A land of imagination: ASU alum to perform at First Friday Live

From stilt walkers to visual artists, ASU alum will be performing to create a "childlike dream"

Walk down the street from First Friday on Roosevelt Row to experience a "childlike dream" at the Herberger Theatre this Friday.  

The First Friday Live event at Herberger Theatre, "We Are: Dreamers," will take place April 7 from 6-9 p.m. Artists featured in the event focused their work around a single theme. This year, artists tried to capture “the land of imagination” in their pieces. 

Alumna Katharine Leigh Simpson developed the creative concept and directed the event. Simpson has been working on the upcoming live exhibit for about two years.

“The idea is ground on the fact that deep down ... we are still children,” Simpson said.

The event will feature musicians, visual artists, tango dancers, stilt walkers and other artists. Simpson said she likes having so many art forms in one space because it is a chance for them to share the same message.

“I like the challenge of coming up with a common language, a lot of times sometimes art is so focused in its own genre and its own language,” she said.

The event is not just about art performances. During the event, the Herberger Theatre will be encouraging donations for a non-profit charity called Gabriel’s Angels, which is designed to provide pet therapy for at-risk children

Simpson said the Herberger Theatre has been helpful and encouraging with the First Friday Live events, allowing her to encompass a wide variety of art disciplines. 

“It is very beautiful because it is something that they want to see happen and they have been beyond supportive,” Simpson said.

"We Are: Dreamers" is defined by its short-lasting appearance in the city, only being active for one night. Simpson said she wants the exhibit to feel like it was discovered by chance as people walk through downtown Phoenix.

“It is meant to be an ambient experience,” Simpson said. “People can come and go and enjoy to their fullest extent as long as they want.”

Visual artist Amanda Adkins, an ASU alumna, will have an animated version of her collection, called "Buffalo Woman" at the event. The images focus on her experience seeing buffalo in captivity.

“I decided to paint the buffalo’s journey home using the familiar terrain of the Arizona desert,” Adkins said.

Adkins said her collection being animated to life by other artists helps the message she wants to display. 

“It gives my visual art a new aesthetic," Adkins said. "It contributes to the story being told and evokes other emotions in the viewer.”

Adkins said ASU artists should network with other artists and the art community to gain opportunites like the First Friday event. 

"if your work is not accepted that just means there's another opportunity for that work to be used for something else," she said. 

Another ASU alumni performing at the event will be Tobie Milford, an musician with a unique style. He performs live, but loops his music, using "layers" that create a new dynamic to the sound. 

“I enjoy having the music be part of something else,” Milford said. “It is more enjoyable in some ways than just being on stage and having it be all about you.”


Reach the reporter at kbenalli@asu.edu or follow @kallebenallie on Twitter

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