Smithsonian CultureFest in Flagstaff

FLAGSTAFF - Although the Smithsonian is commonly associated with Washington D.C. or the "Smithsonian" magazine, this weekend, a mini Smithsonian symposium is scheduled to visit northern Arizona.

Friday and Saturday, Flagstaff Cultural Partners and the Smithsonian Institution will present the Smithsonian CultureFest 2006 featuring the Institution's most interesting experts as well as local cultural gurus.

Throughout the event visual multi-media work, dance, music and storytelling will be celebrate the fall's dark skies in northern Arizona. Nine presentations are scheduled at four different Flagstaff locations, and the public is invited to join the cultural showcase.

Coconino Center for the Arts

To commence the events, local master artists Baje Whitethorne Sr., Shonto Begay and S.D. Nelson as well as other artists juried into the show from throughout the U.S. will display work from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. each day. The free exhibit, entitled, Night Visions, will be held at the Coconino Center for the Arts, 2300 North Fort Valley Road.

A unique reception with the featured artists is scheduled from 6-8 p.m., Friday. This social viewing and discussion is also free of charge and reservations are not required.

On Friday night, pianist Liz Story will perform from her recent album, "Night Sky Essays," from 8-9:30 p.m. at the Coconino Center for the Arts. Tickets are $18-22.

On Saturday night, from 8-9:30 p.m., Human Nature Dance Theatre will perform "Dreaming in the Dark," an original work combining dance, lighting, video, word and music. According to event descriptions, "A modern creation myth, this evocative new work explores our relationship with the night sky and the dark, instinctive and intuitive sides of our nature. During the performance Story will make a special appearance. Tickets are $10-15.

For tickets or more information call 928-779-2300.

Museum of Northern Arizona

The Museum of Northern Arizona located at 3100 N. Fort Valley Road, will offer fall stories and creative activities throughout Saturday. At 11 a.m., Smithsonian expert Christine Pulliam will discuss the shapes different cultures see in the moon and explain the light and dark markings of the moon during a session called "The Rabbit in the Moon." The event is family-oriented and will include an activity.

At 3:30 p.m., Pulliam will offer "Where the Sky Meets the Earth," exploring archeological sites and early astronomical evidence from Arizona and abroad. Pulliam will focus upon human fascination with the night sky.

Both of these events are free with admission to the museum ($2-5). Call 928-774-5213 with questions.

Observatories

Lowell Observatory, located at 1400 West Mars Hill, will also feature tours from 12-5 p.m. and 7:30-9:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday. Daytime guided tours showcase telescopes, interactive exhibitions, historic building and video productions. Nighttime visitors will have the opportunity to view the heavens through the telescopes.

Of special interest are stories to be told by Diné storyteller and artist Bob Lamadafkie, and other storytellers from the Diné and Hopi nations. The "Star Stories: Native American Tales of the Night Sky" will be held at the Lowell Observatory Rotunda at 2 p.m., and 5 p.m., Saturday.

All observatory events are free with admission ($2-5). Call 928-774-3358 for more information.

From 10 a.m.-12 Noon, Saturday, the U.S. Naval Observatory will open its doors to the public for tours and to view the Naval Observatory's largest telescope. Informal presentations will include discussions of the aesthetic value and sense of wonder created by the night sky. The ways astronomical instrumentation increase this sense of wonder by furthering our senses will also be explored.

Naval observatory events are free. This observatory is located at 10391 West naval Observatory Road. Call 928-779-5132 for more information.

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