[Source: Srianthi Perera, Arizona Republic] -- With the opening of the much-anticipated Tempe Center for the Arts this year, the Southeast Valley further established itself as an arts hub in the Valley. Here's a city-by-city look at newsworthy happenings in the arts and entertainment for 2007.
- The $67.6 million Tempe Center for the Arts opened in September. Situated on the edge of Town Lake, the 88,000-square-foot facility has two stages, gallery space, meeting rooms and an arts park. It was welcomed by nine groups that were able to call it home, including Childsplay, Tempe Symphony Orchestra and Tempe Little Theatre.
- By coincidence, 2007 also marked the 30th anniversary of Childsplay, and the popular children's group opened a gallery at the new arts center with a retrospective exhibition. The group evolved through a master's degree project that David P. Saar began in 1977.
- The Mesa Arts Center embarked on its third season in October, continuing to establish itself as a leading venue for arts and entertainment in the Valley. During the 2007-08 season, the center will host more than 500 performances in its four theaters, among them classical masters, country superstars and rock artists. Local arts groups are also featured and the center's family theater company, Stageworks, continues to thrive. The arts center is also making inroads to include local communities, and organized a many-tiered celebration to mark Dia de los Muertos this year.
- Meanwhile, although the private Mesa-based arts organizations did not receive city funds this fiscal year as well, they continue to function. The Mesa Symphony Orchestra changed its name to Symphony of the Southwest, and the Mesa Southwest Museum changed its name to Arizona Museum of Natural History. Both organizations feel the new names better reflect their geographical reach.
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