Scottsdale Arts leaders create, innovate despite COVID-19 canvas

Posted 10/21/20

The Rotary Club of Scottsdale recently hosted arts leaders who shared historical and future perspectives of arts programs in Scottsdale and throughout the Valley during the “COVID-19 crisis.”

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Scottsdale Arts leaders create, innovate despite COVID-19 canvas


The Rotary Club of Scottsdale recently hosted arts leaders who shared historical and future perspectives of arts programs in Scottsdale and throughout the Valley during the “COVID-19 crisis.”

Organized and facilitated by Rotarian Jim Bruner, who has provided leadership in arts and philanthropic endeavors in Scottsdale for years, the hybrid Rotary luncheon meeting was held at The McCormick Scottsdale as 50 Rotarians and guests complied with COVID-19 social distancing guidelines.

An additional 25 Rotarians attended via the club’s Zoom technology, facilitated by Rotarian Wendy Wentz, according to a press release, noting that online attendees included Rotarians throughout the state, as well as, international guests from Poland and the United Kingdom.

Panelists were Trudy Hays, Scottsdale Artists’ School executive director ; Dr. Tricia Loscher, Westerns Spirit – Scottsdale’s Museum of the West chief curator/assistant director; Allan Naplan, Arizona Musicfest executive/producing director; Lance Ross, Greasepaint Youtheatre Board president; Gerd Wuestermann, Scottsdale Arts CEO.

Noting their organizations gratefulness and resiliency during the pandemic, they detailed how creativity, imagination and innovation in art are cornerstones to building the Scottsdale community, the release said.

Crediting support from the city of Scottsdale, donors and volunteers, the speakers noted how Scottsdale City Council approved more than $29 million in Federal CARES Act funding with $1.5 million available to Scottsdale arts and culture programs; and to assist 15 non-profit arts and culture programs most vulnerable.

Speaker organizational highlights:

Scottsdale Artists’ School – in the downtown Scottsdale Arts District situated in an Old Town historic building – is dedicated to the artistic enrichment of the community and develops artists and aspiring artists by teaching the applied fundamentals of fine art.

Founded in 1983 by a group of artists and community leaders, the school offers over 250 workshops with 80% of artisan instructors from out of state; online courses, virtual lectures, arts shows, art competitions, demonstrations, exhibits and more for people of all ages.

Youth Academy, classes, school outreach, youth camps and partnership with Scottsdale Sister Cities connects thousands of youths in Scottsdale and worldwide. The school is offering “take and make” art boxes. See:

Westerns Spirit –Scottsdale’s Museum of the West –Immerses guests in thestory of the Greater Western region, illuminating the past to shape the future. After 30 years of planning, the MOW opened in its 43,000-square-foot two-story museum with eight historical and contemporary galleries in 2015. MOW often rotates it collections and annually hosts 8-9 traveling exhibitions.

In addition to its galleries, MOW has a theater, sculpture courtyard, Orme Lewis and Family Learning and Library Center and its Museum Store. Numerous awards, achievements and accolades, including the designation of Smithsonian Affiliate, the institution was named “Best Western Art Museum in the Nation” for its “extraordinary exhibitions and dedication to Western art and culture.” See:

Arizona Musicfest – Engages, stimulates and delights audiences through its destination music festival; educates and inspires all ages through music enrichment programs; cultivates, support and promotes aspiring young musicians through performance opportunities, competitions and scholarships; fosters an organizational culture valuing professionalism, volunteerism, patronage, and family.

Celebrating its 30th season, Arizona Musicfest started in Carefree. Over 32,000 people attended the 30 concerts held during its 2019-20 season with some of the nation’s finest orchestral musicians performing. The 2020-21 season has been cut to 15 concerts with 546 tickets available versus last year’s sold-out 1,600 tickets. Fall and holiday concerts have been cancelled. See:

Greasepaint Youtheatre – in Scottsdale’s historic Stagebrush Theatre – was established in 1964 with seasonal programming starting in 1984.  Award winning Greasepaint develops the life skills and aesthetic knowledge that youths will continue as artists and audiences. 

The organization provides theatre experiences that educate and challenge youths’ imagination and awareness while achieving a positive sense of self; nurture professional talent in the Valley; and, employment opportunities to more than 50 local artists each season. Over 10,000 young people have participated in Stagebrush’s programs, with many attaining Broadway, TV, recording, concert and musical theater prominence. Greasepaint’s performances address current issues; offer a safe way for youths to cope through dance and song. See:

Scottsdale ArtsScottsdale Center for the Performing Arts – presents traditional and contemporary arts of interest to worldwide audiences; creates opportunities for audiences to have thought-provoking experiences with artists and speakers; fosters creative expression, diverse thought, and awareness of cultural heritage. The Scottsdale Center for Performing Arts Theaters’ two upcoming performances include the exhibits at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Architecture and Design;

Scottsdale Arts’ Public Art defines art in the public realm through creative place-making signature cultural events, exhibitions and installations throughout Scottsdale; Scottsdale Arts learning and innovative programs, exhibits and events foster dialogue, promote empathy, invoke wonder and build personal connections; Scottsdale Art Festival, which goes virtual March 12-14, 2021; and, Nov. 5-6, 2020 Canal Convergence, which will focus on water+art+light, sustainability and water conservation. Plans are underway for projects such as an outdoor theater and building renovations. See:

Learn more about Rotary Club of Scottsdale membership and programs: