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Peace Event

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Paul Hillman

Cultural Arts Coalition's (CAC) Board Gathering with guests Sunday, June 9, 4:30 p.m.

We were welcomed into the home of Dr. Melanie Ohm (CAC Cofounder/Director) and Jeff Stevens, in Tempe, AZ. Minutes and financials of the last meeting were emailed separately for comments or edits in advance. A wonderful spread of refreshments to munch and drinks were present upon arrival and throughout the meeting to enjoy, plus the many artworks which cover the walls.


Paintings by Maria Rodriguez-Pope

Attendance Report:

Board of Directors: Dr. Dianne Anderson-Nickel, President; Dr. Melanie Ohm, Director and Secretary/Treasurer; Mitra Kamali, member; Muslimah Hameed (absent); Keith Johnson, member

Advisory Board: Judith Hillman-Butzine, MSW, co-founder; C-C Braun

Guests: Mike Butzine; Tsahai Dias; Mel Sanderson; Lucia Williams

As Dr. Dianne Anderson-Nickel, Board President, was delayed, Melanie, CAC meeting facilitator, suggested we hold off the business aspects of the meeting and focus on the rich body of CAC supported programming, both completed and in development.

Melanie thanked us all for being present and requested of each participant to introduce oneself & to answer the question: What work in community or the arts are you most excited about now?

          Dr. Melanie Ohm

painting by:
Sentrock Perez

Mitra Kamali, board member, spoke first discussing her role as an artist, engineer and CAC board member, originally from Iran. She also explained her position as an AZ. Humanities Scholar. Mitra has been a board member for only a couple of years; but has been contributing to the CAC since its conception. She discussed how invaluable this non-profit is to the planet: valuing human rights of all persons, the environment, diverse cultures and how the arts are a heartfelt means of communication; Practitioners utilize arts making and cultural stories as modalities to enrich the life journey of every person, individually and in community.

Artwork background:

Martin Moreno

Dennis Numkena




Tsahai Dias, guest, was born and raised in Brazil. She immigrated to the USA as a dancer: performed and taught for many years. Tsahai recently returned to Arizona State University while working full time to receive her Master's in Social Work. She is currently a caseworker with nonprofit, assisting persons over 18 to overcome issues such as addiction and depression. Tsahai has interfaced with community as a dancer activist focusing on domestic violence, a mentor and providing social services

Dr. Dianne Anderson-Nickel, board president, was at the first planning meeting of the CAC in March 2005 and all those thereafter Dianne spoke of having grown up in the South and moving to Arizona while still securing her doctoral degree. She works primarily in underserved communities and not only teaches K-8 music, but leads and mentors other teachers. She spoke of her personal need and now her students', to have an expanded understanding of the world of music through the music, arts and wisdom of many cultures and diverse perspectives. This is part of the richness of her experience in Arizona.

The CAC Celebrates and features projects and programs at regular meetings as well as larger, community focused forums. Our intent should be to help others, whether children, teens, people of middle age, or older adults, to use the arts as a means by which they can explore "the human condition (including her or his own condition) in and through time. Bolin, Paul E., Editorial, "The Value of Local History and Place Within Art Education", National Art Education Journal, July 2000, p.4

Mel Sanderson, guest, was introduced. He is an Army veteran from Arizona born into the Hopi and Navaho tribes. His current role in the community is not only as a student, but a program developer with young Native American Vets to assist them to return to a civilian world through community development programs with other tribal members who served this country. Mel also discussed specifically his grandfather, a Hopi Chief's history, a Hopi sent to Alcatraz for refusing to send the Hopi children of the tribe in the Four Corners area of AZ. to the Indian School in Phoenix, to be educated.

The story of the Alcatraz prisoners is one episode in an ongoing struggle between the Hopi people and the United States government. The late nineteenth century witnessed increased attacks on Hopi sovereignty and culture, as the United States government acted to "Americanize" the Hopi people. Imprisonment became the government's principal means of intimidation and punishment. The U.S. government wanted to "Americanize" the Hopi by indoctrinating them with Anglo-American ideals and extinguishing Hopi culture. The education of children was the centerpiece of a U.S. government policy of Manifest Destiny, and it was fiercely resisted by Hopi people.

Lucia Williams, guest, spoke concerning her many arts interests. Lucia is currently exploring photography through the artist skill sets of Cindy Sherman. Cindy Sherman is a contemporary master of socially critical photography. She is a key figure of the "Pictures Generation," a loose circle of American artists who came to artistic maturity and critical recognition during the early 1980s, a period notable for the rapid and widespread proliferation of mass media imagery. Lucia is also a singer and wonderful writer and has been engaged in the theater experience of performance! In considering her future, she expresses community service as a very important aspect of her young life. Her youth and enthusiasm along with Lucia's desire to generate and hold a place for peace in our world echoes the same conversation spoken from all invited guests.

Michael Butzine, advisory board, has a BFA in glass blowing from the University of Hawaii. He has been fortunate to travel the world and experienced cultures from as far away as Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, Europe, and across the USA. He returned to the desert where Michael was born stating "I am an artist, alchemist, human being and gallery owner with Michelle Meyer called SNOOD CITY NEON...on Grand Avenue." When there is something not being fulfilled in the world, we'd like to think it's our responsibility to go in and fill it. That's what I felt in becoming an artist. During my time as an artist, I've been finding a lot of people who want to do the same thing. So, what's going on in the world that we need more of? What are the roles of society that we lack? I believe the true artists of society fulfill those roles, and not take the path everyone else is!

Keith, Michael & Mitra

Keith Johnson, board member, is a Commissioned Artist with the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture, Arizona Arts Commission, Wolf Trap Head Start Programs and Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts and is now a certified Kennedy Center Artist!. Keith exposes students and teachers to the traditional folklore of West Africa. In addition, he brings knowledge and artistry to public and private schools to share interpretation and experience through music, art, storytelling and social studies. "My art is to create a Global Musical Village with musical instruments from around the world creating a positive experience in communities with recycled materials. My mission is P-M-A" Positive Mental Attitude" to see the positive things in life...the glass is half full, keeping an open mind. Live life to the fullest... Love life to the fullest. Music has a way of creating good vibrations and great memories for everyone involved. I wish everyone to have a special song that touches their heart a favorite song. Changing lives one note at a time; changing my life one student at a time. Music promotes teamwork; coming together to work together through melody, harmony & rhythm."

Judy Butzine, CAC co-found and director 2005 until 2018, advisory board Jan 2019- April 2021. "My background as a former health care profession of 20 plus years, teacher (H.S. youth in Maricopa County Jail for 8 years), MSW social worker and Human Rights advocate includes an additional 20 years of community arts interaction; facilitating youth and community building programs. The CAC Nine Guiding principles of Practices and introductory CAC web page describe our community engagement and programming development processes". Judy said a few words of gratitude for the incredible opportunities the CAC has been provided from the various programs and grants due to the commitment of the CAC Board of Directors for funding received to do this work of 14 years plus, receiving multiple awards.

3:15 New Business

New business was quickly introduced by Mitra Kamali as the Az. Humanities Scholar supporting the "Honoring the Earth, Honoring Us All" AZ. Humanities grant applications. Judy passed out the Az. Humanities Proposal Abstract

Project Start Date: January 2020

Project end date: April 30, 2021

Dennis Numkena

Hopi Tribe

Michael Lacapa


* CAC's Collaborative research project that draws on the history of White Mountain Apache(WMA) & Hopi questions, "How can learning from SW tribes having lived on their land for 1000's of years inform our understanding/action toward personal, societal, & environmental sustainability?

* CAC develops an integrated ArtEd/Environment (EE) "stewardship of the earth" curriculum: practices & skill sets for educators, students, artists, scholars, tribal members available online, supporting & promoting critical inquiry discussion on this subject.

* Multidisciplinary art-making techniques are also instructed, stimulating reflective, creative artistic outcomes viewed by the public Jan 2021-April 30, 2021 @ 3 arts exhibitions in urban sites & 3 accompanying public forums (inclusive of tribal members/youth); and community Earth Day event April 21, 2021.

* The Humanities basis for project is exploration of connections among ancient peoples and how contemporary society might learn from persons who have lived on their land in AZ. for 1000's of years. Judy brought literature and visual artifacts of the Hopi & White Mt. Apache to provide an overview of the subject matter for the ArtsEd/Environmental curriculum to be created and distributed on the internet by the CAC and trialed @ South Mt. High School with Magnet Arts including 7 teachers/900 art students in Fall of 2020. Information packets on this subject were provided to the three guests.

Paint 360 Mural Event: Mike Butzine Project Lead and Community Facilitator

Mike discussed his role as a CAC Advisory Board Member including Michelle Meyer his business partner.

At Unexpected Gallery in Central Phoenix, an old warehouse, Michael Butzine & an amazing team provided a 12 hour block of time for visual & performing artists of all backgrounds and ages to shape and experience introducing their many stories: Paint 360! Each of us has our own unique set of stories which shape our experiences of what it means to be alive at that time of our journey. On a hot Cinco de Mayo in Phoenix, Arizona, many street artists - mural and graffiti - came together to tell their stories in paint! In a festival atmosphere with food, music and dance, people connected as color flooded the exterior walls and fences of the Unexpected Gallery with symbols and imagery reflecting the intention of each artist. "Paint 360 is a cultural paint event focusing around the concepts of graffiti, murals, street art, acknowledgement, and transitions. To all the homies we just buffed out here at @Unexpected venue... Mike

Sponsors of the event included Snoodmen, owned by artist Michelle (Meesh) Meyer, and the Cultural Arts Coalition (CAC) CAC Director Dr. Melanie Ohm, on behalf of the CAC, said to Meesh, "We are so glad to promote arts for community development work. You and Michael have been bold in bringing people together who have different perspectives, cultures and fundamental ideologies which inform their art making." Melanie was there with Mitra Kamali, CAC board member, on Sunday to enjoy the scene & PAINT! Everyone engaged meeting new people and appreciating seeing the works in progress!!!


Mitra Kamali honoring the core value of Empathy

"Human Rights Video Project"

Melanie Ohm, project lead, with Lucia Williams and Mel Sanderson

Melanie provided a handout giving an overview of the project focus and the relationship developed with Chandler Gilbert Community College for the implementation of the project. After viewing 4 videos from Dr. Ohm's "Rock Music & Culture" class, Lucia and Mel, who took the course, share what they learned from the project.

In Closing: Honoring and Celebrating Judy!

At long last, we had time to celebrate our dear friend and leader, judy butzine. Thank you for your many years of wisdom, championship, community building, research, joy and art making. We love and appreciate you from full hearts. At the last, Keith pulled out a variety of percussion instruments to lead us in making a joyful noise together and filling the space with musical vibrations and love...a ceremony of gratitude.

From Judy

Thank you both, Dianne and Melanie, for arranging/facilitating CAC Board meeting. It was truly wonderful and very successful with heartwarming stories and reflections from our guests. The gifts bestowed upon me are received with so much gratitude, having worked alongside many of you all these years. We are truly a family and have built a strong cultural arts/advocacy non-profit to meet the needs and human rights of individuals and community.

Paintings by Carolina Parra & Louis Gutierrez


Mission: The Cultural Arts Coalition, Arizona (CAC) 501 (c)3 Coalition Arizona (CAC) incorporated in 2005 facilitates and promotes multidisciplinary arts and cultural experiences through educational youth and adult programming, exhibitions, and celebrations, purposefully documenting each experience for community reflection.

Vision: The CAC envisions individuals and communities enriched with creative practices, tools and skill sets to expand critical thinking and cultural awareness, thereby supporting a sense of belonging and respect within a larger community.

Philosophy: Since ancient human history, people have had a need to represent their beliefs, values and emotions in physical, artistic forms taking the shape of symbols, language, objects and performance. These metaphors can be more powerful than language as a means of communication. The CAC believes that everyone can use the arts to Reflect, Express and Discover, recording thought, emotion and experience in temporary or permanent means, personally and in community.

In Practice:The CAC builds upon individual and community capacities and resources through core values and guiding principles of practice (

  • Facilitated experiences focus on personal growth as well as community action, toward an enhanced quality of life for all.
  • Practitioners use art making and cultural stories as modalities to enrich the life journey of every person, individually and in community.
  • Documentation keeps stories and artistic milestones alive for remembrance and reflection, personally and collectively, in the form of published reports, curriculum, community events and exhibitions.