FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Feb. 1, 2023
MEDIA CONTACT: Brian Passey | [email protected] | 480-874-4626
Events Coming to New Scottsdale Civic Center Include Showcase of Art by Pro Athletes During Super Bowl Week
SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — A large portion of the newly renovated Scottsdale Civic Center recently opened to the public, and Scottsdale Arts is preparing a variety of exciting events, including a showcase of artwork by professional athletes during Super Bowl LVII week.
Scottsdale Arts is joining with the NFL Professional Athletes Foundation and local arts collaborative COLE/LAB to host “Arts & Athletics” from 3 to 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10, at Scottsdale Civic Center. It will showcase artwork by professional athletes from the NFL, NBA, MLB and other organizations. More than a dozen large-scale works will be on display in the outdoor setting near the recently reinstalled “Windows to the West” sculpture by Louise Nevelson. A number of NFL pros — including former and current Arizona Cardinals stars Larry Fitzgerald and Kelvin Beachum — will be in attendance along with other athlete artists.
The event is free of charge and open to the public, with the ESPN broadcast stage in Old Town Scottsdale located nearby. “Arts & Athletics” is part of a series of events leading up to the 18th Annual Schmocks & Jocks Art Auction on Saturday, Feb. 11, in Mesa. Artworks from The Abstract Athlete collective will also be on view Thursday, Feb. 9, from 6–9 p.m., at the De Sarthe Gallery in Scottsdale, courtesy of COLE/LAB.
All associated events include works by the following athletes, military veterans and other artists: Makayla Binter, KJ Brent, Joe Barry Carroll, Vernon Davis, Michael Goodrich, Don Hasselbeck, Katie Houser, Jaraz Jenkins, Ron Johnson, Percy King, Tony Mandarich, Elize McKelvey, Joe Olney, Brian Poli-Dixon, Matthew Rice, Jay Richardson, Gabrielle Rivera-Valedon, Charlie Rugg, Larry Sanders, Andrew Storck, Richard Sullivan, Matt Szczur, Brett Tomko, Hillary Werth and Nigel Williams.
To learn more about this and other events at Scottsdale Arts, visit ScottsdalePerformingArts.org/events.
The Renovated Civic Center
The western two-thirds of Scottsdale Civic Center — between Brown Avenue and Drinkwater Boulevard and north of Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts — opened on Jan. 20, 2023. On Sunday, Jan. 22, Scottsdale Arts hosted the Arizona Concours d’Elegance, a high-end automotive show, in collaboration with the Concours organizers. That was only the first of many events in the new outdoor space in the months and years to come.
In addition to a series of free Sunday concerts throughout the month of March, programmed by Scottsdale Arts, city of Scottsdale officials are planning a community celebration in April, after the enire project is complete.
“When I first arrived at Scottsdale Arts, I was equally struck by the nature of our lovely campus and facilities and how inaccessible and underutilized it felt,” said Dr. Gerd Wuestemann, president and CEO of Scottsdale Arts. “In the summer of 2018, I invited some stage and sound experts to help us envision the possibility of performance spaces that could transform Scottsdale Civic Center into a true cultural and community hub. Given our climate, outdoor performances can be enjoyed throughout most of the year, with little chance of rain-outs.”
A 2019 bond, approved by Scottsdale voters, provided a majority of the funding for the $33.5 million project. Construction began in October 2021, closing the park-like area of Scottsdale Civic Center surrounding Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Scottsdale City Hall and Scottsdale Civic Center Library.
The remainder of the project, including a large amphitheater in the East Bowl, will be complete by late March. Once complete, Scottsdale Arts will begin programming the East Bowl stage, which has a capacity of 2,716, more than three times the size of the Virginia G. Piper Theater inside Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.
Already open to the public is the 1,975-capcity West Bowl and the 2,633-capcity Civic Lawn with a 360 Stage between the two, allowing performers to play toward either side. This feature could be utilized for music festivals, where one act performs as another sets up on the opposite site.
“We are thrilled about the opportunities the two new stage structures create,” Wuestemann said. “We can bring national-touring acts, orchestras, dance, community events and major festivals to Scottsdale Civic Center. We anticipate growing our outdoor events from 25 annually to 80 over the next two to three years. The new outdoor spaces are a big part of our projected revenue streams and a significant first step to more ambitious future goals, such as a large-scale modern art museum, an arts education center and a future, state-of-the-art theater.”
Among the first events in the Civic Center is the new Sun & Sounds series every Sunday in March. These free events feature local music in a laid-back, family-friendly atmosphere, surrounded by unique artist vendors. Attendees can purchase cold drinks at the bar and enjoy them on the lawn at these pet-friendly events.
Performers at Sun & Sounds include Remi Goode & Gabe Lehrer with Hot House Orchids on March 5, Tessa Karrys with Carlos Azarte and the Kind Souls on March 12, Japhar Pullen with Gabriel Bey & Friends on March 19, and Cisco and the Racecars with Kim Weston on March 26.
“To say we’re excited to welcome everyone back to our outdoor campus is an understatement!” said Diandra Adamczyk, programming manager for Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. “We’re especially looking forward to seeing our community come together this spring at our new outdoor concert series, Sun & Sounds, and celebrating the outstanding homegrown talent Arizona has to offer in our new backyard.”
Outdoor music is not the only thing Scottsdale arts-lovers have been missing during the Civic Center construction project. Numerous public artworks have been in storage or undergoing restoration work during construction. Now, most have already returned to the Civic Center.
George-Ann Tognoni’s “The Yearlings,” a bronze featuring three young horses, was installed at the western entrance to Scottsdale Civic Center in 1986 but had detoriated, requiring significant restoration work. In February, it will return to the Civic Center’s West Paseo, which intersects with Main Street, slightly east of its former location. Other popular artworks that have already returned to the Civic Center are Robert Indiana’s “LOVE” sculpture and Louise Nevelson’s “Atmospheres and Environments XIII (Windows to the West),” which moved from its former location southeast of City Hall to a new location at the western side of the Civic Center.
“I think people will love the new placement of the public art,” said Wendy Raisanen, curator of collections and exhibitions for Scottsdale Public Art. “’Windows to the West’ is more centrally located, just north of Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. It looks bigger and much more impressive as it enters its 50th year. I think Louise would approve. She always wanted it to be part of a bustling scene with lots of people around.”
The next section of Scottsdale Civic Center to open to the public will be the passageway between the Civic Lawn and Scottsdale Civic Center Library. City officials expect that section to open in early February. The remainder of the project, including the East Bowl, the City Hall Lagoons, a new Water and Fog Plaza, and the new Children’s Gardens, is expected to be complete by late March.