SACA Website now online

saca website It is finally online – the all new SACA website! The Superstition Art and Cultural Alliance needed a website that was easily and quickly updated. A non-profit with very low overhead, we are very cost-conscious.

I recommended a WordPress blog. This allows authorized board members to log in to their separate account and to post and edit pages. The format is certainly more than adaptable to our needs, and we no longer have to wait for the former webmaster to update at his convenience. We have total control of the content and the appearance. And it offers a fresh new look as we expand the organization.

Ready for Prime Time

SACA Mural installedLast week Gustavo McGrew and his crew from Mountain Health and Wellness installed the two murals from the SACA Public Mural Project. They did a splendid job, and Gustavo envisions many more along the border of EarthHeart Park.

The murals are visible from the street, along the edge of the maze.  A benefit, beside the aesthetic, is that the murals will act as a shield for the community garden from passersby. Last month some miscreants stole a good amount of plants.

Though the park is on private property, Gustavo envisions it as public space and hence, there will be no fences or gates. Fortunately local businesses immediately banded together to replace the pillaged produce, and are working to make the area more secure with motion activated lights and such.

This coming Saturday the murals will be officially unveiled at the Salsa and Pinata Festival on the grounds. Our hopes on the board of SACA is that this will be the impetus for more interest from the community of Apache Junction as an area that is conducive to the arts, and to foster more interests from local business to support public art.

Pieces fall into place

saca mural 2The pieces finally fall into place. Today I congregated with Gustavo McGrew of Mountain Heath and Wellness (and fellow SACA board member) with Jeff Danford, Gail McFarland and Liz to puzzle out the final murals.

Fifty some-odd pieces by various artists of all ages lay in a pile, begging cohesion. The earth spirit was with us, providing perfect weather for the occasion.

saca mural 3Fifty-six diverse visions, artists from a youthful six-years old to a youthful 70+ years old all had their brushes involved. Political dalliances fell to the wayside as all joined in on a project to benefit the community. Gustavo was more than generous as his wallet became thinner with each phase of this project.  Apache Junction Ace Hardware gave willingly, providing much needed supplies.

In the end, seemingly incongruous pieces of art melded into a whole. Actually, into two wholes. Two 3-dimensional murals will soon be on permanent display at EarthHeart Park in Apache Junction. Gustavo will be overseeing the installation of 4X4 posts in the park, and next Saturday we will be on hand to erect the murals – to be publicly unveiled the following Saturday during the Salsa/Pinata festival. Gustavo is already talking about next year when we will install two more, creating a public art gallery on the grounds of the park.

SACA Mural Project – Day Three

SACA crew
Carl B. Johnson, Liz Nicklus, Jeff Danford, Gail McFarland

Saturday, April 12 marked the 3rd and final EarthHeart Park Farmer’s Market for the season. The event, sponsored by Mountain Health and Wellness featured family friendly events, live music, arts and crafts and of course, a lot of fresh local produce.

The Superstition Art and Cultural Alliance (SACA) has had a presence at all three events in the form of a community art project. We invited the public to paint fanciful designs on abstract shapes of wood. On Saturday’s event, we stuck with a monochromatic theme, black and white! The project was an overwhelming success; we opened the tent to the public at 9AM, and by 10AM all of our shapes were completed.  (The inset in the photo shows a completed mural.) Continue reading »


new stone 2Five tons of stone. Five hours of manual labor. But it is almost done, at least this phase.

The truck came at 9AM this morning, just as I was falling asleep after working the night shift. Well, I couldn’t leave five tons of gravel in the driveway, so I began shoveling into the wheelbarrow and covering the yard.

I had planned on working on it for a few hours today, then catching some sleep before work tonight. As I was about to call it a day, Bob, my neighbor from across the street ambles over with a shovel and begins to lend a hand. Well, then we had a mission, complete the yard.

All is for the better, as tomorrow I need to put a finish coat of white paint on the abstract pieces for the mural project, and also work on displays for the exhibition at the Farmer’s Market this Saturday. I need a sturdy but lightweight wall to hang my wall clocks and paintings.

Hopefully next week I will have some free time to just relax…


The Real Beverly Hughes

Beverly Hughes website Beverly Hughes is an an amazing friend from Millville, NJ. A botanical illustrator, her work has been featured on a postcard, part of a cache featuring the postage stamp designed by William Bartram, and available at Bartram’s Garden in Philadelphia.

Beverly was a fixture at the Burcham Farm, the last working dike farm on the now Wild and Scenic Maurice River.

The Burcham Farm, when it was still operational, provided fresh produce to the local grocery stores. They had a heard of sheep, and the annual shearing was an event. Beverly uses this wool to make yarn the traditional way.

She has recently illustrated and written children’s coloring books. Her website is a microcosm of her talents and projects.  It is still undergoing some minor tweaks, but the major facelift is complete.

A relaxing Saturday

amazing glass and ceramic sculpture  Like the Kinks song, I’m living on a low budget… There are trade-offs – you can live for the corporate master or you can live for yourself.  Years ago Liz and I decided to make that trade-off. Instead of a mansion on the hillside that we would never see because we are working to pay off mortgages and debts – well, I am still living to pay off debts… we opted for a simpler lifestyle, a small raqncher style house in the East Valley of the Sonoran Desert.

That'll teach 'em...The Apache Junction Library is a great source of freebies – such as free passes (first-come, first serve) to the Heard Museum of the American Indian in Phoenix. Liz picked up the last pass.  I used my $15 discount to Sun Up Brewery to help pay for lunch afterward.

The Heard Museum is located on beautiful grounds in downtown Phoenix, a few blocks past the Phoenix Art Museum.  The complex includes educational buildings, a restaurant, and several galleries of American Indian art both ancient and modern. Close to the main entrance is an amazing sculpture of glass and ceramic invoking desert plants such as cholla.

freeing artThere is an ongoing exhibition on the Indian Schools – one of which was located in Phoenix. The purpose of the schools was to educate the Indians, and “civilize” them. Their identity was stripped as they were inducted into the schools – but it was not long before they introduced their culture into the schools as they retained their dignity.

American Indian ledger artAn exhibition that was slated to come down, but given a reprieve is the Ledger Art show.  After the buffalo populations were decimated, and as tribes were relocated from the pueblos and mountains to reservations, the canvas for tribal art was lost. Most tribal art was a form of historical record of events – some events of import, and some more mundane.

Lacking the traditional canvas of hides and rock faces, a new generation used old ledgers as a canvas. Battles between tribes, and battles between Indians and US cavalry were recorded.  Fortunately these survived, and a current generation of American Indian artists have revived the media. This exhibition showcases ledger art, old and new.

Red IPA from Sun Up BreweryAfter the museum, we hit the Sun Up Brewing Company for lunch. Tucked in the heart of Phoenix, on Camelback Road, youhave to know where this gem is located, but it is worth the search.

Owing to my fairly recent sensitivity to factory farmed beef (I go into anaphylactic shock if I eat mass produced beef due to the crap that mega-agri-farms inject into the cattle throughout their life) I crave good hamburgers. Since by law, bison and buffalo cannot be injected with hormones and antibiotics and other garbage, I can eat it. I ordered a buffalo burger with cheddar cheese and mushrooms, and enjoyed their IPA.

The IPA was so good, I ordered a growler to go – next weekend I will crack that after we are home from the Earth Heart Park farmer’s and art market. I will have a tent this time, showcasing my Desert Detritus clocks and some paintings.