From May 28-31, 2014, the Gold Canyon Arts Council sponsored a program titled: SHARE YOUR VOICE – AN ADVENTURE IN ARTS EXPLORATION. This 3 day student workshop was made possible by a $6000 Art Tank grant received by the Council earlier this year. Students involved were from Gold Canyon/Apache Junction, Miami/Superior/Globe and the San Carlos Apache Reservation. Leadership for the program was provided by Pamela Sterling, Associate Professor in the Theatre for Youth program at ASU and her graduate student, Haley Honeman.
In preparation for this event, the Arts Council interviewed ‘Elders’ from three areas along the Old West Hiway 60 Cultural Corridor. Representing the ranching community was Tom Kollenborn, former cowboy, writer, and local historian, and Nancy McCollough, a third generation Apache Junction/Gold Canyon ranching family. Providing insight into the mining communities were Fred Barcon, former Miami miner, union leader, and successful businessman, and Lucy Rojas, community volunteer, and wife of Miami miner and union leader, Arnold Rojas. On the San Carlos Apache Reservation, we listened to Evelyn Hunter, a San Carlos Apache basket maker, and Herb Stevens, a practicing artist and Director of the San Carlos Apache Cultural Center.
The first stop was in San Carlos where the students heard stories, toured the Apache Cultural Center, and spent time helping to construct a wikiup, a native home made from materials along the river. They then traveled to Miami for an overnight at the Bullion Plaza Cultural Center and then to Gold Canyon for a second overnight at the Gold Canyon United Methodist Church. All through these days, the ASU facilitators were involving the students in activities which encouraged their own discoveries and self-expression through drama, writing and music. The concluding activity was a program of their creation presented to family members. These students came from quite different backgrounds and cultural experiences, but the sharing, friendships and creativity which emerged was truly remarkable and heartfelt!