Arizona Artbeat: Shemer Art Center

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We’ll take you to the Shemer Art Center in Phoenix, which not only has gallery space but also provides arts education where students can learn to create their own art.

TED SIMONS: Tonight's edition of Arizona Artbeat, one of Phoenix's hidden treasures, the Shemer Art Center celebrating its 30th anniversary. Producer Shana Fischer and photographer Miguel Valverde take us on a tour.

SHANA FISCHER: The Shemer Art Center has a colorful history, built in 1919, it was the first home in the Arcadia area and was owned by a worker from the Arcadia water company. In 1927 the Sir family who owned the Pennzoil company bought the Spanish Mission style home as a vacation retreat. And then in 1984, the home was purchased by Martha Shemer.

JOCELYN HANSON: She purchased the home I think probably at a point in her life that she wanted to leave some kind of legacy as well. She and Terry Godard worked out a donation of this home to the city. It was specifically to be an arts education facility.

SHANA FISCHER: Today, four of the home's original bedrooms serve as gallery space. You can see the history of the home as you walk through it. Original light fixtures and the bell system used to call upon the home's wait staff. In the lobby, sits an old stone fireplace inscribed with the Latin phrase "Art is long, life is short," which seems serendipitous now. One of the biggest offerings is the art classes.

JOCELYN HANSON: We teach all of the visual arts, and that includes painting and drawing and print-making and when we talk about painting, we are talking a lot of different media, oil, pastel, water color. We teach sculpture, ceramic, jewelry making.

SHANA FISCHER: The home's garage was converted to a studio space. Students spend six to eight weeks in a class. Beautiful sculptures placed all over the property. Each one available for sale and also several patios to enjoy.

JOCELYN HANSON: To me, I actually love just going out over the noon hour and taking, you know, my lunch break sitting out on the patio and viewing the iconic Camelback mountains.

SHANA FISCHER: Board director Sandra Whyman says without places like the Shemer, a community loses a valuable asset.

SANDRA WHYMAN: The arts are what make life worth living. They enhance every -- everyone's heart. They put you in harmony with your own life and I really think that Arizona needs to be able to come here into the Shemer and to explore our different rooms and our grounds and make themselves at home.

TED SIMONS: The Shemer Art Center is located at 50th street and camel back and hosting a family festival this Sunday. For more information, check out their web site at ShemerArtCenter.org. That is it for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thank you so much for joining us. You have a great evening.

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