Last Updated on January 20, 2023 by Tabraiz
Scottsdale used to be known as the “most western town of America, “ but that has changed now, and this town is becoming something of a heart to Arizona, a heart dipped in paint, so to say! Scottsdale, the city in Maricopa County, has this liminal position between the urban metropolis of Phoenix and the wilderness of the desert, making it an exciting place for artists. It’s not surprising that the Scottsdale identity has somewhat merged with art, creating a community where art is an organic part of social life and not just for artists. Scottsdale has an amazing public art culture, too, with installations, sculptures, and stunning street art pieces to be found everywhere you look. It’s not exaggerated to say that art is welding the local community together. Many artists and art lovers choose this community as their home. If you are one of the people here to stay, local real estate agents in Scottsdale AZ can help you orientate on the local market.
Scottsdale is very concentrated with art, having a whole district dedicated to it. The city of Scottsdale is full of exciting art galleries, but maybe the most famous event is the Scottsdale ArtWalk, which takes place every Thursday night. There’s a living community bonding around the great variety of art events that take place here. Let’s have a sneak peek into this community bursting with creativity!
The Arts District can be a lot to get around if you’re there for the first time. But it’s easy once you know that it’s a three-in-one. The largest in size is the Scottsdale Main Street Arts District, which offers the most diversity in styles and genres. Then there’s the Marshall Way Arts District, which is more on the contemporary side of flavors, and the third is the Old Town District, hosting the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. This district is western-themed and very much loved by tourists.
The famous Scottsdale ArtWalk
The Arts District is vibrant with events, packed with galleries, and home to the city’s best museums. Main Street and Marshall Way are the places to be on a Thursday night for the art event attraction of the city, the Scottsdale ArtWalk. Live music and great accompany the exhibits and live performances. Sometimes even the food is so aesthetically pleasing that it manages to steal some attention from the artworks. The ArtWalk is the longest-running event of its caliber, taking place weekly, every Thursday from 7 p.m to 9 p.m. The local community and visitors have enjoyed this tradition of gallery hopping for 30 years now.
Joining the ArtWalk is free, and it’s an excellent opportunity to enjoy all the art galleries, restaurants, and shops in the area, too. If you get tired of all the artwalking, you can take a break to admire the public art or attend a street performance. When exclusive events occur, Scottsdale Gallery Association members offer extended opening hours on the ArtWalk. The usual Thursday night ArtWalk has a special edition series called the Gold Palette Series, with events taking place throughout the year, showcasing special thematic exhibitions.
Galleries to check out
The list of galleries to explore in Scottsdale is very, very long. Their official website makes looking them up easier by dividing some of them into categories. Depending on the styles and genres, you can check out the galleries based on their general profiles.
There is the Gebert Contemporary, J. Klein Gallery, and the Bonner David Galleries for contemporary art lovers.
In Scottsdale, there’s a significant presence of Native American art, showcased in the following galleries: The Legacy Gallery, Altamira fine art, and King Galleries. The Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West is also essential to check out.
For lovers of the timeless genre of landscapes, Amery Bohling Fine Art or the Carsten’s Fine Art galleries are the must-sees.
And if you’re more of an eclectic person, On The Edge Gallery, T.H. Brennen Fine Art, Art One Gallery, Quant’um Art Inc., or The Signature Gallery are the places that shouldn’t be missed.
The palette is vibrant, so if you plan to visit, it could be helpful to plan in advance, but don’t underestimate the power of art: you probably won’t be able to respect the plan. Glimpses of artworks seen through the gallery windows are like the sirens’ calls: no one can resist them…
Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) is located in the Old Town art district. The SMoCA was opened in 1999 and is run by Scottsdale Arts nonprofit organization. The museum’s profile is dedicated to exhibiting modern art, design, and architecture. The museum’s growing collection serves as the supply for the various exhibitions and rotating shows they curate in its four galleries. Some artworks are permanently on view, like Knight Rise skyspace by the famous Arizona artist James Turrell. Other significant exhibitions featured the artists: Lydia Okumura, James Marshall, Paolo Soleri, Squidsoup, Mel Roman, and Olafur Eliasson.
The Scottsdale Artists’ School was founded in 1983 by a group of dedicated artists and community leaders and is a non-profit organization with the mission of providing art education for anyone interested. The school offers over 200 art programs annually, from youth and adult workshops to open studios and youth academies. Among the school’s instructors, there are many nationally recognized artists to be found.
The school is located in the downtown Scottsdale Arts District, hosted in a beautiful historic building built in the Spanish Colonial Revival Style in 1928. The building features glazed Saltillo tile floors and a gabled red tile roof and is listed on the City of Scottdale’s Historic Register.
50 years of art festival tradition
The Scottsdale Arts Festival has been going on for 50 years now. It is recognized as one of the great art fairs in America. The festival held in the Old Town district attracts nearly 20,000 visitors to the Scottsdale Civic Center Park to enjoy the art, live music, performing arts, and fantastic eats. The festival’s jury selects more than 170 artists to be showcased every year from the US and Canada, working in the medium of painting, sculpture, ceramics, photography, and many more.
Near the wide variety of art exhibits, interactive installations are built for the time of the festival. All kinds of artist-led activities for children and adults alike are there to create a sense of community.
The festival is a fundraiser for the Scottsdale Arts organization, supporting the incredible array of arts, education, and outreach programs they organize throughout the year.
The Scottsdale art life is something out of the ordinary in a very community-oriented way. It seems like there’s genuinely a vision of a city, where the arts are sewn into the fabric of it all. The local community is tirelessly working on this overflowing art experience that is the local’s life and the visitor’s delight.