EXHIBITION ANNOUNCEMENT – “Under Television Skies” at First Studio

Interzone (2)

Richard Bledsoe “Interzone” acrylic on canvas 16″ x 20″


December 5, 2014 – January 30, 2015

Opening Reception December 5, 2014 6pm – 10pm

FIRST STUDIO 631 N 1st Ave Phoenix, Arizona 85003

Participating Artists Leslie Edeline Barton, Michele Bledsoe, Richard Bledsoe, Frances Byrd, Stephanie Carrico, Tane Clark, Mike Doherty, Jeff Falk, Heather Smith Gearns, Geoff Gildner, Steve Gompf, Dain Quentin Gore, John Herman, Kristine Kollasch, Jim McCarty, Joe Montano III, Nick Rascona, Virginia Ross, Trish Justrish, Sherry Weiss, Shelley Whiting, and more!


Virginia Ross “How to Watch TV”

  These days, often it seems we have more engagement with the mass media environment than the natural one. Although new forms of technology are overtaking its dominance, television remains the one of the most pervasive forms in contemporary culture. It’s common to have been raised with TV as our constant companion, and it makes up the shared foundation of much of what we experience. For good and ill, our society gathers around the television like earlier generations gathered around the hearth, and our experience of the world is highly influenced by the filtered and stylized messages and images it broadcasts. In December and January, a group of artists present their visions of life lived in the glare of TV. The exhibit has an appropriate venue in Phoenix, Arizona’s historic First Studio, which was once the city’s original television station, and now is a venue for creative businesses. In addition, the opening reception will include a tribute to some of Studio’s legendary and beloved performers, Wallace and Ladmo. Says show curator Richard Bledsoe, “Television has changed a lot through the years, it’s intriguing to see how artists react to it. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to work with First Studio on a thematic show that ties into both their history and the contributions they make to Phoenix’s current cultural scene. I’d been in some group exhibits there before, it’s an interesting and beautiful space.” First Studio exhibition organizer and participating artist Kristine Kollasch agrees. “I have been excited about this show, “Under Television Skies’ since Richard first discussed his idea with me,” she states. “And I can’t imagine a more perfect place to show works created specifically about the influence of the TV than the very first TV studio in the Phoenix.” Artist Jeff Falk mused on how television was been a presence in his existence. “My generation, old people, was the first raised entirely with television. It defined our lives. These days there is the crossover effect. TV, computers, Netflix, etc. But a portable TV weighed about 50 lbs, had a luggage handle on the top and still required two people to carry it. Then we only had the beast in the corner of the room. The black and white cyclops, the haunted aquarium.” No discussion about First Studio can be complete without acknowledging the contributions of Wallace and Ladmo, TV hosts to generations of Phoenician kids. Bill Thompson, show creator and portrayer of “Wallace Snead” passed away in 2014. The opening reception of “Under Television Skies” will include footage from the show as a tribute to the joy these entertainers gave to Arizona for 35 years.

Wallace and Ladmo Show Extravaganza

Shelley Whiting “The Wallace and Ladmo Show Extravaganza”

Co-owner of the space Theresa Murphy sums up the legacy of First Studio and its current mission. “First Studio, built in 1949, was home to the first television station in Arizona.  When it first went on the air KPHO was the only television station between St. Louis and San Francisco and its signal was repeated from the Mexican to Canadian borders.  This important broadcast facility played host to Presidents from Eisenhower to Reagan and celebrities from Cassius Clay to Liberace.   The first in Arizona to broadcast in stereo and then in color, the first to use videotape and the home of Wallace and Ladmo.  Critics and fans from far and wide consider Wallace and Ladmo one of the most important and influential children’s show in the history of American television.  In one single week, the lineup of guest who wanted to appear on this groundbreaking series included Jonathan Winters, Jack Benny, Joe Namath, John Byner and Lorne Green.  Steven Spielberg’s broadcast premier was from an episode of the Wallace and Ladmo show shot at First Studio, a boy scout showing a homemade super-8 war movie.  Spielberg even sent a letter to the show thanking them for inspiring his work and life. “After years of neglect and sitting unnoticed, First Studio was brought back to life in 2001.  It is again a center for creative endeavor housing 11 companies in the creative field anchored by the original studio.”

Gearns Please Stand By

Heather Smith Gearns “Please Stand By”


Jim McCarty Sharper Contrast & Better Reception”



Frances Byrd “Alice in TV Land”


Steve Gompf video still

Rascona Investments

Nick Rascona


Sherry Weiss and Dain Quentin Gore


John Herman


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