Scottsdale as a Destination for…Artists? Here’s Why We Agree

Photo Credit: Arianna Grainey

We are not at all shy about singing the praises of Scottsdale; be it as an ideal place to vacation, retire, or to get a little wild on a Saturday night. But a recent article from Smithsonian Magazine turned our heads, not just because of the source but also because it prompted us to think about the city in a new way.

Smithsonian Magazine noted that it has been a hotspot for artists to move to for a while, and used it as a clarion call as to why you should do the same. And of course we agree, but more than that it led us to take a step back and think through it, and the more we do the more sense it makes.

After all, the beauty of Camelback Mountain and the McDowell Mountain Preserve are enchanting in their own right. Four Peaks and Cave Creek have their own picturesque desert landscapes. And it is essentially a gateway to canyon country, and a short drive to I-17, where the wonders of Sedona, the Mogollon Rim, and the Grand Canyon await.

But this concept also segues into another important factor: a strong artistic ecosphere. Anyone who has been to Old Town knows that much of its art boutiques add to not only the ambience, but the commerce aspect of the city. Normally we might be inclined to say that there might be a supply/demand imbalance with too many artists, but if there’s a city that can financially support that in Arizona, it’s Scottsdale.

All of this buzz comes at a critical time as well. The city of Phoenix has been no slouch when it comes to cultivating an artistic ecosphere, with multiple districts catering to the creative and luring them from surrounding areas. While the competition is friendly by nature with mayors that are not ideological enemies, it is a very real battle over resources and talent, and one that Scottsdale must remain competitive in. To that end, they are succeeding.

And what is the result from this? It feels like it would turn into a virtuous circle of artistry, as there is more art with a city that can financially support it, which then prompts Scottsdalians to explore their own desire for artistry, spend more on it, thus prompting more artists to come to a gold rush of sorts, and so on. And we’re hard pressed to think of things that would be better for the soul of the city.