The History of Celebration of Fine Art in Scottsdale, AZ

Scottsdale, Arizona has a rich history of celebrating the arts. The city has always been home to artists and art enthusiasts alike, and it has shown in the variety and quality of the art that is on display throughout the city. Here's a look at some of the highlights from over the years.

Thinking Out Of The Box

When Tom and Ann Morrow founded the Celebration of Fine Art in 1991, they thought it would be well received by art enthusiasts. 20,000 people came to see what the performance was all about that first year.

When Tom Morrow chose to rent a super-sized tent to hold an art show in Scottsdale that year, it was unheard of. The sort that has never been imagined before.

He wanted to put on an art display like the ones he'd seen in California. Art was exclusively sold in typical art galleries at the time. Simply said, selling paintings under a huge tent was insane. It was described as "out-of-the-box thinking."

Its first year ran for eight weeks and was received with acclaim and hordes of people who were enthralled by the novel way of presenting art. It was, and continues to be, a one-of-a-kind experience – part gallery, half working studio, and part art display – all placed in an upmarket and private, yet friendly, warm, and participatory setting.

Tom's daughter Susan Morrow Potje and her husband Jake continue the heritage, passion, and devotion today. In 2004, the husband-and-wife pair took over as president, with the goal of preserving the Celebration of Fine Art's culture as a meeting place for art enthusiasts and artists.

The show, which was expanded to ten weeks in 1996, is juried for quality and diversity in order to reflect a wide range of fine art and craft. The show's most striking impact, though, is the strong, personal bonds that develop between artists and art fans.

Three Decades Later...

The Celebration now attracts 50,000 visitors each year, with many returning numerous times during the season. It has become Arizona's longest-running art show!

The event has attracted over 1.5 million people from all over the world over the course of its 31-year history, with many of them making it an annual habit.

The big white tents are one of the signature trademarks of Celebration of Fine Art in Scottsdale.  These tents are erected in downtown Scottsdale throughout the duration of the event. These tents house fine art, crafts, and commercial exhibitors.

From January through March, 100 artists set up shop at the Celebration of Fine Art, working on their creations while chatting with passers-by or hanging out to watch every subtlety required to make a sculpture or painting achieve its full potential.

Painting, stone, bronze, and glass sculpture, mixed media furniture, pottery, and jewelry are among the artists' methods of expression. The majority of the works are original art or work done on-site. The exhibit also has an outside patio and workstation, in addition to the tent.

According to the recent press, the Celebration of Fine Art is a selected, invitational event that has become known for its broad selection of excellent art, but more significantly for its friendly and engaging atmosphere that stimulates interaction between art lovers and artists.

The Celebration of Fine Art has been an important location for artists and art enthusiasts to connect over the duration of its 30-year history. The Celebration of Fine Art will continue to be a place where people from all walks of life can engage with artists and see their work come to life in front of their eyes, even though they've had measures in place for distancing for the past two years to protect the health and safety of their artists and guests.

By Dru Bloomfield - https://www.flickr.com/photos/athomeinscottsdale/3836187025/in/photostream/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=95427764

Expansions Through The Years

The Art Discovery Series, a live and interactive event where attendees can learn about the adventures, stories, and processes that shape art, is also held during the show. Metalworking, jewelry making, abstract art, sculpting, and many more themes are discussed by the artists.

Enjoy lunch or wine in the cafe while strolling around the outdoor sculpture garden, which displays approximately 100 works of life-sized and gigantic sculpture. Guests may see monthly demonstrations of woodturning, welding, kiln firings, and glass blowing in the outdoor sculpture garden.

The Celebration of Fine Art fosters dialogue and connections between artists and consumers by being purposefully casual while being professional. The artists love the professional stimulus they find working alongside one other every January through March, and this congenial and friendly setting fosters camaraderie among them.

The Celebration of Fine Art in Scottsdale is a longstanding tradition that has seen many changes over the years. From an event held at just one venue, to three different venues hosting events simultaneously, there’s never been so much variety offered for this annual art show. To learn more about how you can get involved with this year’s festivities or any of its side benefits, call us today!


Are You Looking for Contemporary Art to Complement Your Home?

The Marshall Gallery, located in Scottsdale’s Historic Arts District, has been the center of contemporary art since its founding in 1998. Boasting a collection of paintings, sculptures, and exquisite glass pieces, the gallery hosts several exhibitions each year plus a biennial glass invitational that attracts top-notch talent. Here you will find exceptional art presented in an open and relaxed gallery space, which is perfect for browsing the ever-changing collection. Explore on your own, or allow our expert art consultants to offer complimentary assistance to find the perfect addition to your own collection. Looking for the perfect piece of art to complement your home’s decor? Visit us in person or browse our online art store!


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Hours of Operation

Monday - Saturday: 10 a.m - 5:30 p.m.
Thursday: Extended hours from 7 - 9 p.m. for the Scottsdale ArtWalk
Sunday: Closed

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