I was a contracted event designer for the Phoenix Art Museum. They were my client, and I worked with then-Marketing Director Mark Patel to design and produce all sorts of events and artful consumer experiences. Including, the First Friday’s Train Tracks Series, and the unveiling of Sui Jianguo‘s “Jurassic Age” sculpture, a big red dino that permanently adorns the museum’s front lawn. My recent return to the Phoenix Art Museum as part of another project was a delight!
InFocus hosts JSF at Phoenix Art Museum
As you may know, since last summer I have been honored to work on a very special Arizona-based project launch called Jack Stuler Foundation (JSF). The inaugural event was held at the Phoenix Art Museum recently on April 12. We all gathered to listen to those knowledgeable, answer questions about Jack Stuler’s life and words. The event was presented by Members of the InFocus photography group. Among them were also Jack Stuler art fans, his students, and his colleagues. As any who attended might agree, the newly launched Jack Stuler Foundation is truly an organization that Jack Stuler, the professor, master photographer, and friend, would be proud of.
Jack Stuler’s daughter, Sabina Kelly-Allen, was present and also acting as Emcee. She inherited her father’s priceless mid-century black and white (and some color!) photographic collection. The collection includes rare prints, framed prints, thousands of images, books, and equipment. Sabina decided to kick start the event’s energy, by raffling off 3 rare b/w photographs.*
Throughout the 1.5 hour event, a crowd of 35+ people sat in folded chairs in a semi-darkened room for a voice and image lecture entitled, ‘The Final Picture.’ Sabina, and two others, Marilyn M. Hayes and Neil Miller, each spent 15-25 minutes going over various aspects of the delightful story of Jack Stuler’s person, Artworks, and life work as a father and university photography professor.
Anyone looking at the slides presented during the various lectures, was likely in visual heaven. Placed beside photographs of Jack Stuler’s otherworldly natural images, were snapshots in time of Jack at play, with family, in the school office, and of course in the act of being a class act. From all the photos one might see that Jack Stuler has AMAZING style. (Timeless even, I would say. Just ask any of his supporters!)
Before the event officially started, I was standing in the general area, and there was an exciting raffle energy building. About 1/3 of guests in attendance for the lecture event purchased raffle tickets.
Being from Arizona, and knowing that Sabina grew up here, too, makes Jack Stuler’s life in Arizona seem more spiritually in alignment, and real to me, than I would have imagined or known to prepare for. I am in love with the opportunity to execute much of the planning and art direction and copywriting work, and to help guide Sabina with the entire project of what is now the Jack Stuler Foundation. As a founding member, and as her cohort behind the scenes, I have taken seriously my need to gain an understanding of what’s on the table, and what’s at stake!
The Jack Stuler Foundation’s mission is simple: put cash into the hands of struggling local artists. Jack himself complained incessantly about how the state university he worked at (and graduated from) was too damned expensive. He saw that people with talent were being rejected from art as a lifestyle and career, because they would not find the money to attend art school at the university.
And now, Sabina, in true relay fashion, picks-up the baton of community enlightenment that her father Jack carried. The tradition of keeping the arts in our communities, by educating the talent in our own communities, is a lost local business art that JSF has committed to helping revive and support! The people doing art business should take care of the people doing art. Our organization will accomplish this. Our future prospects to spread the JSF message and financial program awards are filled with full potential.
JSF Director recently announces plans to quickly expand operations by operating a forthcoming downtown Phoenix photographic printing lab!
More details are coming soon on this exciting business start-up news! JSF will own and operate a newly-formed photographic printing lab, set to open in the midst of Downtown Phoenix Arts culture, perhaps sometime this Summer or early Fall. I have been listening with AWE to the details that Sabina is sharing with me about this new business, which will fund the JSF operations and awards budgets. This brilliant move has so many unique benefits, that I will be thrilled to share more information, as soon as details are set into place.
As the mouthpiece of JSF, putting her money where her mouth is, Sabina is acting as a courageous and SMART leader. I am proud of her for getting through the last 10-months which have been filled with the fullness of newness, emotionalism, and endless lists of details and tasking that have been requiring her full energy and attention.
The JSF is not Sabina’s full time job yet, it is a second full-time job, in addition to her also running a popular Airbnb bungalow, and being a wife and mother.
*I was thrilled to pull the winners from the ticket bowl. Each of the prints was “Untitled” though different. (Jack Stuler rarely named his works.) Sabina’s young adult daughter, Skye’s blue hair was a hit! She sold most of the raffle tickets! So when she asked to take photos of the raffle winners (at my asking please!), everyone seemed to be at-ease and happy.
Winners of the original artworks raffle ($300/value of each of 3 pieces):
Winner Jim Kelly
Winner Marilyn Tickna
Winner Linda Ballinger (She and Jim flew in for the event. Jim was Director at Phoenix Art Museum before retiring a few years ago. They and their children have original Jack Stuler pieces in their own collections. It was a fun to see them win!)
Quotes from the event!
“I’m so happy to see that so many people came to this event. I see students of Jack’s, colleagues, and friends.” Sabina Kelly-Allen, JSF Event Lecturer
“Jack didn’t care about what religion meant. Or what you thought of it. He cared about love for life and the natural world that he would spend so much time with appreciating.” Marilyn M. Hayes, JSF Event Lecturer
“I think Jack tolerated me. As my teacher, he was not a portrait photographer. I was. I think he would see me, my work, and then comment on it as a helpful professional. He was very easy to be around.” Neil Miller, JSF Event Lecturer
I have gathered some nice memories and storied images from behind the scenes of the last several months of pre-planning for the official JSF launch!
New Marketing Materials & Website changes planned!
The current JSF website is going to be getting a facelift. We are switching to a better platform that is less glitchy. In the meantime, updates will be given on social media channels like the new foundation website, and by E-Mail. We are proud of our accomplishments thus far, and to celebrate JSF, we have printed some new marketing materials. One is a 16-page organizational booklet. The second marketing piece is a 6-page brochure that gives all the essential foundation points of info.
Currently, we are in the midst of planning our approaches. We still have some work to do in applying the most favorable conditions to the student financial awards programs. We want to approach various galleries, arts organizations, and local businesses for events, and for their donations to our organization. Specialized Art Exhibitions and auction events are also on our wish list. As the opening of the new printing lab unfolds, we will know how much our budget to accomplish the first awards is.
I <3 Local Arts Communities With All My <3
This is an exciting time in my life, in Sabina and her family’s lives, and the lives of all those who miss Jack Stuler’s kind and stylized influence, since his passing in 2015. Stay tuned for more narratives and news bulletins like this by checking in again here at theAlishaproject.com once a week or so. This is one of many projects that I support and lend direct assistance to.