Written by: Kaitlyn Frolek, Gallery Assistant
Scottsdale, Arizona 2016: what a wonderful opportunity to be introduced to the art scene in Old Town Scottsdale. This is the third year that the Saskatchewan Craft Council has participated in a partnership — along with several other Saskatchewan galleries, SaskGalleries, and Creative Saskatchewan — to present a pop-up gallery featuring Saskatchewan artwork in Scottsdale. Upon arriving at the pop-up gallery site, I noticed how perfect our location was; nestled between a popular Thai restaurant and a more contemporary Western gallery, which offered a lot of foot traffic. This was before I had even opened the gallery doors!
The morning sun illuminated Gregory Hardy’s August Dance, which created a beautiful splash of colour while entering the space. The gallery layout was lovely, and was also very strategic. A Joe Fafard calf placed in the widow to draw people in for a closer look, with Dorothy Knowles’ paintings lining the walls with her character pastel acrylic colours, leading to the Wooly Mammoth Scull table by Jamie Russell pulling people into the back portion of the gallery. The back of the gallery is hung with prairie landscapes, filling the walls with colour. The variety of work was mind-blowing: a mixture of bronze cast sculptures, paintings, ceramics, drawings, textiles, and fabric arts; showing a true testament of the caliber of work produced in Saskatchewan.
As the days of wonderfully warm weather and fragrant floral air passed, an array of guests frequented the gallery. I was surprised by the number of Canadian Snow-birds flocking to the area. Wandering galleries and participating in the Thursday evening artwalks, where there is music, guided horse drawn carriage rides, food and drink, and of course a plentiful variety of artwork. All the while people commenting on the diversity of work in our gallery and commonly referring to the work as “fresh” or “refreshing”, from both Americans and Canadians. The locals to Phoenix, Scottsdale, and folks vacationing from other states, were extremely surprised and happy with the quality and standard of the work we were showcasing this year. Some guests returned from last year specifically looking for our gallery!
This is evidence that the work and venture was and is successful. We are able to provide quality work that draws people in and creates conversation, connection, and community between Saskatchewan and Scottsdale. I hope we are able to continue with this venture in the future!
For more information on artists and galleries involved in Scottsdale 2016, check out SaskGalleries website: www.saskgalleries.ca/scottsdale