Scottsdale Center For The Performing Arts Educational Gallery Rebrands With New Still Life Exhibition

Posted By on September 24, 2019
“She died with love in her heart” by Suzanne M. Falk

The main gallery space inside Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts has a new name, a new mission and a new exhibition.

Formerly called the Young@Art Gallery, the room located at the southeast corner of the Center’s atrium is operated by Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation, a branch of Scottsdale Arts that was known as Scottsdale Arts Education & Outreach until July, when it too rebranded.

Now called the Center Space, this newly imagined community space is designed to provide a place for visitors to learn about the arts by doing. Each fall and spring exhibition will feature hands-on activities or interactive displays.

“The common thread of the exhibitions that will be in the Center Space is visitor interaction,” said Laura Hales, curator of education for Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation. “We see it as half-art gallery, half-art studio, where patrons can come enjoy the exhibition by viewing the art and engaging in activities that are designed to broaden understanding of the exhibition theme.”

The first exhibition in the newly christened Center Space is “The Close Observation of Inanimate Objects,” which features paintings and drawings from 14 contemporary artists who work in the still life genre. Hales, who curated the show, says it is interesting to see the different ways the artists interpret the genre.

“While still life has been a dominant theme throughout art history, artists today are using unconventional mediums, depicting contemporary subject matter and expanding the definition of the term ‘still life,’” she said.

Artists in the exhibition include Rachel Bess, Alexandra Bowers, Kate Breakey, Stephen Buxton, Elizabeth Cheche, Anne Coe, Matt Dickson, Suzanne Falk, Sherry Leedy, William LeGoullon, Carrie Marill, Ellen Murray, Anthony Pessler and Barbara Rogers.

For the interactive component of the exhibition, there will be easels, drawing benches and art materials (paper and pencils) available for anyone who would like to spend some time drawing a still life setup in the gallery. Specific times will also be set aside for visitors to work in a medium of their choice, such as paint or pastel.

“Community engagement is at the core of Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation, which is why the Center Space is such an exciting opportunity for us,” said Natalie Marsh, director of Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation. “We want to ensure that the arts are accessible to all ages and abilities. We hope that the community feels welcome to enter the space, explore it, and create art while they are there.”

An opening reception for “The Close Observation of Inanimate Objects” will be held from 7–9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3, inside the Center Space at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 E. Second St., Scottsdale, Arizona. The exhibition will remain on display through Jan. 5, 2020, and is open to the public daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and during evening performances.

Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation also operates a smaller hallway gallery at the Center called the ArtReach Space. Located just west of the Center Space near Stage 2, the ArtReach Space is a community gallery that showcases work in response to social issues and concerns. It also offers a window into Scottsdale Arts and City of Scottsdale art programs.

Currently on exhibit in the ArtReach Space is “Memory Lounge,” an exhibition featuring work by participants in Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation’s Memory Lounge program for people living with mild to moderate stages of dementia-related illness and their care partners. This exhibition showcases a ceramic installation that participants created in a series of workshops led by artist Danielle Wood.

Ashley Ford

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Ashley Ford is Assistant Publisher of Frontdoors Media. She can be reached at