SCOTTSDALE – AN ART DESTINATION TO CELEBRATE
Scottsdale has long served as the backdrop for many creative greats. The pristine beauty, luminous sunlight, and mysteriousness of the Sonoran Desert that attracted these historical figures continues to inspire the artists of the Celebration of Fine Art year after year.
In 1932 the surrealist painter Philip Curtis arrived in Arizona with the W.P.A. Art Project. In addition to refining his distinctive spare style, Curtis started what ultimately became the Phoenix Art Museum.
Like Curtis, Frank Lloyd Wright found his muse in the Arizona desert. Wright arrived in the 1930s, and by the 1940s he had established Taliesin West as a winter camp and architectural studio. From his base in north Scottsdale, he created a new style of architecture that celebrated the desert. Today his legacy is on display at Taliesin West, a short drive from the Celebration of Fine Art.
The 1940s also brought Italian architect Paolo Soleri to Scottsdale who came to study with Frank Lloyd Wright. A year later he opened his own studio, Cosanti. Today the studio is open to visitors who want to learn about Soleri’s alternative urban environments, which aim to consume less nonrenewable resources and revitalize the human spirit.
The 1950s welcomed two iconic Native American artists to Scottsdale, Charles Loloma and Lloyd Kiva New. Both Loloma and New shattered stereotypes for Indian artists by breaking into the world of high fashion. Charles Loloma divided his time between his home in Hotevilla on the Hopi Reservation, and his second home in Scottsdale.
By the 1960s and 1970s, the late Fritz Scholder’s abstract canvases of American Indians were catching the eye of critics and collectors. Scholder’s work is represented in the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Biblioteque National, Paris; Los Angeles County Museum; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian. Until his death, he lived and painted in Scottsdale.
Another acclaimed artist with ties to Scottsdale, Robert McCall, is also synonymous with Americana, only his work focused on the future – the challenge of space and opportunities for humanity. His murals are found in major public spaces including the Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C. and Epcot Center. His wife, Louise McCall, is also a well-known artist whose flowers are prized for their passion and energy.
Those two characteristics – passion and energy – also drive the Scottsdale art scene. Every Thursday evening the Scottsdale Arts District hosts an Art Walk. Festivals, exhibitions and special art events take place throughout the year at the Scottsdale Center for Performing Arts, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and the Heard Museum North. The city is also home to the world-renowned Scottsdale Artists’ School, which specializes in traditional training for fine artists.
And every January, residents and visitors alike anticipate the one-of-a-kind Celebration of Fine Art and the opportunity to interact with 100 artists in the heart of Scottsdale.