Glasses of purple merlot or golden chardonnay stand out against the white tables at Art of Merlot, a BYOB art space where students learn to replicate paintings by Van Gogh, Kandinsky, and other artists. The studio provides paint, brushes, aprons, easels, and canvases, as well as glasses and corkscrews for wine. Art of Merlot also hosts private, corporate, and bridal events as well as kids camps and birthday parties.
Named the Best Arts Festival in 2010 by the Phoenix New Times, the Scottsdale Arts Festival has showcased the fine arts since 1971. This year, nearly 200 jury-selected artists from around the United States and Canada contribute vibrant paintings, glass and ceramic sculptures, photography, and connect-the-dots sketches framed with macaroni. Throughout the festival, artists engage guests with interactive projects. Tunes from live bands swirl past attentive eardrums while mouths are occupied at gourmet food trucks serving such great festival eats as hot dogs, barbecue, pastries, and more. Throughout the day, pintsize patrons and kids of all ages can skip over to Imagine Nation to participate in artistic activities, such as walking down Kid’s Way and creating a paper hat.
It had been a long time since a pie was seen inside the building that once housed Bragg's Pie Factory. That is, until Bragg?s Factory Diner took up residence within the edifice listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and its chefs decided to revive the factory?s legacy by whipping up classic comfort food?using only vegetarian and vegan recipes. Pie lovers can now relive the heyday of the city's pastries with fresh, inventive desserts such as pear-mulberry cream tarts, plum tarts with a gingersnap crust, and rosemary-apple pies with crust cutouts shaped like cacti.
In addition to the diner's decadent desserts, the chefs serve up hearty yet healthy breakfast and lunch dishes. Their unique recipes put a modern spin on classic dishes, infusing waffles with a coconut-curry flavor, adding sweet corn to biscuits drizzled in poblano gravy, and remaking the reuben sandwich with portobello mushrooms. The chefs close up shop at 2 p.m., making the mint-colored, mod-meets-country-home diner the perfect spot for a lunch date or fitting in some practice before your evening pie-eating contest.
SunDust Art Gallery is truly a family-run operation—Ron Floyd, a retired university art professor and a recognized abstract artist, opened the 5,000-square-foot gallery with the help of his wife Mary Lou Floyd and son Chris Floyd. Opened in 2009, the studio's initial goal was to provide the Southwest's eclectic and often-unnoticed artists a home, and today it has grown to encompass a gallery collection that regularly features many such artists and mediums for which the region is well known, such as sculpture, jewelry, and photography. Throughout his long career as an art professor, Ron learned to teach students how to overcome artistry's intricacies, and he now operates out of SunDust's studios with accessible painting and drawing classes.
In 1975, Jay Kogan's parents opened up a store that was literally a hall of frames—just a small store stacked with thousands of frames. At the time, they had no idea that that tiny corridor would expand to 12 locations throughout the greater Phoenix area, all still run by the Kogan family. Today, their shops have more than 4,500 custom frame options along with mats of all colors and textures, as well as seven glazing choices and expert assembly. They can answer framing questions and frame everything from documents and artwork to posters and small 3-D objects such as sports memorabilia and very still grandmothers.
When they custom-produce frames, the family cuts their mats exactly, miters frame corners precisely, and installs flawless glass. Or, since the stores' walls are lined with ready-made frames, customers can walk in and find what they're looking for quickly. Since installing framed art is an art unto itself, they also offer hanging services with an eye for placement and ability to install in difficult spaces.