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Performing Arts, Fine Arts and Colorful Murals

Written by Jim Hinckley

January 6, 2023

The historic heart of Kingman is bisected by two alignments of Route 66, Beale Street that was once used by US 93 and US 466, two alignments of the National Old Trails Road, and the railroad. From its inception transportation has been the life blood of this dusty Arizona crossroads.

Pending development of I11 ensures that transportation will remain the lifeblood of the city. And the fast approaching Route 66 centennial will highlight Kingman’s transportation history.

Route 66, stunning natural landscapes laced with miles of picturesque hiking trails, and the city’s colorful history have fueled a thriving toruism industry in Kingman for decades. But in recent years the blossoming of a thriving arts community has diversified the city’s appeal.

Kingman Center for the Arts, which includes the Beale Street Theater, currently under renovation, and the ArtHub is at the heart of that arts community. Scheduled for January 21 is “Paint Along With Rob.” In this class students will create a winter scene with instructor Rob Bagge.

Exemplifying the diversity of the center is the Murder Mystery Musical Weekly Wednesday Workshop for students between age 7 and 16. Details posted on the center’s website note that, “In this weekly workshop students will be preparing a mini musical Murder Mystery production to perform for invited guests at the end of the 8 rehearsals (Performance day set for March 1st). All students are guaranteed a part in the show and can choose to be a stage technician as well.”

Serving the vibrant arts community are businesses such as Avant Print and Frame. Professional services offered include Giclee Fine Art Printing and museum quality archival framing

A stunning array of public art in the historic district and along the Route 66 corridor illustrate the city’s dedication to the arts community. Aside from colorful murals created by acclaimed artists such as Route 66 icon Bob Waldmire and JC Amberlyn , there are numerous sculptures created by world famous artists.

A statue of author, humorist and historian Jim Hinckley was unveiled during National Road Trip Day celebrations in Depot Plaza. The statue was created by sculptress J. Anne Butler, a bronze sculptor of renown has been commissioned to create works for an array of prestigious including HM Queen Elizabeth II and HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Sarah, Duchess of York, England, and Ms. Bo Derek.

Standing in the shadow of the historic Hotel Beale, the twelve-foot-tall Running Hare built in the summer of 2015 has become a popular photo stop for Route 66 travelers. It is a manifestation of artist Donald Gialanella’s creative imagination. His inspiration for the project was derived from Route 66 and the long-eared jack rabbits encountered on his morning walkabouts in the desert.

Gialanella is recognized for his design and fabrication of public art. He apprenticed with artist Louise Bourgeois after earning a BFA in sculpture from The Cooper Union in New York. His larger-than-life sculptures are on display in public and private collections in over a dozen cities from California to New York.

Kingman is proclaimed the heart of hiistoric Route 66. Perhaps it will so be proclaimed the heart of northwest Arizona’s arts community.

Written by Jim HInckley of Jim Hinckley’s America.

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