The calendar for the Greater Oro Valley Arts Council lists four public festivals before the summer of 2009. It also lists a new fashion show, car show and public arts tour, and the organization’s usual lineup of annual events.

In other words, the schedule’s packed.

“We’re trying to get the word out to everyone that we’re really looking to be the most relevant arts council we can be,” said Kate Marquez, the organization’s executive director.

The move to four yearly festivals instead of the usual two is a matter of logistics, Marquez said.

“We found over the years that there really are two different markets — one for juried, and one for unjuried,” she said. “We have quite a large population of craft artisans and also a lot of people who make art professionally. We decided that instead of making them all include live music, children’s activities and a culinary aspect, we could make them better if we focused them.”

Other additions to the calendar, such as the upcoming Oro Valley BBQ, Blues and Classic Car Show, resulted from a recent community survey, Marquez said.

“In the feedback, we heard a lot of people say we should have a barbecue festival,” she said. “People said, ‘Where I’m from, they do that.’ A lot of people said we should do blues music and others said, ‘This is a beautiful area of Southern Arizona, but there are no car shows.’ Since we’re minimally staffed, we said, ‘Let’s combine them.’ It seemed like a perfect marriage to us.”

The resulting event will take place on Saturday, Sept. 20, at Steam Pump Village in Oro Valley, rain or shine. It will feature classic and antique vehicles, a charity poker walk to benefit the arts, and music by The Bad News Blues who, appropriately, recently released an album titled “Still Cadillacin’.”

“Because we’re on private property, we can also sell alcohol,” Marquez said. “The owners of Steam Pump were so willing. And this is one of the greatest locations we could have, right off Oracle Road.”

In October, the arts council will present ArtsFest 2008, an arts and crafts festival at the La Encantada shopping center with live music and children’s activities. November will bring Arts in the Park at James D. Kriegh Park, a pairing of the culinary and fine arts. The Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Festival will return in March at Pima Community College’s northwest campus, and April will bring the Festival of the Arts, again at James D. Kriegh Park.

“There’s a lot more parking and flat land and shade there” than at the arts council’s old venue, Canyon del Oro Riverfront Park, Marquez said.

The Ladies’ Fashion Luncheon and benefit runway show at Reflections at the Buttes is scheduled for March, as are public art tours.

Returning arts council programs include a December holiday parade, a ball, an art contest, a golf tournament and a casino gala. Musical programming includes the Tucson Symphony Orchestra Masterworks Concert Series, an introduction to opera, a chamber music concert, the Canyon del Oro Riverfront Park concert series, a holiday concert, an intergenerational concert and symphonic performances for children.

The calendar represents a blending of the old and new, and Marquez said that’s a demonstration of the arts council’s adaptability.

“We never want to be so set in our ways that we’re not developing,” she said. “We want to change as the community changes and as the arts change. The arts are always changing with the times, and we want to be proactive rather than reactive. We don’t want to ever think we know everything.”

Hot Wheels

What: Oro Valley Classic Car, BBQ and Blues Show

When: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20

Where: Steam Pump Village, 11000 N. Oracle Road

Cost: $5 for general admission, free for those 10 and younger

Phone: 797-3959


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