Art Festivals in Scottsdale

By local contributor
Cacinda Maloney

If there is one thing that Scottsdale is known for, it is their love affair with the arts. So if you are looking for arts, food and cultural events, consider Scottsdale your one-stop shop. There are fabulous events happening almost every month of the year. So grab your calendar, mark your favorites, and get yourself to Scottsdale.


Scottsdale Arts Festival


Scottsdale Arts Festival (above, photo courtesy of Susan Lanier-Graham) is one of the largest events of its kind and showcases artists from the U.S. and Canada who work in all sorts of mediums, from music and sculpture to glass and jewelry, as well as photography and painting. Attendees of the Scottsdale Arts Festival will enjoy live music throughout the day, fun fare at local food trucks, and tented booths with the artists’ wares for sale. The festival takes place in March.


Celebration of Fine Art


Celebration of Fine Art encourages conversation between artists and patrons by allowing them to watch or interact with the 100+ fine-art artists as they create their work. The Celebration of Fine Art encompasses 40,000 square feet of art, surrounded by an acre of landscaped sculptured gardens. Exhibitions and demonstrations are held throughout the 10 weeks of the celebration, which runs from January to March.


Arizona Fine Art Expo


Arizona Fine Art Expo combines the aspects of a fine arts festival, a gallery and the inner-workings of an artist’s studio. The Expo offers a forum for artists who want to exhibit and sell their art, while working in an open-art studio environment with browsers from the public. It runs from January through March.


Waterfront Fine Art and Wine Festival


The Scottsdale Waterfront is the location for this festival with a European flair, where patrons stroll through the area while sipping wine and listening to music.  The Waterfront Fine Art and Wine Festival, sponsored by the Thunderbird Artists, features paintings, copper, clay sculptures, photography and more. It is located on SouthBridge, not far from Nordstrom at Scottsdale Fashion Square. This event is held in mid February.


Canal Convergence


During Canal Convergence, Scottsdale Public Art partners with Salt River Project to put on a show of Art + Water + Light for four amazing days and nights. The event features large-scale contemporary public art installations positioned along the banks of the Arizona Canal at the Scottsdale Waterfront. Also during Canal Convergence, there are interactive activities, live music, and performances along the canal banks between Scottsdale Road and Goldwater. You can expect to see artists at work, live dance demonstrations, and free workshops on a variety of topics. There also are stations set up for art making if you’d like to unleash your creative side. This event takes place in mid February.


The ArtFest of Scottsdale


This two-day event held at the Scottsdale Civic Center Park showcases work from more than 150 prolific artists from across the country. It specializes in one-of-a-kind works of art in the photography, painting, sculptures, ceramics, and metal arts genres. ArtFest of Scottsdale also offers live music, readings by local authors, a kids’ zone for activities, and food in a sculptured garden setting. This event occurs in November.


Sunday A’Fair


Sunday A’Fair is a series of 10 free outdoor concerts by local Valley musicians that takes place on the plush lawn at Scottsdale Civic Center Park. Patrons bring their blankets and picnic baskets for lounging and easy listening. For shoppers, there are arts and crafts booths located throughout the park. There also are docent-led sculpture tours and free admission to the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. This event occurs on select Sundays from January through early April.


The ArtWalk


I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the famed Scottsdale ArtWalk, which is held every Thursday night from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Scottsdale’s historic Arts District.  The ArtWalk is a casual evening where downtown galleries host special exhibits, artist demonstrations and live entertainment. Themed ArtWalks, such as the Native Spirit and Art in Motion events, are held on select Thursday nights. This free event takes place year-round.

So, pick a special event (or two, or three) and celebrate the art you love in Scottsdale, Arizona.