The Scottsdale Artists’ School is dedicated to teaching the fundamentals of traditional art as taught by working, professional artists to students of all skill levels--aspiring novice to professional artist.
In 1983 a small group of central Arizona artists and community leaders met to discuss the lack of available opportunities, locally and nationally, to learn the fundamental concepts of representational art. Thanks to the leadership of that small group, and the financial support of the Scottsdale Artists League, the Scottsdale Artists’ School was founded later that year. The goal for the school was simply to provide a place where artists of all skill levels could learn from the best working artists in the country; and discuss problems and their solutions with other artists.
Starting with just one studio the first workshop was held in September of 1983. During the next several years the class schedule expanded and more studio space was leased. In 1988 a studio dedicated primarily to sculpture classes was added. And with the financial support of the Armstrong-McDonald Foundation a reference library was established. Today our library has many rare books on representational art. Our collection has over 4,000 volumes which are available to our instructors, students and the community.
In addition to developing a broad array of classes for painters, the School has built a reputation as one of the finest sculpture schools in the country with classes being taught by some of the foremost sculptors of our times— Eugene Daub, Lincoln Fox, Glenna Goodacre, Oreland C. Joe, Bruno Lucchesi, Sandy Scott, Grant Speed and many others.
The School has always looked for new instructors and new and innovative genres to teach. Since 1986 we have offered classes in forensic art-both drawing and sculpture, taught by the most well known and respected teachers working in the field, Betty Pat. Gatliff and Karen Taylor.
The success of the school has always been based on the quality of our instructors—all of whom are working, professional artists. Our instructors come from all over the world to teach at the School. Over the years we have been pleased to work with many noted artists and teachers such as Jim Reynolds. Jim was one of our founders and made an important contribution by both teaching and attracting other artists of stature to teach at the School. Instructors such as Harley Brown, Scott Burdick, Scott Christiansen, Leslie DeMille, Donna Howell-Sickles, Milt Kobayashi, Gregg Kreutz, David Leffel, Sherrie McGraw, Richard Schmid, Bettina Steinke and others, including many local artists, have made the School what it is today.
Throughout our history the School has taught workshops and classes for all levels of students—from aspiring beginner to professional artist. We have played a role in the development of the careers of many highly recognized professional artists including John Coleman, Matt Smith, Kevin MacPherson and others, many of whom now teach at the School.
And while we take great pride in the commercial success of our students, we take equal satisfaction in the thousands of students from throughout the United States, and around the world, who have gained the skill and confidence to realize their desire to paint and sculpt for their own enjoyment and artistic enrichment.
In order to broaden the range of students who could attend our classes, in 1988 the School established a scholarship program. Today we have a number of individuals and foundations that support our students with need and merit based scholarships. Scholarship applications are evaluated twice per year.
As our classes and workshops expanded we outgrew our space. In 1993, with the financial assistance of many generous donors and the support of the City of Scottsdale, we moved into our current home. The Loloma School, one of the earliest elementary schools in Scottsdale, now houses our six studios, the reference library and administrative offices. We are fortunate to be in the middle of the Scottsdale art district, one of the most vibrant art communities in the country. During 2008 we worked with the City and the Scottsdale Rose Society and our School is now home to the Scottsdale public rose garden.
As the breadth of our adult classes grew, we also began teaching summer and weekend classes for children and young adults in 2004. Our Youth Academy provides drawing, painting, sculpture and pottery, and print making instruction to students from six years old to high school age.
Beginning in 1992 we extended the range of our classes by offering plein aire workshops in locations throughout the United States. Workshops are now taught annually throughout the West by noted artists such as Curt Walters, Ray Roberts and John Budicin. During the 2009/10 school year we will hold classes at the Grand Canyon, Laguna Beach and San Diego, Ca. and Tucson, AZ, among other locations.
The School has always operated as a 501 C-3, not-for-profit organization. Operations are funded by tuition revenues, supplemented by private donations, government grants, the support of public and private foundations, and fund raising events.
Each year we hold two art sales to raise funds to support the Schools’ operations. The Beaux Arts, held in November, is an auction of works donated by our instructors and other professional artists. Our Best and Brightest show is a juried sale of works submitted by current and former students and is conducted annually.
Since 1983 we have created a wonderful legacy of art instruction for both aspiring professional artists and students whose goal is to learn to paint for their personal artistic enrichment. We are proud to be considered one of the finest schools in the country teaching representational art. Our success is due to the tremendous support of our instructors, the continued enthusiasm of our students, the generosity of our financial supporters, and the loyalty and hard work of our volunteers and staff. We are committed to building on the successes of the last 26 years.
- Member of the Founding Board of Trustees