Arcosanti - An Urban Laboratory in the Arizona Desert.


Studying utopia and distopia, a group of Arizona State University students visited Arcosanti to experience Arcology philosophy. Professor Michael Ostling shared a bit about their experience:

“We've been reading all semester about "utopian" solutions to issues mainstream society has been unwilling or unable to solve (and in our class, "utopian" doesn't mean "impossible" but radical, bold, intentional). It's one thing to read about Plato's Republic or Le Guin's Annares or real communities such as Oneida or Twin Oaks--it's something else entirely to visit such as community and see it thrive (and also see its complexity, its lived experience). 

My students, on the whole, prefer to dismiss utopias as, well, utopian (the hangover from the standard definition is hard to overcome). Our visit, and your tour, made such dismissal more difficult: they could not deny that Arcosanti works, that it is full of thoughtful, caring people, that it might serve as a model to the world. We learned a lot, and we took on the burden of hope--hope whichh, after all, imposes the obligation to try to realize its goals in the world. 

It's easy to treat utopias as castles in the air. Arcosanti reminded us of Thoreau's quip: ‘That is where they should be: now put the foundations under them.’”

(photo by Michael Ousting, text by Shannon Mackenzie)

The Arcosanti Bluegrass Festival last weekend was a beautiful success! The Colly Soleri Amphitheater was comfortably packed with bluegrass lovers. Bands like local Prescott Sugar and the Mint (pictured here) serenaded the crowd all day long. The award-winning Sugar & the Mintis comprised of Keenan Hammack, Kiva Rain Keith, Matt Tatum, Glory Glidden, Jason Howard, and Johan "Bix" Glidden.

Since 1994 the Jam Pak Blues 'N' Grass Neighborhood Bandhas been meeting weekly in Anni & Vincent Beach's home in Chandler, Arizona. Band members, ages 5 - 90 practice singing and playing traditional bluegrass, gospel and old time music. It's been thrilling to see the progress of various children who, with no particular musical background, have taken to bluegrass music and can play, sing, "take breaks", keep the rhythm, learn by ear, and also play notes.

The bluegrass festival also featured the musical stylings of Jarabe Mexicano. They hit the Latin music scene in 2015, electrifying audiences throughout the U.S. and Mexico. Performing on traditional mariachi instruments accompanied by lively percussion, Jarabe’s arrangements feature stunning harmonized vocals in Spanish and English.

All the while in the Colly Garden, audience members and campers brought their own instruments out and made their own beautiful music!

(photos by Sue Kirsch, text by Shannon Mackenzie)

2017-10-18 00:00

Last week, “Repositioning Paolo Soleri: The City is Nature” opened at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art to a wonderful turn out. The private opening included a tour with the Director and Chief Curator of the Museum, Sara Cochran which finished up at the Soleri exhibit right as the public reception began. Here you can see one of the scroll drawings on display. It was explained that the curator chose to display the scrolls in tilted display cases with little stools to give the audience the feeling of sitting at a drafting table similar to how these drawings may have created by Soleri.

The exhibit includes a beautiful display of bridge designs. Claire Carter, the curator of the retrospective, took time to search through the archives department here, aided by Sue Kirsch and a team of hard working Arcosanti residents, to pair these bridge designs with corresponding sketches and designs on paper.

Designs of other arcologies on paper and plexiglass models are light from beneath giving them a futuristic ambiance.

There are also many ceramic and bronze bells on display among other beautiful pieces that the audience marveled over. The exhibit is on display at SMoCA from now until January 28, 2018. For more information about the show and the museum, visit

(photos by Sue Kirsch, text by Shannon Mackenzie)

2017-10-16 09:37

Welcome to the October 8. 2017 workshop participants.

from left:

Daren Blair from Canada [seminar week],

Richard Estevez,

Andor Blum,

George Berry from Canada [seminar week], 

Tom Randall [also did a workshop in 1972],

Jamison Gilmour

(photo and text by Sue Kirsch)

2017-10-13 00:00

Congratulations to the September 3, 2017 workshop participants upon their graduation last week! Our previous July 30, 2017 workshop participants, Richard and Camillo, joined them to receive their certificates as well.

From Left,

Camillo Ospina,

Ellen Nguyen,

Rebecca Weeks,

Richard Careb.

also graduated from July 30, 2017 not in the photo:

Irene Pancotto

Camillo, Rebecca, and Richard will be staying on as residents working in various departments. 

(photo by lvb, text by smm)

Don’t miss the big reception of “Repositioning Paolo Soleri: the City is Nature” this Friday October 13th at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. The public open reception is from 7 - 9 pm. Come out and join the executives, residents and volunteers of the Cosanti Foundation to celebrate the incredible work of Paolo Soleri.

The show also features a beautiful catalog that will go on sale at the SMoCA gallery, Cosanti, and the gallery here at Arcosanti this weekend! Sue and Julia Dorn-Giarmoleo, who worked in the archives several years ago and is visiting on her way to a job in disaster relief in Houston, flipped through the new catalog in the Archives.

Here Tomiaki and Sue look at one of the featured fold out images of a very large scroll drawing.

 The excellence of most of the photos of Paolo Soleri's drawings in this catalog is due to the diligence and commitment of brilliant photographer David DeGomez who worked with us in the Soleri Archives for a few years. A "Super Thank You" goes out to you!!!

(photos by Leah-Ann Walker, text by Shannon Mackenzie)