September Greetings from Ivan Halvorson

Since this is my first President’s message I must take a few lines to thank Tess Mosko-Scherer and David Bradley for the years of hard work and the thousands of intelligent decisions that made AAG what it is today.  Almost everything you see at AAG has been touched in some way by these two past Presidents.   Also I must thank the board of directors for their dedication, hard work and guidance.  They keep AAG functioning like a well-oiled machine.  And you the members, I want to thank you for your participation.  This entire organization exists for you – it exists to help you succeed.

            How does AAG help you succeed?  First: AAG opens doors with exhibitions,  workshops, demos and events.  These events help you grow as an artists. Second:  AAG gives you a chance to be part of a larger community of artists – this is something money can’t buy.  Third: AAG provides a comfortable place to acquire and share art related knowledge. AAG is a valuable asset to local artists, the city of Phoenix, and the state of Arizona.

            Here is a little story I want to share.  It reminds us of how important our art work can be.  In 1825 Thomas Cole took a steam boat up the Hudson River to Catskill landing.  From there he carried his easel, canvas and paints up into the Catskill Mountains and painted the now famous Oxbow painting which hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  For the first time many people living in dark overcrowded cities saw the wide open spaces just over the horizon.   Soon other artists, carpenters, teachers, farmers, merchants were heading west to build the great nation we enjoy today.  Never underestimate the contribution your art can make and the AAG workshops, critiques and demos provide a great opportunity for you to hone your artistic skills.

            Be sure to attend the General Meeting on September 17, 2019.  There will be a reception for last year’s Artist of the Month winners and the Artist of the Year winner plus their art work will be on display.  Also there will be an educational demo by Ann Osgood. She will be demonstrating how to paint flowers in acrylic. Ann Osgood has a workshop on October 18, 2019.  Sign up and learn how to paint large flowers in Acrylic.

Plus the annual budget for 2019-2020 will also be presented and adopted.  There will be a critique session so bring a piece of your artwork to have it critiqued.  And you can enter a piece of your artwork in the Artist of the Month contest.

            On another note, if you want to take full advantage of all the opportunities the digital world has to offer, attend Tess Mosko-Scherer’s digital media labs.  Digital Media Labs will be held monthly on the second Friday of each month.

            Be sure to visit for up to date information about all the events at AAG. I look forward to seeing you there!

            I am looking forward to a successful and productive year at AAG.  Let’s kick it off with an educational meeting and reception on September 17, 2019.

Best Regards

Ivan Halvorson

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Farewell letter from Tess Mosko Scherer

This is my last letter as President. It has been the most difficult to write because it feels so final. It has been an honor and privilege to serve as president these past 3 years. They went by so quickly and hold so many memories. There is so much I would like to say, and yet want to keep it short.

I am grateful to have had this opportunity to serve all of you and AAG. This was an opportunity to get to know so many of you that I might not otherwise have had an opportunity to know. As I have grown, I have witnessed your growth, too. I have seen the work evolve through the critiques, the shows and exhibitions, and hearing about what you are doing and where you are showing. It is an exciting time for all of us.

I have had an amazing group of people to work closely with through the years. Not just the board members, but also the committee members. We all worked together, mostly in harmony, in pursuit of a common goal: to advance the mission of AAG to promote the arts and artists through exhibition, education and outreach. I am grateful to all of you for sharing your gifts and graces, and influence my life. We have laughed really hard, cried, shared stories, births, deaths, illnesses, and life experiences together. Although volunteering is a huge time commitment, the payoff was beyond measure. In these 3 years, AAG has expanded its reach and I am fortunate to have been a part of that.

I am grateful to have succeeded David Bradley. He has become a mentor and a dear friend through this process. In the early days he guided and encouraged me, partnered on projects with me and then cheered me on as I flew on my own. I hope I can do as much for Ivan as he has done for me.

On a personal note, these 3 years have been a time of expansion and growth for me. I overcame my fear and loathing of public speaking — I would never have gone to China or Bangladesh if I hadn’t worked through that! This position provided me an opportunity to explore myself as an artist, a leader, and a public servant in a deeper way that I can accurately convey.

My life has transformed over the past ten years as I have been a member of AAG and AAG has influenced that transformation. AAG has helped me find my voice as an artist, to realize the social impact of my art and my artistic practice, and how my art can affect others and create change. In this nascent stage of understanding, I am excited to have the time to develop the work and see where it leads.

So I ask you, what does AAG mean to you? What have you gained? How have you grown? And if your answer is NO to these questions, then I ask, what is holding you back?

At one point I shared the famous Teddy Roosevelt speech, The Man in the Arena. I’d like to share it again one last time. AAG is in the arena. We have been dusty, fallen and risen time and again. We have prevailed for 90 years. I believe it is our clear mission statement that keeps us focus and grounded as an organization, and it is our core values of public service and encouragement that keeps us unified.

Onward with grace and gratitude,


It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.
– Teddy Roosevelt


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knowing and understanding yourself as an artist

April Greetings!

I write this reveling in the aftermath of the opening reception for this year’s scholarship recipients at Shemer art center.  This evening we celebrated nine student artists who received scholarships.  As I contemplate the evening, the art, the students, the exhibit, and the many donors that made it possible, I am reminded again that life is not a solitary act. No one can go it alone.  As artists, we spend time by ourselves making our art and learn to navigate the solitude of the studio against the solicitude of relationships. It is wonderful that as a community of artists we frequently join to celebrate one another’s artistic achievements through receptions and ceremonies.

Yesterday, David Bradley and I gave a presentation at the Entrepreneurial School at PVCC.  During our talk, I found myself quoting an unknown source: “…get used to the person you are now…” In context, this is about recognizing our strengths and weaknesses without judgment or criticism and accepting them/yourself as you are – right now.  Knowing and understanding that who you are today is different than who you were a few years or decades ago.  However, I altered this quote a little and offer it to you here…..’get used to the artist you are now’. It is important – imperative, really – that you recognize your strengths and weaknesses, your artistic voice and vision, and the ability you have to convey them.  The artists’ propensity is to default to humility when complimented or recognized.  How might you respond differently? How might your perspective shift if you believe your work is worthy of the accolades you receive?  This doesn’t mean to become pompous. It frees you to believe “I made this and it is good, or beautiful, or complete”.

From that conversation we discussed art as an extension of the artist – how often artists consider their creations in some way a part of them.  Oftentimes as artists we hang our personal identities and well-being onto the creations we make when in fact, our identities are who we are; our art is how we show it to the world. They are not conjoined twins.  How might you detach from this myth if you could see the work as something you do separate from your identity?  How might that liberate you from a defensive response to a critique?

Circling back, if you haven’t seen the New Art Arizona show at Shemer, please don’t miss it. We have a lot going on this month at AAG.  Hope to see you there.

Onward with grace,


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February 2019 President’s Message


I write this as I prepare to leave on another exciting adventure facilitating a program on woman’s leadership for the World Academy for the Future of Women, in Bangladesh.  I’ve not been there before and am excited about the prospect.  I am excited to work with a group of courageous young women who dare to live a life fully expressed, larger than what they had ever imagined.  And in doing so, I find myself living a fully expressed life, larger than I had ever imagined.

This work has led me not only to exotic lands, but into the deep recesses within myself.  It has altered my perception of the world and in doing so, has altered my artistic practice.  My work is taking on deeper meaning. My art has always been driven by an experience or emotion residing within myself. It focuses less on the rules, relying mostly on the expression.  It is widely received due in part to its ability to touch others.

When we learn to make art, we are thrilled to make something relatable resembling the intended, familiar object or person. We spend countless hours mastering a technique or skill.  As we mature in our practice, we have the opportunity to convey something more, often shadowy, generally not fully understood until the piece is complete.  We learn about art making and, in the process, the making of art we learn about ourselves.  What are you learning about yourself and the world you navigate through your art? What is the impact that your work has in the world? Are you allowing your artistic voice to be vulnerable –to share your dark recesses, to explore that which might make you uncomfortable?  To risk being seen – or being seen in a different way?  I am reading a book on leadership by Brene Brown.  She writes about ‘rumbling with vulnerability’ in difficult conversations. The phrase has resonated with me and prompted me to look at not only where I rumble with vulnerability in my relationships and conversations, but in my artistic practice. This is an invitation for you to do the same.

Two prominent AAG exhibits are coming up: The Associates Body of Work and the Statewide Exhibition.  Check out the details in the newsletter and on the website.  While you are there, check out the many exciting opportunities February holds!

A nod of gratitude to Ivan Halvorson who will be filling in for me during February’s General Meeting.  Ivan will be taking on the presidency at the end of my term in May.  If you don’t know Ivan, please be sure to attend the meeting and introduce yourself to him. He is a kind and lovely man and brings a fresh energy to the position.  Ivan has been a member for many years and holds the position of VP of Meeting Logistics, and hosts the weekly Wednesday evening Open Studio/Advanced Drawing class and leads the monthly Tuesday night critique group.

Have a wildly creative, expressive month.  I look forward to seeing you in March.





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October President’s Message

Tess Mosko Scherer with student members of the World Academy for the Future of Women

Happy October.

This is my favorite month. It’s funny.  I don’t have a favorite color, or a favorite food. Or any of the typical things people would favor.  However, I love the fall.  I was born in the fall.  When I was young, I felt like it was ‘my’ time of year – made especially for me.  It was the time of year that nestled me close.  When the natural world was preparing for slumber, I was somehow revitalized.  The cool air, the crunch of the leaves underfoot, and the warmth of woolen sweaters seemed to reinvigorate and induce an introspective moodiness that ignited me creatively.  This is still my most productive time of year.

And it seems to be the same for AAG.  We are back after summer’s reprieve and everything seems to be in full swing.  Members are busily working in their studios preparing for the upcoming exhibits, planning that had taken place over the summer is set into motion, and connections are rekindled and deepened.

I have been thinking about change.  I will be moving in a few weeks. There is an uncertainty as I write this. Change. Something new. Unfamiliar.  Different than what I am used to.  What does Change mean to me?  And what does it mean for AAG? None of us are exempt from change. Change is exhilarating and terrifying depending on the circumstances and perspective.  Above all, it is inevitable.  None of us want to stagnate, yet we most-often avoid change, or don’t notice the subtle changes around us and within our relationships, until it feels unfamiliar, foreign, or uncertain.

You are wondering why I am sharing this. I’m a fan of personal inquiry. As artists, we do this with our work. But are we observant of our practice?  I invite you to question the change/s you see in your studio – in your artistic practice – to delve into self-inquiry:  How are you showing up? Are you taking time for your artistic practice? Are you complacent in your work?  Are you challenging yourself? And if so, how far outside of your comfort zone are you going – or willing to go?  How has your work changed over the years? How have you changed because of it?

Nancy Christy-Moore will be joining us on October 16.  She delves into the subconscious in her art and her artistic practice. I am looking forward to her presentation and what it stirs within all of us.  Her workshop in March is sure to ignite and inspire.

Speaking of workshops, I will be presenting Selling from the H.E.A.R.T. on Oct 5 & 26. As artists, we are entrepreneurs working for ourselves.  This workshop is a great way to tap into that part of yourself and flex that muscle that most artists are uncomfortable with: the business side of themselves and their art. If reading this makes you uncomfortable, then this workshop is for you.

I look forward to seeing you during the month at the many activities at AAG.

Onward with grace,

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Tess Mosko Scherer with Zoe Song, Administrative Assistant World Academy for the Future of Women


It seems like we barely closed the door to last year, and now we are embarking on a new season here at Arizona Artists Guild.  It is going to be another stellar year.  AAG’s leadership team has been busy scheduling and planning exhibitions, workshops, events, speakers, to name a few.  Almost everything is posted on the website, with updates as plans are finalized.  Read through this month’s newsletter for an overview of what’s to come throughout the year.  I hope you will seize every opportunity we have made available for you to connect with other artists, improve yourself as an artist, and propel yourself as an entrepreneur.

Entering this year is bittersweet for me.  This is my final year as president. I have been reflecting on what this has meant to me and what I want to accomplish this year.  It has been an expansive time for me as well as AAG. I hope to close out my presidency on a high note through the programming and events we have planned. As I write the words ‘my presidency’ I recognize that it is not mine alone.  It really does take a village, and I am proud of our leadership team and honored to be working with so many talented and dedicated people.

Hopefully summer’s reprieve nourished your soul, ignited your creativity, and infused energy into your family and relationships.  For me, summer provided an awakening of sorts. My experience in China as a facilitator for the World Academy for the Future of Women in May and June filled me with a renewed sense of self and purpose.  I look forward to sharing highlights from this life changing experience with you at the monthly meeting in January.

Onward with grace,

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April message from Tess Mosko Scherer

Happy April!

As I prepare for my upcoming trip to China, my focus is, as you might imagine, on leadership.  For 5 weeks I will be facilitating a class on leadership for the World Academy for the Future of Women in a program called Giving Voice to Women through the Arts. I am excited for this amazing opportunity.  In preparation, i find myself reflecting on how I have grown as a leader as I traverse my presidency and prepare for my final year.

In that context, I need to consider AAG’s impact on its members and its role in the greater Arizona art scene.  By many we are viewed as leaders in the Phoenix art world.  However, to others we are obscure and still often unknown.  ‘How do we change that?’, I ask myself.  This question makes me realize that leadership can’t be defined in a bubble. Leadership alone is not enough, one must – or at least is a must for me – question one’s definition of success to measure one against the other. As I think about this, my eyes fall on a framed quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson:

To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.

I have had this framed since High School.  It has been the guiding principle of my adult life, informing my decisions and values.   With Emerson’s words as the measure, AAG is hugely successful in its endeavors.  There are too many reasons for this to mention. Suffice to say, we have a board and band of volunteers with a lot of heart steered by a strong mission to promote the arts through education, exhibition, and outreach.

Success in art-making has its own definitions and interpretations as well.  What is successful today cannot be considered successful in a year or 10 years.  We can’t continuously remake the same piece and think of it as successful.  We can’t continuously repeat the same behavior in- or out-side the studio and expect to grow. The same is true for us as an organization and community.

I invite you to think about your art practice in this context of leadership and success.  Does that pertain to you, and if so, how?  I invite you to consider your role in AAG and AAG’s role or impact in your life. What has changed over the years? What’s lacking? What’s blooming? I’d love to hear from you.  Please email me with your thoughts if you care to share.

Have a wildly creative month.




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2018-2019 Slate of Officers

AAG members will be voting for the 2018-2019 Slate of Officers at the April 17, 2018 meeting.

Board of Directors

President | Tess Mosko Scherer  |
Director | Douglas A. Hebert |
Director | Alice Pelchat  |
Director  | Mark Woehrle  |
Director | Zach Valent |
Director | Karen Weingartner |
Director | Alicia Plogman  |
Director      OPEN

President’s Team
President | Tess Mosko Scherer  |
Secretary | Ann Osgood |
Treasurer | Joan McGue  |

Art VP  | David Bradley |
Community Outreach Program  VP’s
David Bradley| and Tess Mosko Scherer |
Exhibitions  VP  | Dave Knorr  |
Communications  VP  | Sheryl Jones |
Membership  VP  | Laura Cohen-Hogan |
Facilities  VP  | Jim Kinne | 720-480-6028
Meeting Logistics  VP  | Ivan Halvorson |  portraitsbyivan@gmail.comFacebookpinteresttumblrby feather
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February Happenings


February is a busy month here at AAG. APAA will host a week-long workshop beginning the 12th. Open Studio on Monday morning and Wednesday night has been suspended for the week. Life Drawing will be held in the small studio.

The monthly Social Media Demystified workshop will be held on Feb 2. Subsequent sessions will be held March 9, April 13, and May 4, 2018. These 3-hour sessions are designed to address real-life scenarios navigating social media. Topics will vary due to the needs of the attendees. Bring your device and marketing ideas. This is an informal way to learn how to market your business and expand your reach through Instagram and Facebook. Due to the hands-on nature of the class, space is limited, so preregistration is required. Direct questions to

Additionally, I will be repeating the ‘Selling from the H.E.A.R.T.’ in a two-day workshop on March 2 & 23, 2018, from 10:00 to 1:00 PM. Chock full of invaluable information from my 30+ years as a gallerist, and an artist. From both sides of the fence I can provide real life lessons and teachings designed to help you sell your work, either to the public or to galleries. Feel free to reach out to me if you have questions or concerns about whether this workshop is for you.

Due to bronchitis, David Bradley postponed his presentation scheduled in January. Don’t miss this moving and enlightening presentation on the art and artists of the Balkans. We don’t necessarily think of this region as an art mecca, and I have been surprised to learn about this vibrant and creative corner of our world. This is one not to be missed. Thankfully, Travis Ivey was flexible in his schedule, filling in for David in January. Travis gave an insightful presentation on his diverse art practice. Competent in plein air, mixed media collage, and as an experimental artist, Travis’ ability and skill in these diverse mediums and expressions is outstanding. After the meeting, several in attendance shared how inspiring it had been. Travis will be offering a workshop in March, Painting from Photographs. This is a great opportunity to pick his brain about his practice and approach to art. Be sure to check him out on our website, his website, or on social media to learn more about him.

There are many opportunities to increase your in­volvement at AAG that don’t require a huge time com­mitment. If you want to be involved, but don’t have much time to devote, perhaps some of these opportu­nities may be right for you. Below is a list with a brief description:

AAA liaison: attend monthly meetings, with a written summary for newsletter.
Director: this is a board position, attend monthly meetings with primary role as providing counsel and information; a stepping stone to deeper in­volvement in leadership at AAG.
Workshop chair: coordinate 3 to 4 workshops per year.
Artstravaganza chair: for 2018-2019: event organizer. The blueprint for the event has been established, so you are not reinventing the wheel.
President for 2019-2020: ok, so this one has a big time commitment.

Gratitude has been on my mind lately-the act of hav­ing gratitude for others and events, but also the act of receiving other’s gratitude. As artists, receiving grati­tude from others is a part of the exchange of making art. Are you able to take in gratitude when it is sent your way?

Have a wildly creative month.


Tess Mosko Scherer
President, Arizona Artists Guild
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January, 2018

Happy New Year!

Another year begins.  I welcome this year with great enthusiasm, as for me it brings many exciting personal and professional opportunities.  Among them is my upcoming trip to China to facilitate a leadership program, ‘Giving Voice to Women in the Arts’ for the World Academy for the Future of Women.  I am honored to be one of 16 facilitators from across the US, with several from Arizona, spending 5 weeks working with 100 students enrolled in the academy.

My enthusiasm for the New Year does not wane when it comes to AAG.  I am still riding high on the huge success of the Artstravagana in December. In addition to raising funds for our outreach and scholarship programs, we had just shy of 100 people cross the threshold that evening (guests and volunteers combined) with over 40 non-members participating in the event.  Laughter, excitement, and creativity filled the rafters.  A big thank you to everyone who volunteered and participated in making this event so successful.  It was surely a special evening as several participants exclaimed, ‘the best event AAG has ever had’.

Looking forward, AAG has many exciting events coming up from now through May 2018.  Check out the website or flyers at AAG with the details on our upcoming workshops, exhibitions and programs.

This month:  I will be facilitating a workshop based on over thirty years of Art Sales, called Selling from the H.E.A.R.T.  I am in the rare position of having two successful careers in the arts.  The first, I owned and operated a successful gallery for 25 years, after which I launched my career as an artist. I share the lessons and techniques I honed in over thirty years.  Additionally, don’t miss the closing reception and awards ceremony for the Winter Exhibition, January 14, 2018 from 2:00-4:00pm. On January 16, prepare to be inspired by David Bradley’s presentation on socially engaged art and artists of the Balkans.  The war-torn region has fostered artists who are politically and socially engaged with vibrant art practices.  Additionally join the sculptor’s group meeting and critique at Dave Knorr’s studio on January 8.  Although I am not a sculptor, I always learn something from the meetings and enjoy the interactive and engaging conversations with artists engaged in their practices.

In the spirit of the season, this time of year invites introspection and reflection, so I leave you with the following to consider: Is your artistic practice the same entering January 2018 as it was in January 2017?  How has your work changed? What are the lessons gleaned from your studio in 2017?  How have you grown as an artist?

Have a wildly creative month.

Tess Mosko Scherer, president, Arizona Artists Guild | 928-300-7185Facebookpinteresttumblrby feather
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