Scottsdale Summer Spectacular ArtWalk marks 25 years

Summer Spectacular ArtWalk began 25 years ago to dispel a myth: That no one is here in the summer, and after the tourists have moved on to cooler climates no one is interested in art and cultural happenings.

Betty Wilde, co-owner of Wilde Meyer Gallery, with locations on Marshall Way and Main Street, remembers.

“We started Summer Spectacular because everyone talks about the tourist season. But we wanted to show our appreciation for locals,” said Wilde, whose galleries have participated all 25 years. “They’re here year-round just like we are and they’re great patrons of the arts that live in Scottsdale, Phoenix and Paradise Valley.”

Summer Spectacular ArtWalk, Thursday, July 10, is one of more than a dozen special art walks each year that feature music, artist demonstrations, food and exhibitions through the city’s gallery districts along Main Street and Marshall Way.

“Some people didn’t stay open for ArtWalk during the summer,” Wilde said. “But Summer Spectacular made things exciting when it started. It was very celebratory and the galleries that were closing started to stay open.”

Some galleries will be serving wine, others beer, and many offer discounts on purchases or prizes at this month’s event. Patrons can catch live music along the ArtWalk route and several food trucks turn the evening into dinner and a date.

Scottsdale ArtWalk has been on Thursdays for nearly 40 years, yet people, even Scottsdale residents, still seem surprised that the galleries stay open late every Thursday night. The ArtWalk that extends along Main Street west of Scottsdale Road and on Marshall Way north of Indian School Road to Fifth Avenue is from 7 to 9 p.m. every Thursday.

“Maybe we’ve just gotten too complacent about letting people know,” Wilde said.

Wilde said her two gallery locations — the first one opened on Marshall Way 31 years ago — ship to national and international clients, but have always stocked contemporary art that appeals to Arizona patrons.

Although other galleries have closed or moved from the Scottsdale Arts District, especially on Marshall Way in recent years, Wilde Meyer has survived.

“We handle art we like and is salable and I think our clients will enjoy,” she said. “That’s why we’re still here.”

The gallery represents some of the same artists it began with more than 30 years ago, and has kept up with the times by marketing itself through social media, e-mail blasts and keeping its website fresh, she added.

Some of the galleries that have left the Scottsdale Arts District over the years have turned to Internet-only sales. But Wilde said having a storefront with art that people can look at and touch is imperative to attracting new clients.

“Art is about emotional connection and people like to come into the gallery to see a piece,” she said. “We do a lot of work all over the world but usually it is someone who had been in the gallery, connected with that artist in the beginning and then feels comfortable ordering sight unseen.”

On July 10, Wilde Mayer Gallery on Marshall Way and Wilde Meyer Annex on Main Street hopes to connect visitors with the emotional work of the humorous animal renderings of Timothy Chapman, the colorful dogs and trucks of Connie Townsend and the Southwest mixed-media/found object work of Charles Davison, among others.

Summer Spectacular

What:A special ArtWalk in the Scottsdale Arts District in which dozens of galleries stay open later and present special exhibitions, artist demonstrations, appetizers, beverages and live music.

When: 7-9 p.m. Thursday, July 10.

Where: Throughout the Scottsdale Arts District. Look for “ArtWalk the Line” (sidewalk decals) extending along Main Street west of Scottsdale Road and on Marshall Way north of Indian School Road to Fifth Avenue.


Summer Spectacular ArtWalk Highlights

Bonner David Galleries, 7040 E.Main St.

The gallery presents “Hang 10” show with chilled cerveza and the featured work of 10 artists.

Live Music

The ArtWalk features jazz, world music, acoustic guitar, soul, and island music from four artists.

Method Art, 4200 N.Marshall Way

The gallery will pay the sales tax on any emerging artist featured during the ArtWalk. Any art purchased by studio artists Davin Lavikka, Bob Price or Jeanne Ladewig-Goodman will receive 20 percent off.

Food Trucks

Make it dinner and a show by choosing among the several food trucks set up along the gallery district.

Lori Landis Art Gallery, 7077 E.Main St.

Landis presents a special “Ying and Yang” sale with art highlighting the circular motions of periods with activity followed by a plateau.

On the Edge Gallery, 7050 E.Fifth Ave.

As part of its “Hot Nights, Cool Art” exhibit, the gallery features five artists, some of them doing demonstrations. Gallery artists have painted terra cotta pots and customers who make a $25 purchase can choose their favorite pot with an aloe planted inside. Customers who make a $50 purchase can choose a pot with an aloe plant or one with specially created “art flowers” in it.

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