Art in January – Major Exhibitions in the Valley of the Sun

In Central Arizona’s “Valley of the Sun”, Winter is the great season for art exhibitions. Dozens of galleries in Scottsdale’s Old Town participate in Thursday Night Art Walks, with many hosting artists in residence and artist shows. Studio tours and local shows abound.

Several “really big” art venues literally spring up out of the desert from January through March each Winter, in combination featuring hundreds of artists. Sprawling tent structures are established at two different locations. In each, the selected artists are expected to spend much of their winter working in the place, available for conversation, viewing of usually significant selections of their work – and of course for purchase if you are so inspired!

Other locations host a rotating series of arts and crafts shows within town center settings, with varying themes over the Winter.

Here are three of the major exhibitions in January (I may see you there!):

Carefree Art & Wine Festival 2014
More than 100 artists and artisans are featured in this show, looping around the desert gardens and boutiques of the Town of Carefree town center (famed for its world’s largest sundial). Located just southeast of the intersection of Cave Creek Road and Tom Darlington Blvd (the northerly extension of Scottsdale Blvd), with a low admission fee, the outdoor setting is perfect on a warm Winter weekend. The Festival runs from January 17-19, 2014, and is open from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. (MST).

One of our favorite artists from last year’s Festival returns in 2014.  The very personable Richard Curtner is a Palm Springs, California artist who creates very innovative word collage scenes.

"Sunday Afternoon" by Richard Curtner (c)2012

“Sunday Afternoon” by Richard Curtner (c)2012

Each tells a compelling story in a landscape or portrait created from phrases clipped from magazines – with the text fully supporting the story of the picture.  His website helps “tell the story”: .

Arizona Fine Art Festival

This massive “in the tents” festival features 110 artists, and runs from January 16 through March 30, 2014 with open hours from  10:00  a.m. until 6:00  p.m.,  seven days a week.  Ticket prices are quite reasonable, with season-long access.  The festival is located at the southwest corner of Jomax Road and Scottsdale Road,  a few miles north of the Loop 101 Agua Fria Freeway.

One of my favorite southwestern contemporary artists, Robert Burt, will be painting in-situ, as all of the artists create their studio away from the studio in the tents, and work for the duration of the Festival.

Robert Burt (c)2013

Robert Burt (c)2013

The Arizona Fine Art Festival website provides all necessary details, including profiles of every artist in attendance, at .

Celebration of Fine Art

The other massive, “in the tents” art festival in North Scottsdale, again boasting more than 100 artists on display and working on site, is located just a few miles away from the previously mentioned exhibition, the Celebration of Fine Arts is open daily from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. from January 11 until March 23, 2014.  Again admission prices are very reasonable.  The Celebration site is on Hayden Road just south of Loop 101 Agua Fria Freeway in Scottsdale (exit 35 – there are several “appearances” of Hayden Road in the area…).  Once again, their website provides all of the details and artist profiles, at .

One of my favorite artists here is Sandy Young, from Sonoma, California, whose mixed media work is entitled “Pages of Mystery”.  Her works spring from the idea of “palimpsest” (a familiar concept to RenaissanceRules readers!), with many layers of work and many layers of meaning to tell stories of life.

A "Page of Mystery" by Sandy Young (c)2013

A “Page of Mystery” by Sandy Young (c)2013

Great contemporary art abounds in America, too!  For me, the Valley of the Sun in the Winter with these three great exhibitions – and many, many more – is the Winter equivalent to Laguna Beach, California’s famous Summer exhibitions – The Festival of Fine Art, The Sawdust Festival, and The Art-A-Fair.

Beware…”Art Overload” is a very real possibility!


About randysrules

From a professional background in architecture, community and regional planning, urban design, leadership, and fine arts, this blog provides insights on ethics, leadership, architecture/planning/urban design, Venice, and whatever intrigues me at the time. Enjoy!
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