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The History of our Story ... The Story of our History

The indiscriminate pursuit of perfection, produces mediocrity.

Our Mission Statement –  Southern Arizona Centre for the Arts (originally know as Raccoon Valley Centre for the Arts) is a 501(C)(3) Tax-Exempt Non-Profit Multi-Discipline Arts & Humanities Organization # 47-5615194   - RVCA/SAzCA © 2019 All Rights Reserved.

  • The Mission and Purpose of the Southern Arizona Centre for the Arts is to provide services that present and preserve; advance and enhance the Arts and Humanities for the benefit of the community at-large; including any/all activities, presentations, educational programs, and/or services in the Performing Arts, Fine & Visual Arts, Therapeutic Arts, Culinary Arts, and/or the Classical Arts and Humanities, and their historical significance as life-enhancing disciplines, as described here-in or in the corporate By-Laws, amendments, and/or purposeful-mission statements [current or future] in accord with, related to, & for benefit of the community, at-large.
  1. To present the Arts: by offering public productions and performances; displays, and/or installation(s) of artistic works for the edification, enjoyment, education, and life-style enhancement of the general public.
  2. To preserve the Arts: by providing educational services in the classical arts and humanities to individuals and groups of individuals with interest, involvement, and/or for career-oriented aspirations.
  3. To advance the Arts: by promoting the Arts and Humanities as life-enhancing disciplines, including offering the historical, educational, and therapeutic-benefits of various artistic endeavors, artistic disciplines, and/or artistic forms as services to and for the general public that promote the Arts as life-enhancements, and/or provide specialized services to both individuals and/or distinct or unique sections of the community.
  4. To enhance Arts: by developing artistic-oriented services in education, and offer therapeutic-uses for various artistic-related disciplines and methods for those in need of such services in order to enhance the health and well-being of individuals, and the community at-large.


Southern Arizona Centre for the Arts

Executive Director - Ballet Master, Chef & Rabbi

Jonathon Levy

Director of Therapeutic Services & 

Children's Programing – Ballet Mistress, Licensed Massage Therapist 

Karina S. Levy, LMT.

Official Affiliate Organizations:

Raccoon Valley Centre for the Arts - 501(C)(3) Tax-Exempt Non-Profit Arts & Humanities Multi-Discipline Educational & Service Organization | Urbandale Iowa \ Founded in 2015. #47-5615194  

Raccoon Valley Massage Centre

William D. Sturdevant Memorial Art Lyceum

The Ballet Training Centre

Artistic Endeavors Unlimited

Sounthern Arizona Centre for the Arts | Tucson  AZ   USA

www.SAzCA.org


Executive Profiles –  

Our Founders: Jonathon & Karina Levy

  • Jonathon, originally from Chicago, pursued a career in the Performing Arts for over 20-yrs dancing professionally in Pittsburgh, Chicago, Milwaukee, Oklahoma City, San Diego, Phoenix, and Dallas. He received training as a Chef at The International Culinary School of The Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago, and has worked in restaurants in Pittsburgh, Huntington WV, Brooklyn/NYC, San Diego, Flagstaff AZ, Des Moines, Dallas, Chicago, and Tel Aviv/Israel. Levy received Semicha (Traditional Rabbinic Ordination) from Rabbi Dr. Donald Shankin zt"l, (of Chicago) and Rabbi Gavriol Gamliel Elmaleh (of Ashqelon/Israel) after studying at Yeshivot (Rabbinic Seminaries) in Chicago, Brooklyn/NYC, and in Israel. He has served as a Rabbinic Mashgiach (Rabbinic Kosher Supervisor) for various Jewish communities in Illinois, Iowa, Florida, Nevada, and California. Jonathon is an author, with a self-published children's book, and served as Ballet Master for the Bat Dor Dance Company of Israel. He and his wife (Karina) established Raccoon Valley Centre for the Arts (in Iowa) to preserve the Artwork of Karina's late father. They moved to Tucson, Arizona, and established Southern Arizona Centre for the Arts, as an official sister organization (to RVCA in Iowa), in order to promote and expand their vision of Arts programing.
  • Karina, originally from Des Moines Iowa, is the daughter of the late Master Artist and Educator: William D. Sturdevant  [Iowa's Forgotten Artist]. She danced professionally with ballet & modern companies in Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Kentucky, New York City, Arkansas, and Denmark. She holds degrees from Iowa State University, & The Iowa College of Natural Health/ISB. Karina is currently pursuing a Master's degree at Arizona State University. She has developed curriculum for professional-oriented classical ballet schools and modern dance programs, and has choreographed numerous productions; directing the Arts Festivals in Little Rock, AR. for nearly a decade before putting her career on-hold to return to her hometown of Des Moines in order to care for her father, who passed from of the effects of Alzheimer's/Dementia. While in Iowa, she built a private therapeutic massage practice, working with the area's most recognized sports medicine chiropractic facility, and coached young dancers. Her choreography allowed one student to earn participation in the Prix de Lausanne, where that student was awarded a scholarship to the Stuttgart Ballet's John Cranko School, and now dances professionally with the Stuttgart Ballet company in Germany.  Karina reunited with Jonathon, with whom she had danced with professionally, and worked as a teacher at his school in Chicago. They married a year later, and established Raccoon Valley Centre for the Arts in 2015. In 2019, they moved to Tucson AZ and began developing the sister organization: Southern Arizona Centre for the Arts

If it were just entertainment, we wouldn't call it... ART!

The dream of becoming an artist, isn't worth having as a life, if it isn't shared and passed on to the next generation.

The Arts were the origin of our educational process and need to be preserved, supported, and developed!

Please donate and help us continue providing Arts programing to our community! Thank you!


Biography of William D. Sturdevant (1922-2010) - The fourth man of the Renegade Regionalist Triumvirate and the forgotten Iowa-born Master Artist 

Pioneer News 1949 featuring the Art of William D. Sturdevant

Biography of William D. Sturdevant (1922-2010)

Iowa's Lost Artistic Treasure Rediscovered

Biography of William D. Sturdevant

It might easily be stated that, William Sturdevant is Iowa's great lost artist. A contemporary to Grant Wood, Sturdevant excelled in skill, and mastered a variety of media – from painting to lithographs; wood carving to, his personal preference of, hard stones. The beauty and vitality of his wood carvings, and his love for direct carving demonstrate the profundity of his involvement in the WPA and the subsequent regional-art venues that expanded during the pre- and post- World War II era.

Sturdevant was boldly expressionistic, utilizing a wide-range of variation from figures that were fantastic to the monstrous, as well as elements of surrealism and the profoundly realistic human condition. His artistic vision and genre of works directly contrasts other artists of his period, in that, rather than base his works on a thematic vein, such as the idyllic Americana, Sturdevant expressed the full range of human-experience, whether utilizing content of historical significance, or futuristic vision. His works demonstrate the great value of an artist who understood his own time and place, in relationship to the world, and he echoed not only the popular sentiments of comic books and sci-fi, yet reflects on the masters, and bridges his contemporaries with vivid social commentary. 

Sturdevant was a proud Iowan native, with artistic roots deeply founded in the MidWest regional art tradition. However, his work was veritably dismissed in his home state – Murals painted by Sturdevant, during WWII, at the Fort Dodge US Army 7th Service Command have disappeared with no recognition or concern for their artistic, historical, or cultural value, and perhaps only three photos are known to exist of the display. Even so, Sturdevant's intellectual curiosity and creative passion allowed him to develop a comprehensive perspective, exhibiting works in California, Boston, and even Japan; as well as engaging in research on topics ranging from a study in color-perception and IQ touching on the field of parapsychology, to an in-depth scholarly study of pre-Columbian art and design involving the Indigenous American/Aztec culture of Mexico.

Sturdevant's artistic career was underpinned by his ability to educate, and he was known as a versatile and dynamic instructor at both the college and high school level, alternately. He also served as a director of art programing for the Public School Systems in Joliet, Illinois, and Des Moines, where he utilized television to conduct art lessons for children with the aid of his ventriloquized puppet, Melvin Shenanigans. In fact, many artists who became art educators in the Des Moines area directly trace their influence to being taught by Sturdevant.

William D. Sturdevant's prolific body of work is an American art treasure that deserves to be recognized for its scope and depth, as well as its significance as a reflection upon the historical counter-culture statement in contrast to his friends and colleagues of traditional Americana influence of his period.



William D. Sturdevant

Artist | Educator : born 1922 July 3 | deceased 2010 January 30 | Des Moines ia

B.S.E.and M.S.E.educational degrees From Drake University 1945/1947 - respectively.

Artist's Exposure

Gallery Representation:

San Francisco, CA. | Newport Beach, CA. | Beverly Hills, CA. | Washington, D.C.

@ Maxwell Galleries; Ellsworth Gallery; The Parthenon; and IFA Gallery,

respectively.

Exhibitions and Juried Shows:

Mexico City | October 1955 | April, 1956 throughJune 1957 | 1958

@ The Inter-American Art Exposition; The National Institute of Fine Arts; and The

Mexican Institute of American Cultural Relations, respectively.

New York City | Chicago | Boston & Cambridge | Kansas City | Detroit | Tokyo/japan

@The National Academy of Design, The Architectural League, National Society of American Illustrators and Art Directors; The Art Institute; Museum of Fine Art & Gropper Galleries; Nelson Gallery; Institute of Art; and Society of American Graphic Artists (in N.Y. & Japan) – respectively. 

Muralist at the US Army Seventh Service Command, Camp Dodge, IA. during WW II.

Mural Artwork, mentioned above, whereabouts currently unknown

Works in private and public collections as listed and being researched, includes among others, The Portland Museum of Art | Oregon.

Publications, Awards and Distinctions, Specialized/Recognized Research:

Design Magazine: January 1948

American Artist: February 1959

Lapidary Journal: 1961, February 1971, December 1981, & November 1990

Indian Journal of Parapsychology, Rajasthan, India, 1963

North, a Canadian Government Publication, January/February 1964

National Woodcarvers Association Journal, January/February 1970

Archeology, January 1971

North Central Association of Colleges Journal, March/April 1971

In order as listed from above publications: From Bugaboo to Blessing; The Engraved Metal Plate; Sculpture in Onyx Marble, Lepidodrendron: a Sculptural Gemstone, Glyptic Sculpture, Torched Metal Jewelry; ESP & Creativity; Carving Fang & Claw; Ernst Barlach, Sculptor of Humanity; The World of Aztec Sculpture; Donal Hurd: Anatomy of Ideal Form.

Art Committee Award 1942 | The Des Moines Women's Club of Hoyt Sherman

Awarded the 1957 Lady Black Purchase Award | Boston Museum of Fine Art

Recognized and Listed in the Following:

Who's Who in the West: 1963 – 1964; Dictionary of International Biography: 1964 – 1965; Biographical Dictionary of Parapsychology: 1965; the Royal Blue Book: 1969; Dictionary of Educational Specialists: 1971; Personalities of the West and MidWest: 1971; Community Leaders and Noteworthy Americans: 1972 through 1977.

Research Paper, presented and published in March of 1958, on:

Extra-Sensory Color Perception [a study involving children with developmental, mental & physical, disabilities.]

Unpublished finished work: The Gods of Monte Alban

Artist's Careeras anEducator

Art Instructor/Teacher 

Ann Arbor High School, Michigan: 1945 to 1947

Mankato State College Art Department, Minnesota: 1948 to 1955

Professional Studio Artist & Instructor, San Diego, California: 1961 to 1965

Des Moines Technical High School, Iowa: 1969 to 1987

East High School, Des Moines, Iowa: 1988 to 1989 

Associate Professor of Art

Western College, New Mexico: 1947 to 1948

Assistant Professor of Art/Art Education

California Western University, San Diego: 1959 to 1961

Bemidji State College, Minnesota: 1965 to 1967

Art Supervisor/Art Coordinator 

Joliet Public School system, Illinois: 1955 to 1959

Des Moines Public School system, Iowa: 1967 to 1969

Served the North Central region, upon numerous occasions, as an Educational-Evaluator of High School Art Departments in order to certify art programing.


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Please contact The William D. Sturdevant Memorial Art Lyceum at

Raccoon Valley Centre for the Arts

by email: RVCtrARts@gmail.com

by phone: 515/664.1533

W.D.S. Memorial Art Lyceum-Raccoon Valley Centre for the Arts © 2015

The Fourth Man of the Renegade Regionalist Triumvirate

Rediscover the Artistry of the Iowa-born, forgotten American Artistic Master - William D. Sturdevant

  • A Renegade among the Renegade Regionalist's. William D. Sturdevant stands as the unrecognized 'fourth man' of the Regionalist triumvirate (Benton, Curry, and Wood).
  • His work evinces an artistic-bridge from the Regionalist-Depression Era & WPA genre of social-realism into the Modern Abstract Expressionism of the mid-20th century American Artists.
  • He was a Painter – Sculptor – Writer – Father and Teacher, who posthumously represents the virtues and scope of a prolific Artistic Master.
  • His skill and subject matter eclipsed many of his period's genre-oriented  artists & colleagues, and represents a level of discipline and drive in creating varied artistic works that has not been seen in recent times from any individual artists.

Public disclosure documents available upon request.

501(C)(3) Compliant

We embrace inclusive practices at the individual level, regarding employment & participation in events/classes. We regard each person's importance based upon what the individual brings to the table by utilizing their personal experience, knowledge, & skills.

We adhere to the rights protected by State and Federal Law.