The Scottsdale Arts Festival

photos courtesy of Scottsdale Center For The Performing Arts

Above: Attendees can browse the work of 170 jury-selected artists. 

Expect delicious food, toe-tapping tunes, giant lawn games and plenty of family activities at the Scottsdale Arts Festival…but the main attraction is indisputably the art itself.

For 49 years, the Scottsdale Arts Festival has brought world-class art, live music and tasty eats to the heart of Old Town Scottsdale and is recognized as one of the top art fairs in America. Attracting nearly 25,000 loyal visitors annually, guests will enjoy the best in visual, culinary, cultural and performing arts throughout the well-groomed, 20-acre grounds of Scottsdale Civic Center Park.

“The Festival has been a part of Scottsdale’s DNA for many years and is poised to remain a mainstay in the arts and culture calendar. Its long running history and reputation in the community is showcased with local, national and international awards and recognition,” said Jamie Prins, Scottsdale Arts Festival director. 

Above: Festival guests can experience and purchase works ranging from painting, woodworking, jewelry and ceramics.


Hungry visitors can snack on kettle corn and Italian ice or refuel at food trucks parked on-site including Arcadia Farms, Be Crêpeful, Local Lunchbox, Short Leash Hot Dogs, Que Sazon, The Maine Lobster Lady, Satay Hut, Tom’s BBQ and Untamed Confections. Scottsdale Arts Festival was the first event to work with the Phoenix Street Food Coalition, introducing the community to gourmet food to-go. It seems appropriate that the culinary arts match the quality of the arts that are being presented. 

To quench your thirst, a variety of fine wines, beers, cocktails and other beverages will be for sale. The Deep Eddy Dive-In Bar at the Fountain Stage and the Milagro Tequila Pop-up Art Bar at the Amphitheater Stage will offer a wide assortment to choose from.  Milagro Tequilla will have a live artist activation that will be donated to the Festival and included in the silent auction.

Above, top left: The Smokey Brights will be one of the musical groups performing this year. Top right: Michelle McDowell Smith is this years featured artist. Bottom: All ages can experiment with a variety of art mediums at the Community Art Studio.


On two stages more than 20 Arizona performers and ensembles run the gamut from indie to folk to alt-rock to jazz with appearances like national indie artist Cale Taylor, Latin singer/songwriter QuiQue Escamilla, The Smokey Brights and folk artist Brian Chartand. For those feeling creative, explore a variety of art mediums the Community Art Studio. From murals to music-making, you’ll leave inspired. Kids activities have always been a strong point for the Festival, so giant lawn versions of favorite games like Jenga, Connect 4, Tic-Tac-Toe and Corn Hole will spark their interest. And don’t forget to take advantage of free admission to SMoCA, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.

Browse the work of 170 jury-selected artists from the United States and Canada. This year’s featured artist, Michelle McDowell Smith, strives to create art that has a familiar narrative, yet is unique and true to herself. She works on canvas with several layers of acrylic paint and a plethora of mixed media materials including handcrafted papers, sewing patterns, maps, old letters, pages from vintage books and other ephemera. Smith’s current body of work, titled of land and sky, whimsical and free, began in 2014 and focuses on storytelling, nostalgia and a hope for the future. The work has been shown in more than 60 juried art shows around the country. She has won best in show or best in category seven times, while taking home other awards and plaudits on 17 additional occasions.

Above: The vast array of booths include works in glass.

In addition to Smith’s work, the vast array of booths is mouth-watering for any art lover. Attendees can experience and purchase works ranging from painting, sculpture, glass, ceramics, jewelry, metal work, drawing, digital art, printmaking, fiber, photography, woodworking and mixed media. Stretch out a hand to feel pleated silk, smooth your fingertips across a sleekly finished bench and feast your eyes on the shimmering gold and vivid jewel-encrusted earrings.

The entire Festival is a fundraiser for Scottsdale Arts. Even the proceeds raised by the online auction featuring work donated by participating artists support the Center’s wide range of programs. Fortunately for patrons, it’s also the perfect place to find every gift and soul-satisfying piece of art you’ll need until the Festival returns next spring.

Scottsdale Arts Festival

March 8 – 10

Scottsdale Civic Center Park