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St. Philip’s In The Hills is well known in the Tucson community for its diverse and dynamic music program, offering top shelf, inspirational creations within and in addition to traditional worship experiences. The success of the 20th Annual Outdoor Art Show suggests that the visual arts are following in that fine tradition!

The Outdoor Art Show, under the meticulous organization and direction of James Humphreys and his cadre of recruits (Soame Dustin, Sue and Tom Cross, Taffie Eiff, Doris King, Pam Ballingham, and Joyce Stewart), once again featured juried artists who displayed their fine arts throughout St. Philip’s campus. The displays, from woodworking to delicate jewelry, textile crafts and whimsical ceramics, delighted onlookers and buyers from morning till evening. Thirty-five volunteers, lovingly recruited by the effervescent Sue Cross, helped from dawn until dusk with set up, traffic flow, unloading and reloading artists wares. Their primary job, however was to offer what is becoming known at St Philip’s as radical hospitality — to artists and visitors. The Fine Arts Show, which has taken on different faces over the years (one or two days — with and without performing musicians), is always driven by the intent to support the St. Philip’s Youth Group Programs. Art becomes ministry when it is lovingly offered as a means and opportunity to watch future generations explore and appreciate their heritage and grow in community. The youth participation is also a huge draw to the show. They provided enthusiasm, snacks, strength and moral support to the artists and volunteers. The aroma of burgers and hot dogs drew people to their canteen where, with their adult leaders and volunteers, they raised over a thousand dollars for their program! Many thanks to Yvonne Creanga and Sara Talley for organizing the teens!

The Outdoor Art Show does indeed require months of “behind the scenes” planning and preparation, meetings, and emails. The goal is to put on a good show: but the primary goal is supporting St Philip’s reputation of being a place filled with hospitality and acceptance, a place where all are welcomed and encouraged to “find refreshment in a contemplative environment that invites spiritual and creative growth.” Art become ministry when we create an interest and desire for people to return to the campus for other activities, connection, and community.

jewelry class display

St. Philip’s Silver Jewelry Class members

Featured in the show this year were St. Philip’s pottery and jewelry and metalsmithing programs. Staffed by the students and instructors Pam Ballingham and Doris King, they offered a glimpse into the joy of creating with heart and hands and the fellowship and friendships that emerge in the classes. The talented and dynamic trio of Ballingham, King, and our resident artist Taffie Eiff, jewelry designer, were responsible for so many of the show’s details, including the jury process and the idea to feature awards for Best in Show and Best Booth Display. Winners were celebrated and recognized at the show and have “bragging rights” until the 21st Annual Outdoor Art Show!

Best in Show winners included Linda Valder, first place; Barbara and Ken Newman, second place; and Robin Chlad, third place. Best Booth Display was awarded to Silky Hut by Busarian Kittichareonsup.

Linda Valder was awarded Best in Show

As the planning committee anxiously awaits feedback from the 65 participating artists, we celebrate success with a generous contributions to the Youth Group programs and the After School Music Program.

We offer special thanks to Aviry Christy for his time and talent organizing and directing traffic. We offer thanks to Patty McAfee of Alpha Graphics for the design and production of the Outdoor Art Show brochure, and to the many artists, volunteers, and visitors who made the show a highlight among St. Philip’s In The Hills ministries.
See you next year!

—Joyce Stewart

2 thoughts on “Arts Bloom in the Desert

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