Meet The Arbiters And Philanthropic Champions Who Are Setting The Tempo In The Arts Scene

Tyler Butler; Taylor Transtrum; Teresa K. Traverse | November 21, 2019 | People

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PATRON
MARY JANE RYND

PLAYER
DIAN D’AVANZO

Assistant concertmaster for the Phoenix Symphony, Dian D’Avanzo, has played everything from Beethoven to Billy Joel on her violin. And even after 25 years, she says her job has never once been boring. “There’s always something new to learn,” she says. Born in Halma, Minn., D’Avanzo has deep roots in music—she was playing the piano by age 3, violin by 10 and harp by 12. “When you hear a piece of music, it can take you some place,” she says. Music is also a powerful medium to give back, she says. D’Avanzo has played for Alzheimer’s patients, the homeless and for kids as part of the symphony’s first-of-its-kind Mind Over Music program, dedicated to integrating music into school curriculum to maximize its benefits in helping kids learn. Arts patron Mary Jane Rynd echoes a similar sentiment and knows how crucial the arts are. “They bring a joy and a comfort to people and can really make us come together in a positive way,” she says. In 2018, Rynd took over as president and CEO of the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, the largest private foundation in Arizona. One of the first grants the trust awarded was to the Phoenix Symphony. “[Piper] grew up around music, and it always added to the richness of her life,” says Rynd. “And that’s the same way I feel. We all need to have that experience of beauty and grace and talent to round out our lives.” The trust will be honored at the Phoenix Symphony’s Annual New Year’s Eve Gala, Dec. 31 (tickets from $500, Arizona Biltmore) for its support of the symphony for the past two decades.

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PATRON
JILL HEGARDT
A VALLEY POWERHOUSE HOPES TO BRING BALLET TO FIRST POSITION AMONG CORPORATE SUPPORTERS.

Dance is more than a passion for Ballet Arizona board member Jill Hegardt— it’s an integral part of her life. “I’ve had a love of dance and the art of movement since I was young,” she says. “I [was] able to channel that love through my daughter’s dance while she trained and competed, and [she] currently is obtaining her dance degree at the University of Arizona’s top dance program.” In her role as a vice president of entitlements at DMB Associates, she aims to translate her affinity for dance to gain corporate support. Hegardt’s dedication to the ballet is keenly focused on expanding the organization’s network, skills and expertise, with the goal to increase access to the arts, promote arts involvement and deepen overall community engagement. “Phoenix has a responsibility as the fifth largest city in the U.S. to have a full and robust arts and entertainment scene,” she says, “and Ballet Arizona is an important part of that.” Through her work supporting the organization, she looks to share the beauty and artistry that is found through the masterful storytelling using the virtuosity of dance.

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PLAYER
NAYON IOVINO
BRAZIL-BORN DANCER AND CHOREOGRAPHER NAYON IOVINO HOPES AUDIENCES FEEL HOW FREEING DANCE CAN BE.

Brazil native Nayon Iovino wants audiences watching him to feel the freedom he experiences when performing. “I feel like I’m an animal that has to move,” he says. “It’s just a full, complete thing for my life, the exercise and the artistic expression.” At 17, he received a scholarship to the prestigious Washington School of Ballet before joining Ballet Arizona in 2012. Six years ago, he began choreographing shows. “I like searching for different music and then coming up with concepts for it,” he says. “Trying to have ideas of what the music is saying and translate that into dance—that’s a lot of fun.” His latest work? Mumbai, a world-premiere ballet that honored Ballet Arizona Artistic Director Ib Andersen’s 20th anniversary (it debuted this past September). But dance has given him more than just a career. In true fairy-tale fashion, he met his wife when he was portraying Romeo (she was playing Juliet, of course). “We fell in love through the process,” he says. “You can’t fight those emotions.” And the emotions that an audience feels when watching live performance are, in Iovino’s opinion, what make dance so fascinating. “When you see a basketball player, you kind of mirror that feeling. Dance is purely based on that.” The Nutcracker, Dec. 13-24, tickets from $34, 2835 E. Washington St., Phoenix.

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PLAYER
ALICIA SUTTON CAMPBELL
ALICIA SUTTON CAMPBELL KNOWS FIRSTHAND HOW TRANSFORMATIVE ART CAN BE.

As the executive director of Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona, Alicia Sutton Campbell is dedicated to using art to change lives. “I started out as a donor to Free Arts because I had seen the programs in action and understood the profound effect they had on the participating children,” she says. “When there was an opportunity to join the staff in 2012, I jumped at the chance.” Currently, Free Arts is the only nonprofit in the state providing therapeutic art programs at no cost to children ages 3 to 21 who have faced abuse, neglect or homelessness, and since joining the organization, Sutton Campbell has witnessed major growth. “We increased the number of children served, added new partner agencies in order to access more children, and started an alumni program so that participants could continue to build resilience after they age out of child protective services,” she says. Recently, Free Arts also purchased what will become its new center for art and transformation. “The building purchase and renovation is the result of a significant partnership between Free Arts and The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation,” she says. “[It] will allow Free Arts to host programs on-site and to expand programs for foster families.”

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PATRONS
BOB AND RENEE PARSONS
FOR POWER COUPLE BOB AND RENEE PARSONS, NO ACT OF KINDNESS IS TOO BIG OR TOO SMALL.

Since founding The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation in February 2012, Bob and Renee Parsons have raised more than $180 million to benefit the local nonprofits they support. “On a number of occasions, we have stopped to ask ourselves, ‘Are we truly making a difference?’” Bob says. “We believe the answer to that question comes not from tracking how much money we’ve donated, but how many lives are actually being transformed. That’s why we choose to partner with nonprofits that are efficient, well managed and passionate about their work.” The couple recently provided a grant to support the purchase and renovation of Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona’s new community center. “Historically, the organization’s programs have been limited to children living in foster care group homes and homeless shelters,” Renee explains. “With this new space, we are excited to give children living with foster families access to Free Arts’ incredible resources and programs.” No matter what charity with which they are partnering, Bob and Renee always seek to make the biggest impact possible. “We recognize how fortunate we have been in our own lives, which drives our desire to give back,” says Renee. “Every effort counts, and everyone can make a difference— whether it’s by opening our wallets or volunteering our time to worthwhile causes.”

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PATRONS
DOROTHY LINCOLN-SMITH
A FORMER SONGBIRD WANTS TO BUILD A PASSION FOR ART IN THE VALLEY.

Valley vestige Dorothy Lincoln- Smith has supported the arts in Arizona since 1959. “There cannot be a community without art,” she says. “Art should be within the reach of everyone and must be a part of our modern society.” Her passion stems from years as singer and educator, with past roles as a professor at Phoenix College, as well as a soloist with the Phoenix Boys Choir, Arizona Opera and Bach & Madrigal Society. Today, Lincoln-Smith lectures about visual art as a former president of the National Society of Arts and Letters. She has also been a fervent catalyst for Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art since its opening and, along with her husband, presented Modern(ist) Love: The Dorothy Lincoln-Smith and Harvey K. Smith Collection in 2007. As an advisory council member emerita for SMoCA, she has developed a vision that she hopes to bring to fruition. “Our goal is to replace artistic ignorance or disinterest with artistic intelligence,” she says. Dorothy plans to accomplish this lofty objective through her continued patronage of SMoCA. “By sponsoring interactive shows such as Ocean of Light: Submergence, a Squidsoup project, we are making art more accessible and bringing a unique and interactive experience that captivates and inspires audiences.”

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PLAYER
JENNIFE MCCABE
NEW SMOCA CURATOR IS USHERING IN A NEW ERA OF ACTIVISM IN THE ARTS COMMUNITY.

As director and chief curator of Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Jennifer McCabe has a passion for working with and commissioning new works of art. Her commitment to engaging with the local Arizona-based artists, coupled with her experiences in San Francisco at New Langton Arts and as executive director and chief curator at the Museum of Craft and Folk Art allow for a broad perspective. “Art can bring communities together under the shared philosophy that it has the power to engage our imaginations, challenge our perceptions and inspire change,” she says. “Keeping your finger on the pulse of the evolution of contemporary arts and knowing where the art- world buzz lies is crucial to my role.” Her keen eye for trends has brought her to satellite art fairs like New Art Dealers Alliance and Untitled, where spectators can find underexposed artists and younger galleries. This month she plans to attend Art Basel in Miami. “[It’s] such an exciting venue for checking out the best of contemporary art.” Her ultimate goal is to bring more diversity in ethnicity, age and gender to the local arts scene: “Museums in general haven’t left the best legacy for inclusion, and now, we can change that.”



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Photography by: Ballet Arizona; Christine Johnson; Scott Foust Studios; Bob And Renee Parsons; Phylis Lane;