Scottsdale Arts Festival is Celebrating its 50th Anniversary

Article Pixel
Scottsdale Arts Festival is Celebrating its 50th Anniversary

Scottsdale Arts Festival celebrates its 50th anniversary March 13-15, 2020 and is an annual weekend-long celebration of creativity. The Festival attracts nearly 20,000 loyal visitors annually, where guests enjoy the best in visual, culinary, cultural and performing arts throughout the newly renovated 20-acre Scottsdale Civic Center Park. Single day admission for this world-class, multi-disciplinary festival is $10 if purchased prior to Feb. 1, and $12 starting Feb. 2.

Since its inception in 1969, the Festival has taken place in several different locations throughout Scottsdale: Scottsdale City Hall, Scottsdale High School, the Executive House, to name a few. Each successive year the scope of the Festival increased and news about the quality of the event spread among regional artists. In 1973, the Scottsdale Fine Arts Commission initiated the idea of commissioning a special commemorative print honoring the event and an untitled work by artist James Rom was chosen. Some of these commissioned pieces will be on display during the Festival's 50th celebration. In 1989, the Scottsdale Cultural Council (now known as Scottsdale Arts) took over administrating and producing the Scottsdale Arts Festival. International, national and local art exhibitions and installations have always provided engaging enhancements to Festival goers.

"The City of Scottsdale has built a reputation as a community that values and supports the arts, and I am very proud that this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Arts Festival! As one of our most popular and long-standing events, the Arts Festival showcases some of the most talented artist from across the nation. Our world class community appreciates arts and culture as evidenced by this event's 50 years of success, and we look forward to further growth under the Scottsdale Arts leadership," said Mayor Lane.

The festival showcases more than 180 jury-selected artists from the United States and abroad. This year's featured artists are local husband and wife printmakers Stephen and Bonnie Harmston. The Festival commisioned HarmstonArts to create an original commissioned artwork celebrating 50 years of the Scottsdale Arts Festival. In addition to the Harmston's work, attendees can experience and purchase works ranging from painting, sculpture, glass, ceramics, jewelry, photography and other media.

"The Scottsdale Arts Festival has been a part of Scottsdale's DNA for five decades and has continued to bring the best in visual, cultural, performing and culinary arts nestled throughout the beautiful park. The Festival is Scottsdale's oldest, continuous arts festival and attracts a broad audience, from families and young professionals to retirees and discriminating art buyers," said Jamie Prins, Scottsdale Arts Festival director.

Festivalgoers can enjoy live music and entertainment under the sun as a central part of the Scottsdale Arts Festival, and this year's lineup has tunes for everyone performed by local and regional bands all weekend featuring music through the decades on two stages. It will kick off on Friday, March 13 with jazz-based collective House of Stairs and a '90s inspired set. At 4 p.m. Saturday, March 14 the Festival welcomes headliners Yachty by Nature - an authentic Southern California Yacht Rock band - where patrons can sail away on a sunset cruise through '70s and '80s soft rock. Other lineup highlights include The Sugar Theives, Jovert and Salt River String Band. The Festival is bringing the popular Silent Disco to its Fountain Stage from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, March 14. Guests can check out a set of headphones to join the surreal, silent dance party and vibe to the beat of Silent Disco's DJ. Returning this year is Bring Your Own Mat Yoga every morning in front of Fountain Stage from 11 a.m. to noon Friday and Saturday and 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Sunday. Participants can take advantage of this opportunity with a regular price admission ticket and enjoy the Festival after an all-level yoga session.

Explore and cultivate creativity at the Scottsdale Arts Festival with hands-on activities, giant yard games (from Corn Hole to Jenga to Connect 4), museum visits and more. Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) will host Trivia @SMoCA at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 14 in SMoCA Lounge. Patrons can purchase a special $12 single day ticket that includes entry into the trivia event. The popular Community Art Studio returns with fun for all ages, including community collage on the handcrafted Scottsdale Arts sign and experiences with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale and Scottsdale Artist School, as well as storytelling with the Scottsdale Public Library.

Scottsdale Public Art and Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation present local artists Roy Wasson Valle and Koryn Woodward Wasson's "Camp Dreamtree" at the Festival for the first time. This all-inclusive, interactive installation explores a bright and colorful world focusing on each new DreamScout being "small, but part of the whole." The installation is comprised of three main parts: a visitor center, a fire pit, and four stations/houses with self-guided and artist led projects to take home. There will be narrative-based activities for all ages in congruent with the installation throughout the weekend.

Valley food lovers do not have to walk far for excellent culinary options. The Festival has a lineup of exceptional local gourmet food trucks and eateries, including 2 Fat Guys Grilled Cheese Truck, Barrie's Kettle Corn, Be Crepeful, Biscuit Bombers, Dilla Libre, Eur Haus, Hibachibot, Lulu's Sorbetto, Mini Donut Trolley, Mustache Pretzels, Nuttylicious, Paletas Betty, Reef's Kitchen, Riley's Spice of Life, Short Leash Hotdogs, The Maine Lobster Lady, The Pizza Sloth and Untamed Confections. A variety of fine wines, beers, cocktails and other beverages will be for sale, including three bars featuring MIlagro Tequila, Boochcraft Hard Kombucha and other products featured from Hensley Beverage. Along with featured activities and photo opportunities with Hendrick's Gin. Additionally, patrons can bring their own reusable water bottles and use the City of Scottsdale's water trailer for an easy refill to stay hydrated.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary, the Festival and Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation curated a retrospective exhibition. It features a broad range of previous Festival items: photos, merchandise, posters, magazine and newspaper articles and more. The exhibition will be on view Feb. 28 - March 15, 2020 in the ArtReach Space inside Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.

Guests can partake in a silent auction from 5 p.m., March 13 to noon, March 16, where they can bid on an original piece of commemorative festival artwork and many other items donated by participating 2020 exhibiting arists. Additionally, the Festival is a major fundraiser for Scottsdale Arts and proceeds support the dynamic and diverse performances, exhibitions, installations, and arts education and outreach programs presented by Scottsdale Arts.

"Our goal is to continue to offer unique, experiential opportunities that will not only engage and inspire attendees, but encourage a future generation of art buyers and collectors. We are proud to continue this legacy for Scottsdale and the surrounding communities. We hope the community will get involved in celebrating the 50th anniversary with us," said Prins.

During the Festival weekend, admission will be free to Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA), which will showcase new spring exhibitions: "Murmuration" through May 2020, "Design Transfigured/Waste Reimagined" through May 15 and "Unapologetic: All Women, All Year" through Jan. 31, 2021. On view at Center Space inside Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts is "i hear what you're seeing" through April 26.

"Excess of premium art" - Scottsdale Progress
"One of the more well-known and coveted art festivals" - Arcadia News


- Through Feb. 1 pre-sale single day ticket is $10 (available online only)
- After Feb. 1, single day ticket is $12, two-day pass is $20
- $6 for students (student pricing not available online)

- Free admission for children 12 and under

- Free admission for members with a ONE Membership
- $2 off single ticket price for patrons 65 and older, and for veterans/military (with valid I.D.). This discount is only available at Festival entrances and not valid off $10 advance ticket price. The $2 discount for seniors and veterans/military cannot be combined with any other discounts.

- 50% off single ticket price for patrons who have turned or will turn 50 years old in 2020 (with valid I.D.). This discount is only available at Festival entrances and not valid off $10 advance ticket price. The 50% off discount cannot be combined with any other discounts.


Parking and trolley service are free. No pets are allowed, except for service animals. Additional information is available through or 480-499-8587.

On March 14 and 15 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Festival is offering a free service through Trusting Connections Nanny Agency, which will allow parents to drop off potty-trained children ages 3+ for one-hour timeslots during the Festival. While in the care of Trusting Connections Nanny Agency, the children will create a collaborative art project that will then be donated to Phoenix Children's Hospital.

Related Articles View More Phoenix Stories   Shows

More Hot Stories For You