CELEBRATE THE ARTS IN YUMA, ARIZONA
Experience Fine Art, Music & Movies in the Gateway to the Great Southwest
Compiled by Lisa D. Smith
Located in southwest Arizona, Yuma is a historic, cultural and outdoor adventure destination that borders Mexico, and is halfway between Tucson and San Diego. Listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the ‘Sunniest Place on Earth’, popular Yuma attractions include the Colorado River, Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area, Yuma Territorial Prison, Quartermaster Depot, and its charming historic downtown district adorned with colorful murals and featuring an eclectic variety of shops and restaurants. From outdoor sporting events to annual family-friendly festivals that celebrate the region’s rich southwestern history and cultural traditions, there’s always something happening in Yuma, and The Arts are no exception. Showcasing local and visiting artists, Yuma hosts a full calendar of art shows, stage performances and musical festivals.
The Historic Yuma Theatre & Yuma Art Centre are the entertainment centerpieces of Yuma’s historic downtown. Constructed in 1912, the Yuma Theatre originally functioned as a vaudeville and movie house. Though it has experienced a couple of fires, the Yuma Theatre has been in operation almost continuously since 1936. The interior decor has remained virtually unchanged, and features two beautiful mermaid murals in the audience chamber, and one of the only functioning carbon arc projectors west of the Mississippi.
Offering seating for 650, ADA accessibility, excellent acoustics, state-of-the-art lighting, sound and digital projection capability, the Historic Yuma Theatre is managed by the City of Yuma, presenting a year-round calendar of shows and events. It is connected to the Yuma Art Center which hosts a variety of special events and classes, and houses four art galleries, a pottery studio, and a gift shop. The Yuma Art Center hosts art shows year-round, featuring the work of local and visiting artists.
Since the late 1920’s, Yuma has been an ideal location for filming movies, TV shows, and commercials. The region boasts ideal filming locations with diverse landscapes ranging from the Colorado River to the Imperial Sand Dunes National Recreation Area, Algodones in bordering Mexico, Fort Yuma-Quechan and Cocopah Indian Reservations, and different sites like the Yuma Territorial Prison, the Quartermaster Depot, the ‘ghost train’ at Pivot Point, acres of farmlands, and the historic downtown district. Some of the movies filmed in and around Yuma include: ‘Morocco’, ‘Road to Morocco’, ‘Sahara’, ‘3:10 to Yuma’, ‘Stars Wars’, ‘Return of the Jedi’, ‘Spaceballs’, ‘The Getaway’, ‘True Lies’, ‘Stargate’, ‘Jarhead’, and ‘To Kill a Memory’.