Scottsdale Arts Festival Celebrates 50 Years

Annual weekend-long celebration of creativity returns in March

Scottsdale Arts Festival celebrates its 50th anniversary March 13 – 15. The annual weekend-long celebration of creativity attracts nearly 20,000 loyal visitors. Guests will enjoy the best in visual, culinary, cultural and performing arts throughout the newly renovated 20-acre Scottsdale Civic Center Park.

Since its inception in 1969, the festival has taken place in different locations throughout Scottsdale: Scottsdale City Hall, Scottsdale High School, the Executive House to name a few. Each successive year the scope of the Festival increased and news about the quality of the event spread among regional artists. In 1973, the Scottsdale Fine Arts Commission initiated the idea of commissioning a special commemorative print honoring the event and an untitled work by artist James Rom was chosen. Some of these commissioned pieces will be on display during the Festival’s 50th celebration. In 1989, the Scottsdale Cultural Council (now known as Scottsdale Arts) took over administrating and producing the Scottsdale Arts Festival. International, national and local art exhibitions and installations have always provided engaging enhancements to Festival goers.

“The City of Scottsdale has built a reputation as a community that values and supports the arts, and I am very proud that this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Arts Festival. As one of our most popular and long-standing events, the Arts Festival showcases some of the most talented artist from across the nation. Our world-class community appreciates arts and culture as evidenced by this event’s 50 years of success, and we look forward to further growth under the Scottsdale Arts leadership,” says Mayor Lane.

The festival showcases more than 180 jury-selected artists from the United States and abroad. This year’s featured artists are local husband and wife printmakers Stephen and Bonnie Harmston. The Festival commissioned Harmston Arts to create an original commissioned artwork celebrating 50 years of the Scottsdale Arts Festival. In addition to the Harmston’s work, attendees can experience and purchase works ranging from painting, sculpture, glass, ceramics and jewelry to photography and other media.

“The Scottsdale Arts Festival has been a part of Scottsdale’s DNA for five decades and has continued to bring the best in visual, cultural, performing and culinary arts nestled throughout the beautiful park. The Festival is Scottsdale’s oldest continuous arts festival and attracts a broad audience, from families and young professionals to retirees and discriminating art buyers,” says Jamie Prins, Scottsdale Arts Festival director.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary, the Festival and Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation curated a retrospective exhibition. It features a broad range of previous Festival items: photos, merchandise, posters, magazine and newspaper articles and more. The exhibition will be on view Feb. 28 – March 15, in the ArtReach Space inside Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.

Guests can partake in a silent auction, where they can bid on an original piece of commemorative festival artwork and many other items donated by participating 2020 exhibiting artists. The Festival is a major fundraiser for Scottsdale Arts, and proceeds support the dynamic and diverse performances, exhibitions, installations, and arts education and outreach programs presented by Scottsdale Arts.


Scottsdale Arts Festival

March 13–15

Scottsdale Civic Center Park, 3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd., Scottsdale

For more information and tickets, visit scottsdaleartsfestival.org.

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