Scottsdale Arts and Culture Journey
April 29, 2019
While there are many cultural events happening throughout the year in Scottsdale, there are some cultural venues that can be enjoyed all year round. Here are our picks for your Scottsdale arts and cultural journey—enjoy!
Day 1 – Western Spirit: Scottsdale Museum of the West
Begin your journey with the Western Spirit: Scottsdale Museum of the West and its exhibits of Western and Native American art, artifacts and cultural treasures. Past exhibits have included authentic Old West cowboy gear, Hopi pottery, Kit Carson’s pistol and message pouch, and Native Buffalo robes. Conveniently located on the free downtown trolley line, the museum is accessible from any part of the city.
Western Spirit: Scottsdale Museum of the West
3830 N. Marshall Way Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Day 2 – Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
Designed by award-winning architect Will Bruder, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) features modern and contemporary art from around the world, and is a critical part of Scottsdale culture. Exhibits are pulled from the worlds of music, literature, art, dance, performance art and film. Stroll through the museum’s exhibit spaces or attend one of the museum’s lectures or programs. Past programs have included piñata making and Japanese flower arranging. The outdoor courtyard has one of James Turrell’s Skyspaces; it’s worth the trip just to see this beautiful space.
Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
7374 2nd Street
Day 3 – Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West
Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, Taliesin West in Scottsdale is a National Historic Landmark. Constructed over a period of twenty years by Wright and his apprentices and set in a Sonoran Desert Preserve, Taliesin West is a perfect example of Wright’s later architectural style. The buildings rise up and off the desert rocks and appear to be part of them at the same time. There are several tours, including the Panorama Tour, the Night Lights Tour, and Desert “Shelter” Tour.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West
12345 North Taliesin Drive
Day 4 – ASU Kerr Cultural Center
A one-of-a-kind historic adobe performing arts venue, ASU Kerr Cultural Center was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2010. It showcases a wide variety of performing arts shows, including its well-known jazz concerts. The Kerr Center was begun by “The Grand Lady of Arizona Music,” Louise Lincoln Kerr, in her adobe house and studio and has served as a performance hall and gathering place for musicians (including Pablo Casals and Isaac Stern) since 1959. There is sure to be a musical or theatrical performance scheduled during your visit that you will enjoy at this mecca of Scottsdale culture. This historic structure is worth a visit.
ASU Kerr Cultural Center
6110 North Scottsdale Road
Day 5 – Main Street Scottsdale Art Galleries
If you enjoy art, you need to visit the internationally recognized Main Street Galleries in downtown Scottsdale. You can stroll through the galleries on your own and view the work of over 1,000 artists in 40+ galleries. And, every Thursday night the galleries open their doors for the Scottsdale ArtWalk. Serious collector or casual browser, you won’t want to miss visiting this Scottsdale art mecca.
Day 6 – Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum
Located in nearby Mesa, the Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum is home to exhibits focusing on the story of military aviators. Tour vintage WWII planes, take a ride in a B-17, and view exhibits on aircraft and war memorabilia including displays from WWII and Vietnam.
Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum
2017 North Greenfield Road
Day 7 – Food & Drink Tours
One of the best and most enjoyable ways to get to know a city is through its food. And, Scottsdale does enjoy good food and drink! There are many food-oriented tours and some combine food with the history of the city. Walk, bike, or Segway your way through town while drinking and dining. Tour options include craft beer, wine, fine dining, coffee & dessert tours, and happy hour tours.
Day 8 – Art & Cultural Tours
Short on time? Then Ultimate Art & Cultural Tours might be just right for you. They feature a selection of tours that provide an overview of the art and culture of the area. The LocalMotion Trolley Tour is a 2-hour tour winding through the Arts District, the Waterfront and more, while the Arizona Art Tours provides access to premier art galleries, artists’ studios and many of the area’s art museums. And the Arizona Architectural Tour highlights modern architecture in the area, including the current fav –Mid Century Modern.
Ultimate Art & Cultural Tours
Day 9 – Scottsdale Public Art
Great art can be found all around Scottsdale, not just in its art galleries and museums. These public works of art are best viewed while walking through the city. Download an interactive map from ScottsdalePublicArt.org and create your own tour to enjoy at your own pace. Use the suggested route or pick and choose your own itinerary. Here are a few highlights for your tour: the Soleri Bridge and Plaza, (designed by Italian architect Paolo Soleri, the bridge is also a solar calendar), the Goldwater Bell(featuring bronze bells cast by Soleri himself), One-Eyed Jack(a huge white metal rabbit located in the Arts District), Windows to the Westby Louise Nevelson (her first large sculptural installation in the southwest), the Frank Lloyd Wright Spire(located in the Promenade), and the iconic LOVEsculpture by Robert Indiana.
Scottsdale Public Art
Day 10 – Heard Museum
Founded in 1929 and focusing on American Indian art, the Heard Museum is internationally known for its exhibits, educational programming, and its festivals. Past exhibitions have included Away from Home: American Indian Boarding School Stories, Behind the Mask: Indigenous Artists Speak Out(COVID-19 related masks created by American Indian artists), The Third Dimension: Sculptural Stories in Stone & Bronze(works by leading American Indian sculptures), Through the Lens of Barry Goldwater(a collection of prints made from color slides by the Arizona senator) and David Hockney’s Yosemite and Masters of California Basketry. Leave time for the museum shop where you can find lovely American Indian inspired jewelry, baskets, Navajo Folk Art and textiles, Kachina Dolls, Zuni Fetish Carvings and more.
2301 North Central Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85004
A Rental as Beautiful as Scottsdale Art
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