Mesa Arts Center Kicks off Second Season of National Geographic Live! Arizona Speakers Series with Photographer Annie Griffiths Belt

On Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008 the second season of National Geographic Live! Arizona Speaker Series will kick off at the Mesa Arts Center with an engaging multi-media presentation by National Geographic veteran photographer Annie Griffiths Belt.

During her 25-year National Geographic career, Annie Griffiths Belt has traveled the world as a master of both photography and locomotion. To reach her destinations, she's ridden everything from planes, trains, and helicopters to camels, mules, mopeds, fishing boats, ferries, skis, snowmobiles, pachyderms, and pickup trucks. And more often than not, she has taken her family along for the ride—as documented by a recent episode of National Geographic"s Explorer television series. In the process, she’s produced dozens of articles and books, and has made friends on every continent except Antarctica. In addition to National Geographic, Annie’s work is widely published in LIFE, Geo, Smithsonian, Fortune, American Photo, Merian, Stern, and numerous books, including A Day in the Life of Ireland and National Geographic Women Photographers. The personal warmth that allows Annie to connect with people of all cultures has also made her one of the most sought-after speakers in her profession—a popular guest on NBC’s Today and National Public Radio whose message of creative empowerment, delivered with humor and humanity, inspires audiences at dinners, conventions, and other large-scale events. Annie’s work has been honored with awards from many organizations, including the National Press Photographers Association, the National Organization of Women, and the White House News Photographers’ Association. Whether rendering the windswept beauty of the Arabian Desert or the quiet dignity of a Guatemalan farmer, Annie seeks through her work to communicate with all humanity. She brings a similar passion and commitment to her public appearances with presentations that resonate, educate, and inspire. Following the presentation, Annie will engage in Q&A with the audience and will be available to sign copies of her published works.

National Geographic brings its acclaimed series back to the Mesa Arts Center for a second season featuring more presentations by dynamic National Geographic explorers, scientists, filmmakers, photographers, and journalists. From adventures with photography and conservation in remote areas of the world, to exploring the depths of the oceans for lost shipwrecks and working to create the first-ever map of human migration, these speakers inspire, enlighten, and engage audiences worldwide.

The series also includes matinee presentations geared to area students as well as lesson plans and related materials for statewide educators. Teachers can register by visiting www.ngsednet.org/nglive.

The National Geographic Live Arizona speaker series is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona.  This program, featuring photographer Annie Griffiths Belt, is also sponsored by Wal-Mart.  The Arizona series also receives support from Media Sponsor Cox Communications and from community partners, including Arizona Museum of Natural History and KJZZ Public Radio.

Series and single event tickets can be purchased through the Mesa Arts Center Box Office by calling 480-644-6500, online at www.mesaartslive.com, or in person at One East Main St. in downtown Mesa.  Box Office hours are Mon-Sat 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday noon-4 p.m.

4-Part Series tickets for National Geographic Live Arizona are still available. Prices for the four-part series package range from $94-$138.  There is a special package available, called Explorers Circle featuring prime orchestra seating for all presentations, a private reception with one of the speakers, a signed copy of his or her most recent book, and acknowledgement of series support in each printed event program. There are a limited number of Explorers Circle packages available.  The Explorers Circle package is $330 and $125 is tax-deductible. (National Geographic is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.)

Discounted pricing for Series tickets is available for National Geographic magazine subscribers, Mesa Arts Center members, and Arizona Museum of Natural History members.  To become a member of the Mesa Arts Center, call 480-644-6615; to become a member of the Arizona Museum of Natural History, call 480-644-2230; to become a National Geographic Society member and receive National Geographic magazine, call 1-800-NGS-LINE (1-800-647-5463).