Last week, the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance (SAACA) showed appreciation to artists and partnerships they have formed during an annual gala. However, while accepting the awesome appreciation award on behalf of The Explorer, I was thinking there needs to be more appreciation shown to SAACA for the work they do every year to keep the arts alive and well in the Tucson region.

SAACA isn’t about promoting statues on corners, they are about showing residents what Tucson has to offer. SAACA focuses all year on drawing attention to culinary arts, visual arts, classic cars, art education, youth arts, cultural arts, chalk art, festivals, film, music and fashion.

Without a group like SAACA working tirelessly to present all of the good things about our region, the question becomes – Who would be doing it?

Over the last two years, I’ve enjoyed building a relationship with SAACA and attending a few of the many, many events they host.

Just to highlight a few, my husband and I love the cocktails and classics event – with dancing, food and drinks and a fashion show – who could beat the attention given to local businesses, local artists and the entertainment that cannot be matched by any other in Tucson?

SAACA is all about providing fun for all ages, promoting children’s work, promoting senior citizens and doing it all on a budget each year.

SAACA provides a venue to push some of our younger generation to appreciate the finer things. At last year’s dessert event, we took two teenagers who seemed to have it in their head we were going to get the kind of dessert you might see on a menu at a chain restaurant. They quickly found an appreciation for the fact that there is so much more talent in Tucson, delivering true works of art when it comes to dessert. Chefs created desserts revolving around chili peppers, sea-salt caramel and so much more. We may have left on a bit of a sugar high, but for two teenagers, the appreciation they gained for culinary arts that night was well worth it.

According to the website, “SAACA exists to ensure that, through engagement in arts and culture, our communities produce strong, inspired citizens. SAACA enlists artists, businesses, governments and individuals to expand artistic and cultural opportunities in their respective communities.  We believe that economic development and the arts go hand in hand – they cannot exist without the other.”  

To end this editorial, I will include a few facts about SAACA that should help understand and, better yet, appreciate the organization that does so much.

Interesting Facts about SAACA

• Works with more than 1,000 local and national visual artists each year to create new  opportunities to exhibit their artwork for sale within the community.

• Hires more than 400 local musicians and groups annually to perform in the community. 

•  Works with more than 100 volunteers to deliver more than 100 community events each year. 

•  Gains support from hundreds of local businesses each year through financial gifts and sponsorships.

•  Receives no more than $15,000 a year in government support, resulting in all programs and events being executed through partnerships in the business community.

• Joined local charter with the Americans for the Arts to administer the Southern Arizona Business Committee for the Arts. 

•  Collaborates with more than 80 Southern Arizonan arts organizations and    not-for-profits in all genres. 

• Presents events in Southern Arizona communities such as Marana, Oro Valley, Casa Grande, Arizona Foothills, Pima County, Tucson, Green Valley/Sahuarita and SaddleBrooke 

• Hosts programs, concerts and events, with more than 85 percent being free to the community.

(1) comment

John Flanagan

Yes, it is a worthwhile organization, and it is well to promote it, because many people probably weren't aware of it.

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