Light It Up


A new exhibition at the Center for Creative Photography demonstrates how one gallery in New York City revolutionized the way we view photography.

Garry Winogrand, New York City, 1968, gelatin silver print, 20 x 25 cm. Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona, Purchase. © The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

The year 1971 was a time for groundbreaking cultural changes, ranging from the airing of the first episode of Norman Lear’s beloved sitcom All in the Family, the first visitors entering the futuristic Walt Disney World, to the opening of LIGHT Gallery in New York City.

That last event may have gone unnoticed by much of the nation, but it caused a sea change in photography, the ripples from which still are being felt today. And starting this month, visitors to the Center of Creative Photography (CCP) will get to experience that splash for themselves.

CCP Chief Curator Becky Senf sums up why LIGHT started a revolution: “For a long time there had been a notion that photography wasn’t art because you used a camera, which was a

Photo Souja, Tennyson Schad, 1972. Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona: LIGHT Gallery Archive

machine, and so anything made with a machine clearly was not an art. And the LIGHT Gallery had a mission to change people’s perception of what photography would be.”

From 1971 until 1987, LIGHT showcased the works of some of the best photographers of the 20th century. “Two who were mainstays were Aaron Siskind and Harry Callahan,” explains Senf. “They benefited tremendously from having an institution that was dedicated to the sale of contemporary photography. But also people like Robert Mapplethorpe had his first gallery exhibition at LIGHT, and the gallery sold the work of Paul Strand and André Kertész. In later years, the gallery represented Ansel Adams. Because he was so famous and established, the money from the sale of his works allowed the gallery to show all kinds of young, new photographers who weren’t going to sell that much, but needed that kind of exposure to further their careers.”

The first director for LIGHT was Harold Jones, who previously had worked at the George Eastman House (now the George Eastman Museum). In 1974, Ansel Adams had an exhibition at the University of Arizona, and UA President John Schaefer asked Adams if he would give his archives to the university, instead of donating them to the Bancroft Library at Cal Berkeley. He ultimately agreed, but only if the archives included all of his related materials (negatives, biographical information, syllabi, etc.), and he had one other condition. According to Senf, Adams said, “‘If you want to put me in a photographic context, I would like to talk with you about that. The Bancroft sees me as an environmentalist, and I am that, but even more, I am a photographer.’”

Adams was good friends with Beaumont Newhall, who had been Harold Jones’ boss at the George Eastman House, and Newhall suggested that Dr. Schaefer speak with Jones about which photographers to include at the new center. One thing led to another, and Jones was hired to be the director of CCP. He brought his concepts that worked so well at LIGHT to CCP.

BD Vidibor, untitled, gelatin silver print, 17.8 x 27.6 cm. Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona, Gift of BD Vidibor. © BD Vidibor

Now, these 40-plus years later, CCP has the archives from LIGHT, and the exhibit debuting this month — called The Qualities of LIGHT: The Story of a Pioneering New York City Photography Gallery — will allow everyone to experience a bit of what that gallery was like. “Rather than simply exhibiting the photographers who showed there,” says Senf, “I wanted an exhibition that would suggest to the audience what were the significant qualities of this institution that made it so impactful and central to this culture-wide change in how we understand photography. And so the exhibition is organized around these five qualities: Possibility, that the gallery made it seem like a career as a photographer was a possibility, and they did that by setting higher prices and creating a space that really validated the medium. Community, the way in which the community felt that it had a home base at this institution, and it was a place where they could come together and feel the support of people who believed the same thing they did. The third section is called Fearless, because it was an innovative space that was willing to take all kinds of risks in how it approached what they showed, whom they showed, and how they showed. Transparent is the fourth section, which is about LIGHT being a space for learning, and the way in which it welcomed people and created an educational opportunity to better understand the medium. And the final section is Commitment. It’s about the way in which the gallery took its relationship with its artists seriously, and felt that how the gallery would be successful was committing itself to the support of the artists, and trying to transform their experience through the gallery by providing exclusive representation that offered meaningful financial support.”

TOP: Mickey Pallas, Victor Schrager, Director of LIGHT Gallery, at 724 Fifth Avenue, ca. 1976. Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona: LIGHT Gallery Archive. © Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona Foundation

Visitors to the exhibit will see a wide range of images from the archives, as well as documents, models of the galleries, and loans of photographs from current galleries that were heavily influenced by LIGHT. “We also have a great audio guide,” Senf notes. “It’s the first time that the center has done one, and you’re going to hear the voices of the people that I interviewed in my research, talking about their experiences visiting the gallery or showing their work there.”

Anyone expecting to see something conventional, staid, or dated should take note: “It’s a very unusual show for the CCP, but you can’t take this innovative, forwardthinking, risk-embracing institution, and then do a boring, safe show,” sums up Senf. “That wouldn’t make any sense. It felt really important to honor that ethos of experimentation and boldness in the way that we treated the exhibition.

Meet CCP Director Anne Breckenridge Barrett

There’s a lot going on at the Center for Creative Photography, and we asked Barrett to update us on how she came to be the director, and what visitors to the center can look forward to in the near future.

How did your interest in photography begin?

I went to Interlochen Arts Academy, a boarding school for the arts in high school, and from a very early age I was immersed in the fine arts. I ended up majoring in photography and art history at NYU and American University. It was during this time in New York City that my love of photography was born. The late ’80s and early ’90s were an incredible time for art making in New York, and I soaked up all I could. Personally, my work concentrated on photo essays documenting the lower east side and Bowery as those neighborhoods were declining — long before gentrification set in.

What brought you to Tucson?

A hundred thousand fine prints representing more than 2000 artists, 8 million archival objects representing the life’s work of over 270 artists, all housed in the premier institution for photography in North America! Also, there is no place like Tucson, and I have my husband to thank for introducing me to this perfect place to call home. He was born and raised in Tucson, as was his father, and after living and working in museums back East for many years, I was lucky enough to meet him in law school and we decided to come West after graduating. We lived in Tucson for 10 years, and then moved to Chicago, where I served as the Director of Collections and Exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. But then, as luck would have it, a leadership position opened up at the CCP, and I was able to return to Tucson and engage in the work I love in the place I have grown to call home.

What changes are ahead for CCP?

There are so many exciting things on the horizon. Our priorities as an institution are: investment, engagement, and access, and over the past two years we have made solid strides in each area. Recently we brought in the largest acquisition since the center was founded and celebrated a wonderful night with the artist David Hume Kennerly, in a discussion with Jon Meacham. Going forward, we will break ground on a new interdisciplinary gallery where our collection will be integrated into the curriculum of students across all disciplines at the University of Arizona, and where the public will experience innovative ways of interacting with the collection. We are consistently growing our membership program, and have taken our members on wonderful trips to New York, Paris and Carmel, California, where we attend art fairs, enjoy behindthe- scenes experiences relevant to photography and fine art, and deepen our sense of community. I formed a leadership giving circle earlier this year and I am full of gratitude for the support shown by members of the Tucson community who believe in our mission and trajectory. I am also humbled and grateful to work with the new Vice President for the Arts, Andy Schultz, who is creating the Arizona Arts division to align with UA President Robbins’s strategic plan for the University. It is truly an incredible time for the arts here at the university.

What are the plans for the David Hume Kennerly archive?

The David Hume Kennerly archive will serve students and the public for generations to come. Visiting scholars, UA faculty and students, curators, and artists will have the opportunity to engage with one of the most important photojournalism archives of the 20th and 21st centuries by connecting the archive to areas of student activity across campus. From journalism, political science, history and more, the Kennerly Archive will become a key component of the CCP’s interdisciplinary offerings. The current exhibition in Old Main will remain there for the next year, and in the summer of 2020, we will use the archive in an interdisciplinary exhibition exploring photojournalism and politics, focusing on its enduring impact on how we document our history and culture. This exhibition will, of course, be very timely given the presidential campaign of 2020.

Live help

Meet the National Philanthropy Day Award Winners


Dominic Ortega

Outstanding Philanthropist

Dominic Ortega is legendary for two things: His exceptional photography skills and his smile-generating handstands.

Oh yes, and for one other accomplishment: Using these talents and much more to raise funds, mentor youth and bring awareness to dozens of service organizations in Tucson.

Ortega, 62, attends up to seven fundraising events a week. He hosts them, buys event tickets, connects people who could help each other, serves on boards, and takes plenty of pictures that he posts on Facebook. “It’s a mission of love,” the retired marketing specialist says.

“I think my photos show the love I feel for my friends and their causes,” the self-taught photographer says. “My photos and Facebook posts tell these stories and encourage others to give their time, talent and treasure.”

As for the handstand? That started at a fundraiser. He and his wife Myriam acted as hosts for a dinner by a University of Arizona Club. The annual event typically raised around $20,000 to $30,000.

“I wanted to shake it up a bit,” Ortega recalls. “In a tuxedo and from the stage I said I would do whatever it would take to raise more money for the event. I flipped over and started walking on my hands. We grossed $325,000 that night.”

Now, organizers of the 10 to 12 galas the couple attends each year encourage him to show off this maneuver. “It is especially fun representing the older crowd after some youngster has ‘busted a move’ inside a large dance circle,” he says.

There is a short list of interests and causes that attract Ortega, but a much longer one of those he supports. “My greatest passions are education, health care and the support of women and children,” he states. “I also try to give my time to groups that will have the greatest impact on the community.”

He works for and with the American Heart Association, YWCA, Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona, El Rio Foundation, Casa Maria Soup Kitchen and dozens more organizations. The self-described Wildcat for life is involved with several University of Arizona colleges and clubs, as well as the Alumni Association, Hispanic Alumni Club and Student Alumni Ambassadors.

His presence and efforts don’t go unnoticed. “He inspires and motivates other community members to be more involved simply by the sheer number of events he personally supports every year,” says Wendy Erica Werden, manager of community investment with Tucson Electric Power.

Ortega has been named the 2019 Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year, but his reward for this work is more internal.

“The secret to happiness is in the genuine act of caring for others, service to others and giving to others,” he says. “It is looking in the mirror and saying, ‘Did I do my part? Did I make a difference?’”


Julie Ragland

Outstanding Fundraising Executive

It takes a little bit of magic to raise funds for a nonprofit. At least that’s how Julie Ragland sees it.

“I think of fundraising as a bit of a magical exchange,” says Ragland, who has been development director for The Rialto Theatre Foundation for three years. “I’m looking for people who are looking for me or, more accurately, my organization so that they can give gifts that are meaningful to them.”

As the foundation’s first-ever development director, Ragland, 42, has been able to weave her magic to great effect. Her efforts pumped up membership at the downtown entertainment venue from 300 to 1,700. She helmed the successful “I Rock the Rialto” capital campaign that raised $1 million to rehab the theater’s historic building. She also manages the foundation’s Giving Program that supports other organizations.

For this and other accomplishments, Ragland has been named the 2019 Outstanding Fundraising Executive.

Ragland’s career path wasn’t clear in 2001 after the Chicago-born and Wisconsin-raised University of Arizona student graduated with a degree in anthropology. She took an entry-level job at the Humane Society of Southern Arizona, cleaning kennels and taking in homeless animals. That opened her eyes to working for nonprofits.

She stuck with community work through the Birth & Women’s Health Center, Fox Tucson Theatre and Center for Biological Diversity.

It was at this last post, where she worked with major donors, that Ragland had her “aha” moment. “I realized how my strengths — my ability to build strong, meaningful connections with people and organize data and systems on the back end — lend themselves really well to development work,” she says.

And she’s good at it, having helped to raise more than $8 million for these organizations.

It turns out the anthropology degree does serve her well in her career. It enabled her to understand people’s motivations and how they are shaped by where they come from. “I’m really a people-person, which is one reason I studied anthropology,” Ragland says.

“The thing that brings me the most joy has been meeting the people in this community who make it vibrant and unique.”

Ragland is all in for a development career. She’ll lead the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Southern Arizona Chapter after serving as membership chair and, currently, president-elect. She was introduced to the organization by mentor Deb Dale, who earned the Outstanding Fundraising Executive Award in 2008.

Ragland has helped her small foundation staff sharpen their skills to become a proficient development team.

Curtis McCrary, for one, is grateful for Ragland’s skills. McCrary is the executive director of The Rialto Theatre Foundation, as well as executive director and general manager of the theater.

Her work has established the venue as a “pre-eminent arts nonprofit” in the community, he notes.

“She has been integral in imbuing the Rialto with the ‘spirit of philanthropy,’” he says, “something that we were largely lacking before her arrival.”


Michael Cyrino

Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser

Professionally, Michael Cyrino is known as the manager of corporate giving for Arizona Complete Health, which offers health care plans, programs and services.

He’s coordinated distribution of funds from the company’s community reinvestment program to pay for mental health first aid training, youth education on resisting drug use and peer pressure, the Pima County Sheriff’s Crisis Canine Response Team, and more.

After giving all day, Cyrino spends his free time giving even more. It’s why he has been recognized as Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year for 2019.

“Managing corporate philanthropy is my job,” says Cyrino, 32, “but giving to my community is my passion. Passion doesn’t stop at 5 p.m. and neither do the needs of our community.”

The Southern California native recalls volunteering at an early age with the guidance of his grandparents. One memory is of selling Tootsie Rolls outside of grocery stores with Knights of Columbus members from his family’s church.

“I have many fond and vivid memories of wearing my yellow vest that was way too big and ringing my little bell,” he says.

Cyrino moved from Albuquerque to Tucson in 2013 following a visit with a friend who introduced him to eegee’s and Sonoran hot dogs. “The rest is history,” Cyrino says with a laugh.

He spends his volunteer time working on boards for organizations such as the Ronald McDonald House Charities, Social Venture Partners, Greater Tucson Leadership and the Humane Society of Southern Arizona. They allow him to fulfill his desire to support Ronald McDonald House, serve as a mentor and help with dog welfare efforts.

Other organizations he’s volunteered for include the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Centurions, El Rio Vecinos and the Education Enrichment Foundation.

He likes to help people connect to the community. “It’s really about relationships,” he says. “When one thrives, we all thrive.”

Cyrino is willing to put himself out there for the causes he cares about. He has rappelled down the side of a building wearing a green tutu, danced the tango blindfolded, competed in a spelling bee, and acted as a celebrity bartender.

“There isn’t much I wouldn’t consider if it would raise money for a good cause,” he says. “I have been very fortunate to build a personal brand that excites the community, and if I can leverage that to raise money for a cause, why not? For me, it’s just the right thing to do, and it’s fun.”

That combination of behind-the scenes work and public — some may say wacky — displays of support is what’s key to Cyrino’s leadership style, says Kate Maguire Jensen, president and chief executive offer of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Arizona.

“He is equally adept at working a room,” Jensen says, “and having a meaningful, private conversation with a constituent or potential donor.”

The David and Lura Lovell Foundation

Outstanding Foundation Philanthropist

A family foundation reflects what’s important to its trustees. For the late Lura Lovell, that was to help spread advocacy and education as far and wide as possible.

“My mother always spoke of the ripple effect,” says Ann Lovell, the second of David and Lura’s four children. “Drop a stone into a lake and watch the ripples. Live a good life and help others and the ripples of that keep spreading out.”

The 25-year-old David and Lura Lovell Foundation has focused its funding on mental health, integrative health and wellness, youth access to the arts, and gender parity. It has been designated 2019 Outstanding Foundation Philanthropist.

One signature project is the Arizona End of Life Care Partnership. The foundation collaborated with Community Foundation for Southern Arizona to fund nine Tucson organizations and one statewide partner that spreads the word about advance directives, educates about end of life care options, and seeks to, “fundamentally change the way we talk about death.”

Lovell Foundation and Tucson’s Marshall Foundation co-funded an award-winning documentary, Passing On, produced by Arizona Public Media and narrated by National Public Radio’s Scott Simon, which preceded this initiative. The partnership now is considered the country’s largest funded community-based end-of-life-effort.

This project is personal. David Lovell, who died of cancer in 1993, spent his last months selling the family’s Toledo, Ohiobased chemical company in order to create the foundation. David relied on integrative medicine techniques to alleviate suffering through his illness.

After David died, Lura created the foundation in 1994 in Ohio, but spent more time at the vacation home that the couple bought in Tucson in 1989. Lura worked full time alongside Ann on the foundation until Lura died in 2013. “It was her baby,” Ann says. “She participated in every part that she could.”

Ann served as executive director for a decade until she transitioned to professional management. She still serves as president and chair of the board, but has stepped away from day-to-day activities, believing in a team approach to philanthropy. She works closely with Executive Director John Amoroso, Office & Grants Manager Ann Borden, consultant Christina Rossetti, and nine other Trustees and Board Advisors, including Tucson’s Bonnie Kampa, to amplify the foundation’s impact.

By focusing on initiatives instead of programs and operations, the foundation tackles social issues using the collective brainpower of partners to make big changes.

The Bravewell Collaborative, for instance, spurred acceptance of integrative medicine and has led to more than 80 programs in medical schools worldwide. Funding has expanded residency and fellowship programs at the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine and faculty training at University of Arizona College of Nursing.

Dr. Mindy Fain, co-director of the UA Center on Aging, has seen how Lura’s ripple effect works. Lovell Foundation funding allowed the center to permanently include a living will component in the medical curriculum that Dr. Fain says, “will impact future medical school classes and their patients well beyond the life of the grant.”

Students at Salpointe Catholic High School

Outstanding Youths in Philanthropy

Some 1,200 teenagers get bragging rights this year as the 2019 Outstanding Youths in Philanthropy.

They make up the student body of Salpointe Catholic High School. Last school year they spent more than 42,000 hours on charitable works.

Service is a hallmark of Salpointe students, whose education includes living their faith through good works. Every student is required to complete 15 hours of service each year. Last school year that totaled more than 23,000 hours — 23 percent more than what was required of them.

The beneficiaries of that work included Ben’s Bells, Boy Scouts, Kino Border Initiative, Gospel Rescue Mission and St. Luke’s Home.

A program that started in 2016 goes a step further. IMPACT Service Days tie directly to course work. “The IMPACT Service Days are unique as they align course curriculum to justice on a much broader sense,” says Jennifer Harris, the school’s director of advancement. “We ask the question, ‘How does our high school curriculum link to justice?’”

Freshmen attack hunger and poverty; sophomores focus on stewardship of God’s creation; juniors learn compassion by helping the poor and vulnerable; and seniors design projects on social justice issues. In the two November days of service, more than 60 partner organizations and sites receive student assistance while teaching them about the lives of the people they serve.

That’s the experience of Zoey Delgado, a Salpointe senior who has participated in IMPACT Service Days her entire high school career. She recalls one incident in particular.

Last year she was among a group of Salpointe students who organized a field day for an elementary school in which many students were from low-income families. The high schoolers gave the kids a fun day and talked with them about healthy living.

One child spoke with Zoey about vaping and how it happens in that child’s home. Zoey says she felt good to be able to have that conversation. “To be a positive influence in these kids’ lives was really special,” she says.

Through the IMPACT program, Zoey has helped paint a mural at Elvira Elementary School and share Communion with homebound elders, many of whom were sick and bedridden.

In this final year of high school, Zoey also is involved with the National Honor Society; Assisteens, which is run by the Assistance League of Tucson and was a 2016 Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy winner; and Kino Teens, a Kino Border Initiative network.

This level of community involvement is not unusual for Salpointe students, she says. Many of her friends belong to various service organizations.

“I’m very fortunate to be going to Salpointe in the first place,” Zoey says. “To have the opportunity to help with projects and interact with people who aren’t as fortunate as us is a touching experience for us. We learn a lot about gratitude and how we can affect others by helping out.”


Tucson Federal Credit Union

Outstanding Corporate or Corporate Foundation Philanthropist

Once a year, each employee at Tucson Federal Credit Union (TFCU) has the opportunity to not report for work.

Instead, they are encouraged to show up at a nonprofit’s project location, ready to do good deeds for the Tucson community. And it’s still a workday of sorts because TFCU pays its employees for eight hours each year to volunteer.

This is one of several ways that TFCU contributes to a better Tucson. These actions have led to it being named Outstanding Corporate/Corporate Foundation Philanthropist of 2019.

The credit union’s motto is “Tucson Matters!”, and its mission is to use TFCU’s resources to help residents meet their basic needs.

“When people find housing, live in safety and eat nutritious food, then we know that they have a better chance of improving their future,” says Susan Stansberry, TFCU’s president and chief executive officer.

The company’s philanthropy isn’t focused on a handful of nonprofits or particular causes. Instead, it prefers to respond to the needs of the community as various sectors define them. “This allows us quickly to adapt our community engagement to the social needs and issues occurring in Tucson,” Stansberry explains.

To that end, organizations can appeal for support through the TFCU Gives application. A company committee made up of employees makes decisions about group volunteer projects.

One big project is delivering free financial education to a variety of residents. They include felons on probation, Pima Community College students taking basic education classes, low-income clients of the Primavera Foundation and teens training for culinary careers in classes supported by the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.

Stansberry walks the walk, according to Becky O’Hara, director of development for the University of Arizona Cancer Center. When O’Hara held a similar post with the Arizona Oncology Foundation, she observed Stansberry working on boards and empowering employees to contribute to communities in need.

“Susan’s leadership is remarkable,” says O’Hara, “and she is always ready to volunteer with staff at nonprofit events.

“Susan has made a passionate commitment to ensure that TFCU serves as a business role model for social consciousness and corporate responsibility.”

That commitment has translated to substantial amounts of volunteer services and financial contributions.

In 2018 alone, 92 percent of TFCU’s 146 employees gave 4,231 volunteer hours in service to 136 organizations. The company donated $155,254 to nonprofit groups.

Beneficiaries have included Pima County JTED, Aviva Children’s Services, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Arizona, Boys & Girls Club of Tucson, Tu Nidito, Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation and the Erik Hite Foundation.

Philanthropy is a natural outgrowth of the company. Says Stansberry: “As a credit union with a community charter, we believe this to be part of our DNA.”

Live help
Tucson Lifestyle Magazine Silent Sky Banner

An Extraordinary Star

Astronomy, the achievements of women of science, and our place in the universe are all explored in an ATC production that features a gifted, Tucson-based performer.

Scott Barker

“There’s so much that’s relatable for me,” observes Veronika Duerr about the character she portrays in Arizona Theatre Company’s production of Silent Sky. “In the very opening moments of the play, Henrietta is onstage by herself looking up at the sky, and she admits to always searching for something extraordinary. That she’s never been able to be satisfied with just enough. And I have always felt like that; I have a desire to live an extraordinary life. To do something extra special.”

Image of Veronika Duerr
Veronika Duerr Photo by Vanie Poyey

Duerr’s life has, indeed, been a series of exceptional accomplishments, and she can add Silent Sky in bold characters to that list. Lauren Gunderson’s play, based on real-life Harvard College Observatory astronomer Henrietta Swan Leavitt, takes audiences both on the scientific search for where we are in the universe, as well as where each of us fits into the glittering expanse of humanity.

It is a perfect fit for Duerr, who — having just recently moved to Tucson with her husband Sean and their baby — is navigating a new world. And she has long been an explorer, both of the cities in which she’s lived, but also the craft of the theater.

Growing up in Atlanta, Georgia, she discovered her calling when she was barely out of diapers. “My parents took me to the theater, and I remember the first play I saw being a touring musical production of Peter Pan when I was in kindergarten,” she reflects. “The next day in school all I would do is draw pictures of the different scenes and tell everybody what had happened, and about the sets and costumes. I was just enamored of it.”

It wasn’t long before she was watching mainstage productions at Atlanta’s prestigious Alliance Theatre, and dreaming of the day when she would be in the footlights. Showing her talents in school productions was a big step in her development. “I would say that I was a drama kid through and through,” she says of her formative years. “I didn’t miss out on any high school experiences, but I was so super-focused that I was doing community theater, as well as theater programs downtown, drama camps, productions at school, drama club and all that.”

She enrolled at the Savannah College of Art and Design, where she prepared to lead a far-from-ordinary life of telling truths through the art of professional make-believe. After graduating, she took a big leap of faith. “I started a theatre company called The Weird Sisters Theatre Project,” she notes, “which is committed to putting women into the power positions of director, playwright and producer. That came about because when I was living in Atlanta in my 20s and trying to get directing and producing jobs, fairly often I would be passed over for an untested male. I was like, ‘Let’s just build something where we can create a body of work to represent ourselves, and then maybe we’ll start getting the work that we want.’”

Named for characters in Macbeth, the theater company has given a huge boost to the careers of the women who produced and directed its productions. “Everybody involved has really benefited from it, and it’s been awesome,” says Duerr.

Her journey to the Old Pueblo encompassed numerous trips back and forth across the country for job opportunities. “I went from Atlanta to New York, back to Atlanta, then LA, Atlanta, then Lowell, Massachusetts, and finally Arizona. I always went back to Atlanta to save up some money before the next adventure!” she says with a laugh.

The adventures show no signs of letting up. Though ATC audiences will watch her portray a scientist from 100 years ago, theatergoers in Scotland recently saw her in a very different role. “It’s really out there,” she says of her one-woman show. “It’s called GLOCKENSPIELSEXPARTYBAVARIA GOODBYE. It’s a fast, funny, sexy comedy about an agoraphobic phone sex dominatrix who goes on a whirlwind journey through Bavaria, as well as deep within herself, to rescue a friend in need from the claws of a mythical beast.”

Duerr wrote the piece with her New York-based friend Johnny Drago, and despite the nontraditional subject matter, she says she can identify with key components. “I have a social anxiety disorder that can manifest itself in agoraphobia, and I’ve worked on that my entire life,” she reveals. “My parents came over from Germany in the 1970s, and all my family still lives there in a small town. I knew that I wanted to touch on the ideas of agoraphobia, but also someone who is capable of being an extrovert, and to be whoever other people need her to be, but can’t always do it for herself.”

Though Silent Sky wasn’t written specifically for her, it easily could have been. Playwright Lauren Gunderson, a longtime friend of Duerr and her husband, explains, “Since I first wrote the play, I have always wanted Veronika to do this role.”

Photo of Playwright Lauren Gunderson
Playwright Lauren Gunderson Photo by Kirsten Lara Getchall

Gunderson is very comfortable writing about science, and the roles that women have had in discoveries, and this play gives her the opportunity to explore things from several sides. “One reason I wanted to write it is that oftentimes we see stories of women — even celebrated, strong characters — but they are alone,” she elaborates. “They are in a man’s world, or they are only in the world of their family. What’s interesting about this story is Henrietta is one of several incredibly brilliant female scientists who worked at the Harvard Observatory at the same time. So we have the characters of Willamina Fleming and Annie Cannon, both true, historical characters, as well as Henrietta. And then we added Henrietta’s sister Margaret, who held a more traditional female role, kind of wife/ mother/domestic. So we have this quartet of women who tell us the story, which makes it the story of not just one woman, but of four different, amazing ones.”

In the early part of the 20th century, Leavitt was a “computer” at the observatory, doing calculations to arrive at a method of determining the distance from earth to other galaxies. “The question of this play is ‘where are we?’” Gunderson comments. “That’s kind of a general question, but it can mean a lot of things the more you dig. For the scientists in the play, it means, ‘where are we in the universe … how big is it?’ We can’t know where we are until we know how big the thing is. That is part of the science that Henrietta was able to crack into for the first time in human history. And it’s a deeper question about where we are in terms of the relationship between men and women, and human, social and political progress.”

Lest anyone think that this will be an egghead play, chockfull of baffling scientific theories, Gunderson interjects, “I have written about science for the majority of my career, so I have an instinct of how to do it, what are too many details, what’s too much math.”

She also notes that there are unexpected elements to the play, including very strong visual and musical components. “There is a theatricality to Henrietta’s science. It’s based in almost a musicality because the astronomy that she was able to uncover is about patterns and amplitude. She is looking at those patterns in terms of light, but in the theater we can use it for light as well as sound. It’s a really cool exploration for any theater because of what it asks in terms of lighting, scenic and sound designers … it brings out the best of theater.”

And if that’s not enough to entice people, she adds that there also is an unconventional romance in the piece. “There’s a love story, but it’s not one that you might anticipate. Neither of the lovers expect, or even want, to be in love. It’s a bit of an accidental, ‘Wait a minute … what’s happening here?’ sort of thing. It’s fun and refreshing.”

And while the characters in the play explore their places in the vastness of existence, and the niches they fit into in the lives of others, the playwright and the lead actress will both be exploring life in a city that has been called an “astronomy capital.” Gunderson says that she has never been to Tucson, and is looking forward to the chance to see it during the run of her play. Duerr has lived in the city a short while, but is rapidly acclimating to it. She loves the opportunity to hike around the state, ski when the weather accommodates, and indulge in one of the key features at her home. “I love swimming in my pool. That’s a new thing, to have a swimming pool. It feels so luxurious!” she exclaims.

Live help

Curtain Going Up!

Get your tickets now for another amazing season! Here are a few of the must-see performances.

A History of Violins

Celebrating the 250th anniversary of the birth of a mastermind who changed the musical landscape forever is no small undertaking. Fortunately, the Tucson Symphony Orchestra is more than up to the task of honoring Ludwig von Beethoven with performances that include Yekwon Sunwoo playing the Piano Concerto No. 3 (Sept. 20, 22, 2019); the Symphony No. 5 (Dec. 6, 8, 2019); Symphonies Numbers 1 and 6 (Feb. 14, 16, 2020); as well as a whole bunch of Beethoven symphonies played during the Masterworks Series (No. 4 on Oct. 5-6, 2019; Numbers 2 and 8, Jan. 11-12, 2020; No. 3, Feb. 29-March 1, 2020).

The TSO also will perform the monumental Mahler Symphony No. 2, “Resurrection” (April 3, 5, 2020), with Maestro José Luis Gomez on the podium, and Bruce Chamberlain directing the TSO Chorus.

Each season, we always expect a lot of star power to radiate from the stage when the TSO plays, and 2019-2020 will be no exception, with concerts featuring guitar virtuoso Sharon Isbin performing a concerto by John Corigliano (Nov. 15, 17, 2019); violin superstar Tessa Lark playing a folk-music-influenced piece that was written for her by Michael Torke (Oct. 25, 27, 2019); and Paul Huang playing Samuel Barber’s immensely popular Violin Concerto (March 13, 15, 2020).

Among the numerous delights awaiting subscribers to the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra’s season are the opportunity to hear Melanie Chae perform Tchaikovsky’s gorgeous Piano Concerto No. 1 (March 14-15, 2020); and Andrea Trovato play Gershwin’s jazz-infused Rhapsody in Blue (April 25-26, 2020).

The Arizona Friends of Chamber Music continue to bring many of the best musicians in the world right to our doorstep, with a season that will include the Russian String Orchestra (Oct. 23, 2019) playing works by Dvorak, Schnittke and Hindemith; the much-loved Takács Quartet returning (Dec. 4, 2019) for a concert that includes two Beethoven quartets and a Haydn quartet); and exciting new groups such as Neave Trio (Dec. 12, 2019) playing a program of all female composers, including Jennifer Higdon; and Lineage Percussion (Feb. 23, 2020) ably demonstrating the many ways that their instruments can be the heart and soul of an orchestra.

The groundwork for so much of the popular classical repertoire was laid back in the 17th and 18th centuries. It is the mission of the Arizona Early Music Society to give audiences the opportunity to hear this outstanding music (and that of other eras), played by some of the finest musicians in the world, in intimate concert settings. Included in this season’s programming will be the group Quicksilver playing a program of Extravagant and Virtuosic Music from 17th-Century Germany (Dec. 8, 2019); Agave Baroque, joined by countertenor Reginald Mobley, to perform a concert (Jan. 19, 2020) of composers born in the Americas, including African-American composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries; and legendary violinist Rachel Barton Pine with Trio Settecento in a program of works by Arcangelo Corelli and his contemporaries (March 22, 2020).

Tucson Guitar Society consistently provides the community with exciting music from guitarists with international reputations, as well as some spectacular homegrown talent. Among the highlights will be Duo Assad, the Grammy-winning brothers Sérgio and Odair (Nov. 2-3, 2019) whose performances showcase the beauty and the versatility of their instruments; and David Russell (Feb. 22-23, 2020), a world-renowned instrumentalist who will not only perform solo, but also present a recital of the finalists of his David Russell Bach Prize (Feb. 26, 2020).

Trumpeter Ingrid Jensen jazzes it up for UA Presents on March 3, 2020. Photo by Jimmy Katz

UA Presents will feature a number of not-to-be-missed artists, including the eclectic Kronos Quartet (Jan. 18, 2020); violinist extraordinaire Itzhak Perlman (March 1, 2020); and for fans of mindblowing jazz, trumpeter Ingrid Jensen (March 3, 2020).

Be sure to check the schedules online for the concerts by the UA Fred Fox School of Music (, and Pima Community College ( index.html ). The quality of both the faculty performances and student recitals is incredible, and the ticket prices are very pocketbook friendly.

OK, Chorale

Whether you have an obsession with oratorio, you’re inclined toward arias, or show stoppers set your feet to tapping, you’ll find lots to love this season.

The TSO will be joined by both vocal groups and soloists, including for a concert of works by Rossini, with soprano Federica Lombardi and the TSO Chorus (Jan. 24, 26, 2020). Renée Fleming, one of the most acclaimed singers of our time, whose performances have included operas, musicals and programs of jazz and pop standards, joins the TSO for one evening (Feb. 6, 2020) as part of the Tucson Desert Song Festival.

Arizona Opera will stage several beloved classics, including La Bohème (Feb. 1-2, 2020) and Ariadne auf Naxos (April 11-12, 2020), as well as present some newer works, such as the Frank Lloyd Wright-themed Shining Brow (Oct. 5-6, 2020), the McCarthy-era Fellow Travelers (Nov. 16-17, 2019), and a reprise of the AZ Opera-commissioned work Riders of the Purple Sage (March 7-8, 2020).

True Concord Voices & Orchestra [see story, page 16] specializes in the alchemy that results from singers and other instruments coming together. With a theme this season of In Genius, you know you’ll hear some of the most beautiful combinations imaginable, especially with concerts such as the Mozart & da Vinci offering (Nov. 22-24, 2019) that will include a new work by Jocelyn Hagen based on the great inventor’s notebooks. The works of Shakespeare also will be honored (Oct. 11-13, 2019), as well as the melding of Goethe’s text and Brahms’ divine music (Feb. 21-23, 2020).

You’ll hear some very familiar choral pieces during SASO’s concert season, including two works that are so popular they have found their way into countless movie soundtracks: Carmina Burana (Nov. 16-17. 2019), and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 (April 25-26, 2020), both with soloists and The Helios Ensemble.

UA Presents will welcome to town a variety of exciting vocalists, including Lila Downs, joined by Grandeza Mexicana Folk Ballet Company and Mariachi Femenil (Oct. 16, 2019), and classically trained cabaret singer Cécile McLorin Salvant (April 8, 2020) with The Aaron Diehl Trio.

Musicals, both new and classic, will abound in 2019-2020. Look for a full season from Broadway in Tucson that will include Anastasia (Nov. 19-24, 2019), about a mysterious woman who may be a surviving member of the Romanov family; an adaptation of Chazz Palminteri’s oneman show A Bronx Tale (March 24-29, 2020) into a full-blown song-and-dance 1960s spectacular; and Come From Away (June 2-7, 2020) based on the true story of the towns in Newfoundland that took in stranded passengers during 9/11.

Arizona Theatre Company stages a 50-year-old work that continues to be topical, Cabaret (Nov. 30-Dec. 29, 2019), along with a newer musical that also touches on issues of intolerance, The Legend of Georgia McBride (March 7-28, 2020).

Get to the Pointe

Dance continues to have a strong presence in the Old Pueblo, with full seasons by Ballet Tucson and UA Dance, as well as a number of big companies performing as part of the UA Presents schedule.

Ballet Tucson will present Jekyll & Hyde, Oct. 31, Nov. 1, Nov. 3, 2019. Photo by Ed Flores

Among the highlights are the return of BT’s steampunk-driven Jekyll & Hyde production (Oct. 31, Nov. 1, Nov. 3, 2019), as well as Balanchine’s Serenade (Jan. 31, Feb. 1-2, 2020) along with the Ballet Tucson premiere of Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco (March 13-15, 2020).

UA Dance highlights the strengths of its student dancers throughout the year, with special emphasis on up-and-coming talent during In the Wings (Dec. 5-8, 2019) and Curtain Call (April 23-May 2, 2020). Audiences also can view the skills of some of the faculty and guest artists during concert such as Premium Blend (Nov. 13-17, 2019).

Also on campus, UA Presents will thrill audiences with the innovative work of Brazilian troupe Grupo Corpo (Feb. 8, 2020), and the comic-yet-intense Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo (March 18, 2020).

I Remember Drama

Dierdra McDowell stars in Down to Eartha for Invisible Theatre Nov. 22-23, 2019.

Few theatrical companies in the country present the type of season — thought-provoking, heartwarming and laughter-laden — that Invisible Theatre does. This year, they will present a number of Arizona or Southwest premieres, including the historically based Last Train to Nibroc (Oct. 22-Nov. 3, 2019), which centers on two strangers on a locomotive that also bears the bodies of the great American writers Nathanael West and F. Scott Fitzgerald. The season also includes Becoming Dr. Ruth (Feb. 11-23, 2020), a play about the famous sex-therapist; the return of playwright/actor Steve Solomon in From Brooklyn to Broadway (March 14-15, 2020); and a show about the career and activism of singer/actress Eartha Kitt, Down to Eartha (Nov. 22-23, 2019).

Arizona Theatre Company has a very diverse season, including Lauren Gunderson’s Silent Sky (Oct. 22-Nov. 9, 2019), based on the true story of 19th century astronomer Henrietta Leavitt. Athol Fugard’s moving tale of apartheidera South Africa, “Master Harold” … And the Boys (Jan. 18-Feb. 8, 2020) shows how timeless its message about humanity is; and Wendy MacLeod imagines a group of middle-aged women turning amateur sleuths in the comic Women in Jeopardy! (April 18-May 9, 2020).

Arizona Repertory Theatre proves how exciting it can be to watch burgeoning young actors sink their teeth into exciting works, with plays such as The Wolves (Feb. 8-23, 2020), which centers on a girls’ soccer team; and Shakespeare’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona (March 16-29, 2020), one of the earliest of the Bard’s comedies, which demonstrates his knack for works that rely on disguises, presumed deaths, and love winning out in the end.

There are numerous other theatrical companies in town whose performances are worthy of your time and attention. Checkout our monthly Datebook for productions by The Rogue Theatre, Something Something Theatre Company, Borderlands Theater, Live Theatre Workshop, Winding Road Theater Ensemble, Unscrewed Theater, as well as other groups.


Whether you’re a film fan, a devotee of music, an aficionado of live theater, or some hybrid, chances are there is a festival coming up you won’t want to miss. Here is a partial list for 2019-20:

Arizona Underground Film Festival (Sept. 13-22, 2019)

Film Fest Tucson (Oct. 10-12, 2019)

Tucson Terrorfest (Oct. 24-27, 2019)

Tucson Comic-con (Nov. 1-3, 2019)

Loft Film Fest (Nov. 7-14, 2019)

Tucson International Jewish Film Festival (Jan. 2020)

Tucson Jazz Festival (Jan. 10-20, 2020)

Tucson Desert Song Festival (Jan. 16-Feb. 6, 2020)

Tucson Festival of Books (March 2020)

Arizona Friends of Chamber Music’s Winter Festival (March 1-8, 2020)

Wild West Steampunk Convention (March 2020)

Blues & Heritage Festival (March 2020)

Arizona International Film Festival (April 2020)

Tucson International Mariachi Festival (April 2020)

The Tucson Folk Festival (April 4-5, 2020)

BELOW: The Legend of Georgia McBride will be the ATC musical offering March 7-28, 2020. Artwork courtesy of ATC

Trio Settecento, with Rachel Barton Pine, thrills AEMS audiences on March 22, 2020. Photo by Janette Beckman

For Sale: Ten of the Most Expensive Homes in Tucson

What kind of home could you buy here if you had $3-5 million to spend? We have the answers!

6799 N. Rattlesnake Canyon Road
5 bedrooms
7 full baths
1 half bath
Square footage: 9,003
Acres: 49
Year built: 2000

Villa Esperero includes a 9,000-square-foot main house with two master suites, three additional guest suites, two additional bathrooms and a library. Mesquite hardwood floors, natural stone, flagstone and marble finishes. Multiple patios, terraces and balconies overlook the valley and mountain ranges. Gourmet kitchen, well-equipped butler’s pantry and formal dining room. Backyard includes a wraparound covered patio with outdoor kitchen and dining area and infinity-edge pool and spa.

Listing agent: Judy Smedes & Kate Herk Real Estate Group with Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty Photos by Audra White/Images by Audra; Courtesy of Judy Smedes & Kate Herk Real Estate Group

7406 N. Secret Canyon Drive
4 bedrooms
4 full baths
1 half bath
Square footage: 8,327
Acres: 1.97
Year built: 1999

A hilltop Mediterranean located in the premier gated community The Canyons, this residence features a gracious soaring entry and separate reception area. There is a gallery space on both sides of the formal entry designed for art display and large-scale entertaining, as well as seated dining that can host 30-35 guests. Beautifully appointed mirror-image formal living and dining rooms flank the reception area and look out to the terrace, pool and city lights. Both rooms have carved stone gas fireplaces.

Listing agent: Judy Smedes & Kate Herk Real Estate Group with Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty Images courtesy of Judy Smedes & Kate Herk Real Estate Group

8535 E. Shadow Side Place
6 bedrooms
7 bathrooms
Square footage: 5,402
Acres: .77
Year built: 1997

Mediterranean and Southwest architecture blend in this fully furnished sanctuary adjacent to Canyon Ranch Wellness Resort. Great Room with breathtaking views of both the Catalina and Rincon Mountains. Every room has its own full master bathroom with access to patio decks. Three bedrooms on each level, separate chef’squality kitchen with granite counters and a large island, as well as access to the outside deck and barbecue. Large, well-equipped laundry room includes a linen presser.

Listing agent: Edgar Yacob with Long Realty Company Photos by Daniel Snyder, courtesy of Long Realty Company

7582 N. Secret Canyon Drive
6 bedroom
6 full baths
4 half baths
Square footage: 13,350
Acres: 1.36
Year built: 2009

Located on a private lot with views of city lights and mountain ranges, the home includes many European antique finishes, such as fireplace mantels and surrounds, chandeliers, gold leaf crown molding and custom carpets. Formal living and dining rooms, butler’s kitchen and show kitchen, family room, den, nursery, English pub, 15-seat movie theater, three guest suites, exercise room, massage room, and an auto gallery with turntable for 15 cars. Pool, spa and an outdoor kitchen with pizza oven.

Listing agents: Janell Jellison and Paula Williams with Long Realty Company Images courtesy of Long Realty Company

11601 E. Lusitano Place
6 bedrooms
5 full baths
1 half bath
Square footage: 8,753
Acres: 3.31
Year built: 2001

Spanish/Mediterranean home in Wild Horse Ranch Estates with mountain views. The eat-in kitchen includes a large island, family size table, Sub-Zero refrigerator and six-burner gas cooktop with custom vent hood. Master suite has a gas fireplace, private patio, and a built-in entertainment center. Master bathroom has separate vanities, steam shower and jetted tub. There are two pools, including an indoor one with resistance jets. Attached two-bedroom guesthouse. There also is a detached, 12-vehicle garage with an apartment.

Listing agent: Don Vallee with Long Realty Company Photos by Ron McCoy, courtesy of Long Realty Company

3868 N. Canyon Ranch Drive – (not shown)
4 bedrooms
4 full baths
1 half bath
Square footage: 4,020
Acres: 0.62
Year built: 2009

A contemporary home on a view lot that backs up to Sabino Creek, the design includes walls of glass framing spectacular mountain views. Natural stone floors, wood ceilings and custom details abound. The gourmet kitchen features a mesquite butcher block island and stainless appliances, and overlooks the negative-edge pool/spa. Four lavish bedroom suites and an office make for an ideal retreat or full-time residence. This home is available furnished with some exclusions.

Listing agent: Bryan Durkin with Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty

5831 E. Finisterra – (not shown)
4 bedrooms
4 full baths
2 half baths
Square footage: 7,442
Acres: 1.53
Year built: 1988

This estate located in Finisterra recently underwent a two-year, multimillion-dollar renovation by the current owners who sourced materials from around the globe. The elaborate kitchen features an enormous Calcutta marble island, Wolf appliances, custom walnut cabinets, French parquet floors and an 18th century French fireplace. There are three guest suites and a master suite with city and mountain views, a spa-like bathroom, fireplace and impressive closet. The backyard includes a pool/ spa and pavilion for entertaining.

Listing agent: Bryan Durkin with Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty

6801 N. Dundedin Place
4 bedrooms
4 full baths
1 half bath
Square footage: 5,159
Acres: 1.33
Year built: 1994

Situated overlooking a golf course, and offering views of both city lights and the Santa Catalinas, this remodeled home features reclaimed oak floors with an inlay of Spanish deco tile. Modern amenities include an iPad interface automation for sound, with security and camera monitoring capabilities. The master suite has a luxurious bath with walk-in shower and private garden retreat. One additional en-suite bedroom is housed on the main level, with the remaining en-suite bedrooms on the lower level, which open on a shaded veranda.

Listing agent: The Gray/St. Onge Real Estate Group of Long Realty Company Photos courtesy of The Gray/St. Onge Real Estate Group

812 W. Granite Gorge Drive 339
4 bedrooms
4 full baths
1 half bath
Square footage: 7,133
Acres: 1.31
Year built: 2012

The finishes in this combination Mediterranean/modern/Tuscan-style home include handcrafted distressed flooring in office together with fireplace, library, wet bar and entertainment center. Massive front door leads to a majestic foyer with a custom ceiling with cove lighting. Staircase to loft media room created from Tivoli Walnut Slab material. The temperature-controlled wine room will showcase up to 600 bottles. Multiple outdoor spaces for relaxing/entertaining, such as the pool area, outdoor fire pit and upper deck cocktail lounge.

Listing agent: Suzie Corona and Josh Waggoner with Long Realty Company Photos by Ray Albright, courtesy of Suzie Corona and Josh Waggoner

1620 W. Niner Way
9 bedrooms
8 full baths
1 half bath
Square footage: 9,773
Acres: 16.01
Year built: 1992

Located in La Cholla Airpark, this residence has a spacious living room with 16-foot wood-beam-accented ceilings and window walls. Kitchen with top-of-the-line stainless steel appliances, breakfast bar and utility island with gas cook-top and vegetable sink. The master suite has two seating areas, his/her closets, lavish bathroom with gas fireplace, steam room with shower and large, jetted bathtub. Also included: a three-bedroom guesthouse, metal barn with five-horse stall and tack room, and access to a private hangar with apartment. Listing agent: Don Vallee with Long Realty Company

Photos by Colin Catron Photography, courtesy of Long Realty Company


Disclaimer: All information for this article has been excerpted from recent real estate listings that have been edited by Tucson Lifestyle for publication. Details for the various homes are good-faith representations and are not intended to be all-inclusive. Homes may have sold, been removed from the Multiple Listing Service, or been altered from their descriptions after press time.

About Us

Tucson Lifestyle

Tucson Lifestyle Magazine is Tucson's only glossy, monthly city magazine, targeting Southern Arizona’s affluent residents. With over 35 years of publishing experience, Tucson Lifestyle is committed to showcasing the people, places, local flavors, and attractions that make our city unique.

Copyright © 2020 -
Website by CS Design Studios


Phone: 520-721-2929
Address: 7000 E Tanque Verde Rd # 11,
Tucson, AZ 85715

* indicates required