s reality as a prisoner … but they make reference to the types of mass-produced goods currently made by incarcerated individuals for large corporations.”

Prison arts Boston Unbleached Objects by Lauren Kelley_opt

Unbleached Objects by Lauren Kelley

Here are a few of the inmate-created works displayed at the March ASU conference, as described by Kyes Stevens from the Alabama Prison Arts and Education Project (click to enlarge):

And here are photos from the packed-to-the-gills room as PEAC president Jessica Fletcher opened the conference (click the photos to enlarge):

Given the wall-and-wire chasm that lies between millions of inmates and the society that imprisons them, art may be a necessary bridge. Based on the conference message, art can play a powerful role in humanizing a dehumanizing situation. And based on my visit to Boston, it can play a similarly powerful role in reminding us all of the need to remain fully human, even as we dole out justice and retribution.

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The May issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine will feature the remarkable work of lawyer-artists who prevailed in our annual arts competition. Congratulations to all of those attorneys.

As always, we have some winners whose work is not easily re-created in magazine pages. Those winners in our Music category this year are Matthew Feeney and Larry Winthrop.

Matt Feeney

Matt Feeney

Larry Winthrop

Larry Winthrop

You may already know them, but here is how they describe themselves:

Matt Feeney and Larry Winthrop have been musical partners for nearly 30 years. Matt is a senior partner at Snell & Wilmer, and Larry is a state appellate court judge. Together with the other members of feeney/winthrop (Pat Winthrop, Kathleen Feeney, and Gerry Garcia), they have recorded several CDs, with the last two (“Give Yourself to Love” and “Simple Gifts”) now available on iTunes and Amazon.com. The group’s annual fund-raising concerts have to date raised in excess of $100,000 for St. Joseph the Worker, a non-profit organization devoted to job training for the homeless. “The Reunion” is a song Matt wrote after attending a wedding with college friends some years after graduation.

Finally, here is what you came here for. Matt Feeney, Larry Winthrop and feeney/winthrop perform their original song “The Reunion.”