the nature of your creativity and role as an artist

Happy Spring!

What a vibrant time of year!   Wildflowers bloom as the landscape awakens from it slumber and the air is abuzz with creative energy and happenings.  Every weekend hosts an arts festival somewhere.  The Canal Convergence in Scottsdale, Spark Festival at Mesa Center for the Arts, Art Detour in downtown Phoenix, Art Expo and the Celebration of Fine Art white tent shows in Scottsdale are just a few that come immediately to mind.

I probably missed more opening than I attended – and I attended a LOT! Congratulations to all of our members and friends of AAG who participated in these events either by organizing or exhibiting. It has been a stellar couple of weeks.

Steven Tepper
photo: Phoenix New Times

In early March, I was fortunate to attend a lecture by Steven Tepper, Dean of Arts and Sciences at ASU.  If you are not familiar with him, you should be.  With sociology degrees from Princeton and Harvard he brings a unique and fresh perspective to the roles of the artist and arts educator. His ideas have become national initiatives, breaking beyond the boundaries of his ASU campus.

Tepper began his talk posing two questions: ‘what is the nature of creativity in our world’ and ‘what is the role of the artist’?  With these questions as the compass, he took us on a historical journey looking at art through the lens of the sociologist.  Essentially, he posed that since the 19th century, art was part of everyday life.  If you wanted to listen to music, you played it. If you wanted to hear Shakespeare, you recited it.  If you wanted pictures of your family or loved ones, you painted them. With industrialization came the gap between us and art as an ‘every-person expression’.  Suddenly, the artist was on a pedestal, the act of making art was idealized and out of reach for the ‘non-artist’.

He shared a lot of data and statistics.  What was interesting to me was that in 1950 there were 250 non-profit arts organization.  Today there is over 100,000. This growth redefined how society viewed art and broadened the gap between society and the artist even more. Today we are poised to see even more change.  As artists we will have to reimagine how we interact with society and how we invite society to interact with our art.

No one can predict what the future will hold.  The present time does not have room for complacency.  That thought takes me full circle to Tepper’s initial questions: ‘what is the nature of creativity in our world’ and ‘what is the role of the artist’?  I would like to reframe those questions to make them a little more personal – ‘what is the nature of your creativity’ and ‘what is your role as an artist’?

Have a wildly creative month,


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2017 Scholarship Recipients

Arizona Artists Guild is proud to announce that it has awarded $7,000 in Visual Arts Scholarships for the 2017 year.  Please join us for a reception in their honor at the Shemer Art Center and Museum on March 9, 2017 from 6-8:30 pm.

This year’s scholarship exhibition will be co-curated by 2015 scholarship recipient, Zachary Valent and Tess Mosko Scherer, AAG president.   The exhibition, titled, New Art in Arizona will run from March 9- April 6, 2016 at the Shemer Art Center and Museum | 5005 E. Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85018 |

Additionally, each scholarship recipient will give a 10 – 15 minute presentation of their work on May 16 at Arizona Artists Guild |18411 N 7th Avenue, Phoenix.

The 2017 AAG Scholarship Recipients are:

Andrew Noble | ASU | AAG Ruth Magadini Scholarship $1000

Layne Farmer | ASU | AAG Erin O’Dell Scholarship $1000.

Brandi Lee Cooper | ASU | AAG President’s Scholarship $1500

Tyler Griese | ASU | AAG Marigold Linton Scholarship $1500.

Elizabeth Tabor | ASU | AAG Scholarship $1000

Shannon Ludington | ASU | AAG Scholarship $1000.

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Scholarship News

Superbowl Sunday was not just a big day for the Patriots, it was also a big day for 6 college students who were juried to receive this year’s AAG’s scholarships.  The reception will be at Shemer Art Center and Museum on Thursday March 9, 2017 from 6-8:30 pm.

The recipients will present at AAG during the general meeting on May 16, 2017.

I hope you can join us for one or both events.  It is gratifying to hear the impact AAG has on these young adults. So much so that they continue to stay involved.  In addition to the scholarship, they receive a one-year membership.  I have stayed connected with all of last years’ recipients and am so proud to see the work they are producing, knowing in a small way we helped.

And they have been ambassadors for AAG spreading the word!  Additionally, two of last year’s recipients are board members of AAG, one is also volunteering on the scholarship committee as a juror and will assist with the installation of this year’s show at Shemer.  All of last years’ recipients helped distribute applications,.  Several of last year’s recipients have continued to garner advice and counsel on this year’s scholarship program, and several have been involved in shows at Shemer Art Center and Museum, with one of them acting as a curator and juror for an upcoming exhibit, Photography with Presence.

Also exciting is how many individuals are donating to the fund.  In addition to our fundraising events, we had the granddaughter of a member raise $350 through a high-school fundraising event, earmarked for scholarship. We are partnered with the Glendale Art Council who donates annually, and a private donor who contributes $1500 annually for a scholarship in her name.  We still have a ways to go in creating a self-generating fund for this program. Anything you can do to assist be it through funds, fundraising, or ideas would be greatly appreciated.  Each donation of $25,000 goes directly into our scholarship investment fund generating a $1000. annual scholarship in the donor’s name in perpetuity.  Please reach out to me if this is something you would like to do, find out more information about, or to stipulate in your will.

2018 ushers in our 90th year.  It’s an exciting time!  Planning is already underway to celebrate our endurance, sustainability and impact.  Our mission has not wavered much through the years – promoting the arts through education, exhibition and outreach.  Historically we have been strong in exhibition and education.  Over the last few years the Outreach program has grown and is at its historical strongest.  In addition to the scholarship program, we are offering free monthly art classes to veterans, non-English speaking elderly refugees at an adult center, and to young girls who have been sexually abused or trafficked.  We are working with the Az Arts Commission in expanding our reach to isolated elderly whose lives can be transformed through art and the socialization at AAG.  It is an exciting time for us at AAG.

Be sure to join us at the Artstravaganza on March 10, with proceeds divided between our scholarship and outreach programs.  It’s a fun-filled creative evening with proceeds going to a great cause.

Thank you all for your continued support and interest in AAG. Have a creative and inspired month.


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