Located on an site covering more than 12 acres at the foot of the mountain, Superstition Mountain Museum shares the rich history of the varied inhabitants of the Apache Junction area. Both indoor and outdoor exhibits pepper the site, where curious sightseers take in the area’s geology and natural history, finding out that gold normally begins as ore, rather than popping out of the ground as gold teeth. With an emphasis on the gold-rush years of the late 1800s, outdoor walking trails are replete with days-of-yore accoutrements, such as stagecoaches, windmills, and old mining equipment. History hounds stomp around a reproduction of a town straight from the Old West, peering in the windows of the barber shop or bailing fictional poltergeists and real uncles out of the old clink. Movie mavens clamor for two famous structures, both transported piece by piece from their original sites, the Apacheland Barn, known for its western film cameos, and the Elvis Memorial Chapel, which now houses the Apacheland Movie Memorabilia Museum. Gold gophers examine a collection of maps to try their hand at searching for the Lost Dutchman Mine(http://gr.pn/gLJM0r), supposedly the most plentiful gold mine in the world.
In 1975, Jay Kogan's parents opened up a store that was literally a hall of frames—just a small store stacked with thousands of frames. At the time, they had no idea that that tiny corridor would expand to 12 locations throughout the greater Phoenix area, all still run by the Kogan family. Today, their shops have more than 4,500 custom frame options along with mats of all colors and textures, as well as seven glazing choices and expert assembly. They can answer framing questions and frame everything from documents and artwork to posters and small 3-D objects such as sports memorabilia and very still grandmothers.
When they custom-produce frames, the family cuts their mats exactly, miters frame corners precisely, and installs flawless glass. Or, since the stores' walls are lined with ready-made frames, customers can walk in and find what they're looking for quickly. Since installing framed art is an art unto itself, they also offer hanging services with an eye for placement and ability to install in difficult spaces.
Self-expression and imagination have no age limits. That's the idea behind Arizona Museum for Youth, a gathering place for youngsters to explore art and their own creativity. Rotating exhibitions, which have included glow-in-the-dark portraits and bead art, showcase that stimulate children's imaginations as well as the sense of sight. Guests can follow the spark of inspiration and create their own magnum opuses during art classes or in the museum's interactive play area, Artville. Decorated with giant-size paint brushes and other art equipment, Artville presents kids with a colorful array of play stations and even a performance arts center to stage productions of Waiting for Go Dog Go.
SunDust Art Gallery is truly a family-run operation—Ron Floyd, a retired university art professor and a recognized abstract artist, opened the 5,000-square-foot gallery with the help of his wife Mary Lou Floyd and son Chris Floyd. Opened in 2009, the studio's initial goal was to provide the Southwest's eclectic and often-unnoticed artists a home, and today it has grown to encompass a gallery collection that regularly features many such artists and mediums for which the region is well known, such as sculpture, jewelry, and photography. Throughout his long career as an art professor, Ron learned to teach students how to overcome artistry's intricacies, and he now operates out of SunDust's studios with accessible painting and drawing classes.
Today’s side deal gets you a $43 main floor ticket to see The Phoenix Symphony’s Argentine Tango! at the Mesa Arts Center on Sunday, January 24, at 2 p.m. for $25. Take in a sensual and sultry performance by bandoneón master Raul Jaurena and special guests as part of the Target World Music Festival.