Tag Archives: Scottsdale Arts Festival

Scottsdale Arts Festival

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Scottsdale Arts Festival continues this weekend with 181 artists exhibiting diverse works made of metal, wood, fiber, glass and more. Think ceramics, photography, drawing/pastel, painting and jewelry. Also digital arts, printmaking, sculpture and mixed media.

Many are local, but plenty hail from other parts of the country — including Colorado, California, the Pacific Northwest, the Midwest and beyond. Most are perfectly charming and happy to chat about both process and finished product. My favorite finds on Friday included furnishings made of metal washers and a palm fiber sculpture resembling a dress form. You can sit on the one, but you can’t wear the other. Art is funny that way.

There’s plenty to do beyond strolling down sunny paths lined with artist tents. Watch dance and music performances on the stage situated on a grassy knoll. Explore works of public art. Enjoy exhibits at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (admission is free for festival goers this weekend). Sample a few wines, wood-fired pizza or gourmet food truck fare. Play with art materials, hoola hoops and more.

Try your hand at journaling in the “Scottsdale’s 100 Journals” tent, or take your kiddos to the “Keep Scottsdale Beautiful” tent so they can create a poster to enter in the fourth annual contest for such things. Check out an online auction of works made by festival artists. Hit two gift shops. And enjoy interactive exhibits at SMoCA and the LOVE sculpture.

Photos near the sculpture are fine, by the way. But climbing it is not. A lovely sign in the grass makes that clear though few pause to read it. Don sunscreen before you head out, but don’t worry if you land without a hat. There’s a tent filled with charming hats, and festival gear includes both baseball caps and the floppy variety I came home with on Friday.

It wouldn’t hurt to bring at least a mental list of folks you’ll need to shop for in coming months. I spied several items that would make amazing Father’s Day fare — including beautifully crafted desk or tabletop kaleidescopes and marble runs with true artistic flair. Also plenty of jewelry and such for Mother’s Day. It’s okay, by the way, to be a little selfish in the art department.

I nearly found myself wishing — as I encountered beautifully-crafted works of original furnishings, table and wall art — that I had a law firm, swanky restaurant or other business where I could display them. I suppose it’d be tacky to call the dentist, orthodontist and such over the weekend, but it’s more than a little tempting.

Still, I’m happy with my humble blogging gig — which’ll find me hitting “Gypsy” at Phoenix Theatre, Arizona Poetry Out Loud finals at Phoenix Center for the Arts, “The Great Gatsby” at Arizona Theatre Company, “Green Eggs & Ham” with The Phoenix Symphony (and lots more) this month. It’s all in a day’s art.

— Lynn

Note: The Scottsdale Arts Festival runs 10am-6pm Sat, March 10 and 10am-5pm Sun, March 11.

Coming up: We take care of our own, Art adventures in NYC


Go Irish!

Natalie Irish poses with her self-portrait at the Scottsdale Arts Festival

Not that Irish, silly. I’m talking art, not athletics — after chatting with artists Natalie Irish and her hubby Dennis Bateman at the Scottsdale Arts Festival that runs through Sunday at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, where I suspect that sailing a football past the gift shop and such might be frowned on.

You’ll spot Irish’s white tent on a lush green lawn to your right not long after you enter the festival. She’s on one side of the center’s giant red Robert Indiana “LOVE” sculpture, and another one of my favorite tents — for Scottsdale’s “100 + Journals Project” — is on the other. The latter has a nifty place for kids, teens and grown-ups to create with all sorts of papers, rubber stamps, drawing supplies and such.

Elvis meets thumbprint thanks to Texas artist Natalie Irish

Irish gave me a guided tour of sorts through her work, most made with lipstick kisses but others with thumbprints. “One day I was putting on lipstick to go out,” she told me, “and I got lipstick on my fingers.” A new art adventure, informed by the work of Chuck Close, was born. “We don’t have kids,” Irish told me. The work is their baby.

A work of feminist art by Natalie Irish, shown at the 2012 Scottsdale Arts Festival

One piece in particular feels especially timely. In the lower righthand corner there’s a plain grey building — inspired by a Planned Parenthood site in Houston. The “feminist piece” also features a woman Irish considers a logo of sorts. It’s all a remarkable blend of new frontiers and the familiar.

Natalie Irish sharing her work at the 2012 Scottsdale Arts Festival

Irish offered the following quip after I asked when she got started making art — “In utero.” Irish speaks of growing up about thirty minutes south of Houston, and having a mother who does watercolor. “We’re all country folk,” says Irish — who still recalls winning a prize at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo for a childhood painting of her aunt’s horse.

Tools of the trade for Natalie Irish

It’s hard for Irish to say just how many hours a day she devotes to her craft. Seems she’soften got art on the brain while doing everyday household type stuff, and the nature of her work necessitates working in “short spurts.” On the long table she’s got covered in various works, Irish has some odd tools of the trade. Vaseline. Baby oil. And a tub of mostly homemade lipstick. Best to keep her trademark tools tender.

Irish was especially excited to show me this new work

Irish studied art in community college and university settings, but seems to have found her bliss outside the classroom — except during summers spent teaching art to kids. The woman who kisses canvas for a living has another passion — throwing pottery. She’s done pottery for more than a decade but recalls that “for the first three months you make dog bowls.” Not a bad deal for the couple’s dog and four cats.

One of many Natalie Irish works at the Scottsdale Arts Festival

I asked Irish to share advice for parents on the subject of art. “Try everything,” she told me. “Have fun with it.” Bateman added that “half the battle is having parents who support it” — noting that “it’s all about parents getting them there and getting them supplies.” Good news for parents who feel they’ve got few art skills to share. Make time and space. Your child will run with it.

Look for Natalie Irish at the Scottsdale Arts Festival near the giant red LOVE sculpture by Robert Indiana

So what of art in our schools? “More of it,” quips Irish. Bateman shares that Bad Religion, one of the couple’s favorite bands, has given scholarships to students — and says they dream of one day doing the same. “Any revolution of any valor was inpired by the arts,” says Bateman. Perhaps the next one will begin with kiss.

— Lynn

Note: You can watch Irish working on a different piece each day of the Scottsdale Arts Festival — which continues 10am-6pm Sat (March 10) and 10am-5pm Sun (March 11). Click here for details about parking, tickets and such. Click here to learn more about Irish and her work.

Coming up: More festival fun — in words and pictures

Playing favorites?

Works by Nicholas Bernard previously exhibited at the Scottsdale Art Festival

My virtual in-box gets plenty of “vote for me” messages, which I rarely run with because I hate to play favorites. I didn’t push the potty at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts when it was nominated for a top bathroom prize a while back, and still feel wracked with guilt each time I think about those other people taking the prettiest potty prize.

Hence I’m passing along the latest plea from my friends over at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts — who hope we’ll all vote in the “2012 Top 10 Fairs and Festivals” contest now underday on the “AmericanStyle Magazine” website.

Votes are being accepted at americanstylemagazine.com, and those who vote are entered to win a cool cash prize. I’m told that Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts has placed in the top ten each year the magazine has held this competition, often making the top five — and securing the top slot in 2005. Last year it was rated #2.

Gerber Daisy Brooch by Michele Friedman

The center’s “Scottsdale Arts Festival” is one of three Arizona nominees, along with the “Celebration of Fine Art” in Scottsdale and the “Sedona Arts Festival.”

Happily, the magazine’s lovely ballot lets you choose up to three fairs and festivals, so the faint of heart needn’t pit one Arizona festival against another.

I was miffed about the lack of Shakespeare festivals in the pack before discovering that all the nominees are art fairs and festivals. So glad the lightbulb went on before I whipped out all my magnificent Shakespearean insults.

If you’ve never seen the beautiful bathrooms at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, this is a good week to take the plunge. There’s a “Harlan Jacobson’s Talk Cinema” event at 7pm tonight, and a “Pandora Showcase” this weekend featuring the works of Arizona women playwrights — including Debra Rich Gettleman, who writes the “Unmotherly Insights” blog published by Raising Arizona Kids Magazine.

If Gettleman hasn’t yet written on the topic of beautiful bathrooms, she certainly needs to. Even the ugliest parts of daily life are transformed through the prism of her pen.

— Lynn

Note: I’m looking for American flag art for an upcoming Veterans Day post. If you have something to share, please send it to me at rakstagemom@gmail.com before Friday at noon — thanks!

Coming up: Musings on Mannheim Steamroller, Valley art meets Veterans Day

Knaves, MTV & call for artists

Timing isn’t everything. But it’s pretty darn important.

So here’s a roundup of time-sensitive arts news — including calls from various local and national organizations for your participation.

First, something you wouldn’t normally expect from Mesa’s neck of the woods — a call for possible knaves to complement a cadre of wenches.

Seem the education and outreach folks for the Southwest Shakespeare Company in Mesa recently held auditions for their “Wenches & Knaves” program — which provides opportunities for high school students who are enthusiastic about Shakespeare (aren’t they all?).

But alas — the wenches outnumber the knaves so the search for eligible young men continues. Selected participants “will benefit from workshops with highly qualified classical actors, tickets to shows and sometimes even onstage experience,” according to Dawn Rochelle Tucker, director of education for the Southwest Shakespeare Company.

Wenches and Knaves members help SSC promote shows and sell souvenirs, represent SSC on the streets of the Valley in full Shakespearean costume and perform the Bard’s work geurilla style at festivals and other venues.

Students also work in areas of character development, text work, personal voice and improvisation. Interested boys in grades 11 and 12 can contact Sara Chambers with SSC at schambers@swshakespeare.org for audition and program information.

But make haste. The 2010/2011 season for the Southwest Shakespeare Company opens soon with “Blood Royal,” being performed at the Mesa Arts Center.

Second, news from a national organization called Americans for the Arts — which is holding a “Why Arts Matter” video contest. The winning video will be shown on the MTV screen in NYC’s Times Square, and the winner will be there to capture it on his or her new Flip UltraHD Camcorder.

Video entries can be uploaded to YouTube through Sept 24. A voting period takes place between Sept 24 and Oct 8 — with the winner will be announced on Oct 12 to kick off National Arts & Humanities Month.

Finally, a call for artists from the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts –which is seeking artists working in all media to exhibit at the 41st annual Scottsdale Arts Festival on March 11-13, 2011.

Participating artists will be selected by a jury of arts professionals who will also award prizes in several categories — including ceramic, furniture, glass, jewelry, mixed media, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, textiles and woodworking.

The award-winning festival displays the work of some 200 artists from throughout North America among the gardens, fountains and walkways of the Scottsdale Civic Center.

The festival attracts “tens of thousands of Scottsdale-area residents and visitors,” who also can enjoy live music, entertainment, fine food and wine, and activities for children.

Works of art can be purchased at the event or via online auction, with proceeds benefiting arts and youth education programs of the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.

There you have it. Now get out there and alert your favorite knaves, videographers and artists…


Graphics from www.cafepress.com — which offers a wide range of products perfect for gift giving

Note: If your organization is issuing a call for visual or performing artists, please add a brief comment below to share information about your opportunity with our readers

Coming up:  New and improved theater venues in the Valley, Sunday’s free “Grandparents Day: Passport to Japan” celebration at the Arizona Museum for Youth in Mesa

Update: The Arizona Jewish Theatre Company holds auditions Thursday, Sept 16, for its “All Rights Reserved Teen Improv Troupe.” Auditions begin at 7pm at Congregation Beth Israel and youth ages 13-18 can call 602-264-0402 to schedule an appointment time.

Sexy in the city?

I was thrilled to discover yesterday that fellow RAK blogger Debra Rich Gettleman—who writes “Unmotherly Insights” amidst other gigs that include parenting, acting, playwriting and more—made the daily ‘best of blogs’ for WordPress for the second time.

Big '80s hair is back...But is it sexy?

I shared the news with my husband and daughters over dinner as we celebrated Jennifer’s move to on-campus housing, and we got to wondering whether a “Stage Mom” post might fare as well if I jazzed up some of my titles (as if yesterday’s “potluck” teaser wasn’t exciting enough).

Debra’s post (titled “Sexy mama!”) features a photo of the orange and pink Dunkin’ Donuts logo. Jennifer suggested I try a little “social experiment”–punctuating my posts with words like “sexy” for a week or so to see what happens.

I started wondering whether any of my upcoming topics might actually warrant this description. Classes offered by private performing arts studios? Nope. Museum-related careers? Nope. Teaching tolerance through the arts? Nope.

Then it came to me…

The Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts recently announced their upcoming season. If you think of “sexy” as intriguing, exciting and provocative, this venue clearly qualifies. Those who consider the brain a bonafide erogenous zone may be especially inclined to agree.

One of King Tut's sexier moments?

For the ‘smart equals sexy’ crowd, they’ll present the likes of singer-songwriter Lyle Lovett, comedian and banjoist Steve Martin, and Tony-Award winning actor John Lithgow (known to fans of Showtime’s “Dexter” as “The Trinity Killer”).

For the ‘exotic is sexy’ arts lover, there’s the taiko drummers of Kodo—and The Mystical Arts of Tibet.

If jazz is what turns you on, get ready for jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis, trumpeter Doc Severinsen & El Ritmo de la Vida, the Count Basie Orchestra and The Manhattan Transfer.

Sexy covered by a cat suit

Broadway buffs will delight in performances by Tony Award winners Bernadette Peters (who’ll grace the stage of the Virginia G. Piper Theater for the ARTrageous celebration in December) and Betty Buckley of CATS fame.

Fans of “Seth’s Big Fat Broadway” on SIRIUS XM are no doubt wondering whether the “a-mah-zing” Seth Rudetsky might accompany Buckley on piano, which would merit a “sexy” and “donuts” designation from some theater folk.

If you’ve read a good sampling of my 200 + “Stage Mom” posts (I never miss a day), you can likely guess what my personal favorite for the Center’s upcoming season might be…

It’s the Merce Cunningham Dance Company “Legacy Tour,” which offers your “last opportunity to see this great American dance company perform the choreography of the late Merce Cunningham before it disbands.”

My mother told me long ago that you don’t have to reveal everything to be sexy. And so I’ll offer just a few more peeks at what the Scottsdale Center for the Arts has in store…

Sexy in a Shakespearean sort of way

Film screenings. Holiday shows. Family fare. Classical music. Shakespeare. Rock opera. Political humor. Best-selling authors. Acting workshops. Hispanic heritage celebrations. Native American song and dance. And Scottsdale traditions including “Sunday A’Fair” and the “Scottsdale Arts Festival.”

Holding back a bit also gives me another excuse to go “sexy” with future posts. So stay tuned, and check the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts website in the meantime for more juicy details about all things “sexy” in their upcoming season.

When it comes to the Arizona arts scene, Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts brings “sexy” to the city…