Tag Archives: chandler center for the arts


Art in Orbit: NASA-funded Bella Gaia Performance Comes to Chandler

The cosmos are often a source of inspiration for artistic expression. Bella Gaia, an ensemble performance of musicians and dancers, takes that to a new level with the use of satellite imagery provided by NASA and other multimedia pieces that encapsulate the inter-connectivity of the Earth and how humans interact with our home.


Bella Gaia, meaning beautiful Earth, uses stunning imagery and data that NASA has curated over the years to communicate to the audience that everything that humans do on our blue planet has an effect on the environment around them.


Kenji Williams, composer and director, came up with the idea after speaking with NASA astronaut Mike Fincke, the current American record holder for most time spent in space. Fincke told Williams about how when he first looked out into space, he was changed forever and realized how important Earth was and how the planet and everything around it was all one.


Williams wanted to bring all of the data and knowledge that NASA has and communicate it to the world through one of the oldest forms of communication: art.


“Bella Gaia shows the inter-connectivity of Earth in a digital way,” Williams said. “It takes you on a journey through space and time around and in the Earth.”


On the screen are representations of forest fires in the world, the polar ice caps melting and flight patterns that are constantly moving all around the world without the use of words.


Three astronauts have personally seen the show and have told Williams that the show gives them the feeling that they’re back in the cosmos, orbiting Earth.


Williams has used planetarium software to produce the show and is now in the middle of making the show into a 26-minute film that can be shown at planetariums around the world.


Audiences have seen Bella Gaia 200 times in nine countries, many of the shows were of just Williams and his laptop. The show in Chandler, as mentioned previously, includes an ensemble of performers.


Williams will take the show solo to Beijing, China for the International Planetarium Society’s Biennial conference this June in hopes of bringing the show to planetariums around the world.


Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 N. Arizona Ave., Chandler, Friday, March 28, 7:30 p.m., $32 to $44

Buy tickets here.

vacation - sitting at the computer outside

Preparing The Office For The Summer, Vacation

Summer can be a challenging time for business owners and families alike. The temperatures are well into the triple digits, kids are off from school, and employees want to take a vacation from the triple digits with their kids. As for the business owner, he/she still has several business goals and objectives which must be met in order to keep the lights on and the doors open.

Plan ahead

Planning ahead is every business owner, employee, family and child’s best friend, especially during the summer. We can get everything that we need to accomplish and still make time for fun. Planning ensures we can do this.

First step is to know how your personal life and schedules will change as summer sets in. Do you have children? Is your spouse taking or teaching summer school classes? Does your employer expect more or less of your time during the summer months?

Activities for the kids

If you have children, ask yourself what their interests are and how you can meet their needs. Maybe it’s with additional support from city or summer school programs. There are several amazing programs around the Valley to meet every child’s interest. For instance, interested in music, dance and theatre? I suggest Chandler Center for the Arts summer camps. Sports more your child’s thing? Check out Great Play. Science? Look into the Arizona Science Center’s day camps; they offer pick up as late as 6 p.m.

Once the kids are planned for, it’s easier to work without as many interruptions. I’ve always found that if I could keep my kids busier and happier than me, they would not interfere with that time I needed to get my work completed.

Employees: Request vacation time early

For the business owner, meeting the work demand load and employee vacation needs can be difficult. Take the time at the beginning of the season to communicate what work days are flexible and which ones we need all hands on deck. For the employee, request time off early and, if necessary, come to the table with a different week or a solution for work that needs to be completed in your absence. It’s easier for the business owner to prepare for your absence with advance notice and find a happy medium to get work goals finished.

Cross-training employees

At times, we’re at a loss as to what we should do when key employees are on vacation. This is a great time to cross-train other employees to be proficient in all tasks associated with the office. Additionally, employers can look into hiring part time or temp positions to help during the summer months to cover full-time employee vacations. Each of these options may help the owner find additional talent or skill sets that are hard to test when everyone is present.

Remain flexible

Another great option for the summer is to test out flexible work hours for each employee on a temporary basis. Establish a clear trial period that both the employee and employer agree upon. Maybe it’s four 10-hour days, or working from home in the morning or afternoon, splitting shifts with another team member, trade one weekday off to work a weekend day, etc. The options are limitless and can be tailored to any industry.

Ask for feedback

It’s important to find out what works best for the company, but allow room for thinking outside the box. Depending on the organization, there is more or less flexibility with the following suggestion but, simply because employees have always worked from 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. does not mean that have to continue with that moving forward. It might make more sense to work a 10-hour shift and make your employee/employer happier. At the end of the trial period, take time for honest feedback on both sides. What worked? What didn’t? Is there room for improvement and potentially a second trial period?

Summer can be a very stressful time for everyone, but it’s time to plan ahead, think positively, and allow both the employee and employer to be part of the solution. Creating a mutually beneficial solution will elevate company moral and make employees more likely to meet and exceed professional goals. After all, summer is meant to be a time to enjoy both our families and our work.