Nestled within 18,500 square feet and designed by award-winning architect Will Bruder, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art's quintet of galleries—formerly a cineplex's five theaters—have hosted changing and permanent exhibitions of art, architecture, and design since 1999. The outdoor sculpture garden features acclaimed pieces such as James Turrell's experiential Knight Rise skyspace and James Carpenter Design Associates' Scrim Wall. After viewing the art outside, visitors can return indoors to explore furnishings and jewelry in the shop or examine work by local youth in the young@art gallery. The museum's Visions Teen Program continues to nurture burgeoning talent, pairing teenagers with visual-art teachers and visiting artists. Adults can also enrich their artistic know-how at lectures and workshops until they are able to draw a perfect circle with a pencil still tucked behind their ear. The museum's lounge fosters artistic communities through events ranging from screenings of international art movies to art-making sessions.
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.
The Venue Scottsdale is a chameleon of a building, as ready to effortlessly host an elegant wedding reception as it is to present a comedy show or concert. The 29,000 square-foot, multi-level confines feature an indoor cobblestone courtyard and leaf-covered balconies, offering an outdoorsy ambience without the worry of inclement weather. Upstairs, a ballroom and a VIP lounge welcome private event goers, while a comedy club inspires knock-knock jokes with its own private entrance.
Every weekend, nationally touring comedians step up to the brick wall at The Comedy Spot Comedy Club to deliver their sets. The performance area allows viewers to get table seating right up to the edge of the stage or hang back in the booths to admire photos of nostalgic comedic icons. While watching, audiences can take in New York– and Chicago–inspired sandwiches and pizzas from the menu. Those looking to hone their own rib-tickling skills can enroll in improv classes or take the stage for a five-minute set during open mic nights. The club’s website even offers fledgling comics tips, such as a dress code, following the light, and checking each patron’s bag for tomatoes.
Plenty of couples meet online, but Adventures 2000 ensures they can also meet over a moonlit hike or an afternoon skydive. Though not a matchmaking service, the network connects singles aged 21–55 throughout the Phoenix area with a range of professionally organized events. These informal happenings are conducted in a low-pressure atmosphere, making it easier for participants to make new friends or meet someone special to adopt a highway with. Adventures 2000's staff coordinates 30–35 of these activities and events each month, from horseback riding, whitewater rafting, and rock climbing to dinner parties and game nights. They also organize outings to live concerts and theatrical productions, and plan excursions as playful as themed treasure hunts or as elaborate as week-long travel packages. To ensure a safe and carefree attitude of the events, the staff extensively screens all new members.
At Stand-Up, Scottsdale! bellies ache from a rotating selection of nationally known comedians seen on Comedy Central and late-night talk shows. The intimate 180-person venue, where such local legends as David Spade got their start, beckons a cast of talented funny persons that changes regularly. Voted Best Comedy Club this year by Arizona Foothills magazine, the ha-ha hot spot has recently hosted performances by noted names including Dana Carvey, Frank Caliendo, and Norm Macdonald. With a recent appearance on Spike TV's "Bar Rescue," they now boost a full menu of pub-food appetizers and entrees keeps would-be hecklers otherwise occupied, and Wednesday evening open-mic nights allow rookie comics to test their mettle.