West Valley Arts Council

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Welcome to West Valley Arts Center

A Message from the Executive Director

Gallery 37
Award-winning Summer Arts Employment Program For Teens 15-18


DEADLINE: April 16, 2015


Sponsor a Gallery 37 apprentice. Want to change a young adult’s life? Want to help a student pursue their passion in the arts? Please consider sponsoring a Gallery 37 student during the 2014 season. This award-winning apprenticeship program partners participants with master artists for one unforgettable summer of creativity. 


Don't spend those summer days lounging around the house! Get creative and get paid to create art! GALLERY 37, WVAC's award-winning youth arts employment program apprentices 15 to 18 year-old students with professional artists in order to design, develop and install a permanent piece of public art for display in the West Valley. An expert team of master artists lead the six-week program and provide all necessary training and support in each phase of the project.

Since 2001, more than 100 Valley students have participated in Gallery 37. Apprentices hail from all over the Valley including Phoenix, Chandler, Glendale, Peoria, Goodyear, Avondale, Buckeye, El Mirage, Waddell, Surprise, Tonopah, and Litchfield Park.

Gallery 37 began in Chicago, Illinois as a city beautification project of Block 37 that included the installation of a summer arts camp designed to revitalize the immediate community while providing job training and arts education to Chicago's youth. Since 1991, Gallery 37 has expanded to a nation-wide program to include more than 24 U.S. cities as well as the UK and Australia.

  Student apprentices are trained in a variety of artistic disciplines that can include:

•  Mosaic Work

•  Public Art

•  Sculpture

•  Videography/Video Editing

•  Photography

•  Graphic Design

•  Digital Art

•  Ceramics


  In addition, Gallery 37 fosters creative collaboration, communication and time 

  management, while providing vital job skills such as:

•  Brainstorming

•  Business Etiquette

•  Interview Techniques

•  Marketing and Public Relations

•  Proposal Development

•  Presentation Preparation

•  Project Research


Past Gallery 37 Projects

From the Students of Gallery 37 - 2010

This mural is the collaborative work of ten student artists working under the supervision of master artist Ed Buonvecchio. In order to create this piece, we drew our inspiration from the historic culture strewn throughout Old Town Avondale. The amount of history and culture there awed us and we wished to share this feeling with those who looked upon our artwork. To properly display old town, we included several landmarks, which are sources of pride for Avondale, and used the past film industry in Avondale as a concept for our border. The filmstrip also represents a timelessness that is found in film. Movies from the past can be played again to relive the glory of that time, and we wished to display the glory Old Town Avondale as it was in the past and today, in the present.

The furthest left section represents the desert we currently inhabit and how it was before settlement. The next section to the right pays homage to the fifties when Avondale first came into its prime. We used sepia tones with select points of interest in red to show the time frame of the scene and to show the sense of nostalgia felt when looking upon old photos. We specially added the theatre, as it is a landmark for Old Town Avondale. The color section to the right represent current Old Town, and how it will continue to improve into the future. As we did with the theatre, we included the new Sam Garcia library and the Hands On sculpture as well as other restaurants and businesses found there to display how we see Avondale and the positive outlook that all residents of Avondale feel towards Old town. The car in the center is split between the two frames to show a sharp contrast between the old and the new. The left car is a nineteen fifty-six corvette and the right is a two thousand nine model. Surrounding the mural, the symbols hold meanings and relate to the various predominate heritages found in Arizona. We used both native and Latino symbols as well as a phoenix to represent not only our capitol city, but the rebirth that Avondale is currently going through with its restoration of old town.

EMC2 (2009)
Gateway Park , El Mirage

Camino de Colores (2008)
Central Avenue, Avondale

Click here to view more photos of this project

Created by teen artists of the West Valley Arts Council's Gallery 37 program over the summer of 2008, this mural illustrates the transition of Avondale's rural beginnings to its urban foundations.  The cyclel expands on the idea of a natural habitat untouched by humanity by the use of organic shapes and colors; which then moves on to more synthetic colors and geometric shapes to express the idea of an urban setting. Painted on flat aluminum panels, various aspects of city, past and present, are represented in both abstract and literal forms. The piece is designed to bring beauty to Avondale, not just by its presence but also to serve as a reminder of the beauty the city already holds.


Penumbra (2007)
Marley Park, Surprise

The Penumbra project began as a basic request: design a gateway to welcome visitors into the Marley Park community.The Penumbra gateway represents the connections between the family members, families and communities of Marley Park--visually represented by the circular disks connected by the rebar spanning and branching between the two halves of the structure.

The title of the piece referes to the area between light and shadow, and the connection thereof, reflected in the shadows cast by the structure. As a gateway, it represents the physical, emotional and historical transitions: physically, visitors walk through the gateway, crossing from commercial development to the Marley Park community; emotionally, their mindset changes that of calm as they cross from bustling commercial to the cool green of the local park; historically, Marley Park began as rose fields, and has since evolved into a growing community. The rebar overhead is reminiscent of a tree canopy, a suggestion of the growth that has taken place over time.

Inspired by the community values of Marley Park, the project stands as a gateway to and a symbol of the Marley Park community.

Solar Continuum (2006)
Avondale Public Library, Avondale

This interactive sundial defines the quintessential meaning of public art. Not only is the work of art a sculptural presence within the landscape but it serves as a functional sundial that can be used as a learning tool for the visitors of the library.

Plant and seedpods found around the Avondale Civic Center were the inspiration for the mosaic design of the sundial. The artists found one significant piece: a spiraling seedpod from a mesquite tree found in the landscaping. The group then began to generate sketches from this object in both abstract and more realistic renderings. Seeing how the pod from the chosen plant curled into themselves reminded the artists of some primary themes: the idea of time and cycles repeating themselves, of individual parts becoming a whole and of nature itself, and the pod being an organic piece found in a construction zone where culture and civilization had already begun to expand.

Check out the apprentice created web-site Solar Continuum!

Astral Projections (2005)
West Valley Arts Council Headquarters, Avondale

Astral Projections began as an exploration of the universe, planets and celestial bodies. Extracting from these themes, the apprentices modified their inspiration and abstracted imagery that suited and embodied the purpose of the arts council. As a lighted sculptural piece, "Astral Projections" serves as a beacon for the growth of the arts in the West Valley. Attached to the six outside pillars of the West Valley Arts Council building, are a smattering of translucent Plexiglas boxes. These boxes are painted with abstract images in metallic paint and are lit from within. Forged metal spheres encompass three of the cubes to give a central focal point to the piece and to tie in with the original theme. We, the staff, are very proud of this latest addition to our building and have received commendable accolades from the community for such a beautiful project.

Goodyear Community Park, Goodyear

Through exploration of abstract art concepts, historical research of the area, a visit to the White Tank Mountain Regional Park, study of Kevin Moore's landscape architectural plans and on-site visits to the site, the artists and apprentices decided to incorporate granite trail markers with sandblasted imagery throughout the Goodyear park to inform the community of its natural and industrial history, its evolution and future aspirations. Artists chose a variety of design elements inspired by Native American culture, petroglyphs and Egyptian hieroglyphs to signify the people, agriculture and commerce that created the spiraling center of Goodyear's development and the foundation for the future.

ESPIRAL (2003)
Verrado, Buckeye

Apprentices of the 2003 Gallery 37 Project conceived, designed and produced a unique and functional seating area, or bench, that reflected the concept of a meeting place. The form of the bench is based on the spiral, a primal shape found in nature and throughout the history of human civilization. Traditionally, the spiral symbolizes the point of origin, and here in the new West Valley community of Verrado, it is the perfect design to anchor the center of the community. It's mosaic design is a combination of three motifs: the architectural styles seen in Verrado, organic forms that reflect the natural environment of the town, and abstracted icons of family and community life. The bench and mosaic were designed to be a dynamic and vibrant meeting place reflecting the values of a vital and interconnected community.

Tri-City West/Thornwood Branch of the Boys & Girls Club, Avondale

The focus of the 2002 program, America: The Beautiful, challenged apprentices to think about different concepts of beauty and how it applied to their lives as Americans. Students identified five themes they felt expressed beauty in American life: diversity, innocence and trust, family and community, everyday objects, and the balance between the natural and synthetic. These themes guided the evolution of a 54-foot modular mural with abstract designs inspired by electronically manipulated photographs taken by the apprentices.

Palm Valley Waste Water Treatment Facility, Goodyear

The 37-foot installation entitled Recyclamation addresses the need for both corporations and communities to recognize and address the issues of environmental protection, wildlife, recycling and ecologically sensitive business. Thousands of colorful mosaic pieces decorate 10 descending concrete blocks which represent the earth and its transition from a polluted state (black sphere) to one that is pure (white sphere).

MURAL (1999)
Tolleson Boys & Girls Club