Friday, January 16, 2015

Barrett-Jackson So Far

The buzz around the 2015 Barrett-Jackson Auto Auction has far exceeded years prior. Auto collectors and fans alike have crowded the tents at WestWorld to catch a glimpse at some of the most priceless cars anywhere. With the bulk of the Ron Pratte collection set to be auctioned off this weekend, the excitement can only go up!

Here’s a quick recap of some of the most unique cars that have crossed the block so far:

1964 Jaguar XKE Roadster

Jaguar XKE

Photo courtesy of Barrett-Jackson

This classic beauty sold on Jan. 14 for $181,500. Jaguars are the pinnacle of British car making and are hot collectors items at every auction. When a fully restored one like this roadster comes along, it always fetches a high price tag.

1956 Ford F-100

Ford F100

Photo courtesy of Barrett-Jackson

Custom Ford trucks are always a hot commodity at Barrett-Jackson. This truck proved no different, going for a $242,000. The 1950’s era trucks draw attention due to their unique styling and the customization done to them.

2015 BMW M5


Photo courtesy of Barrett-Jackson

Not every car at the auction is a classic. This 2015 BMW went for $700,000, benefiting BMW’s charity foundation. With so much technology and horse power packed in to one car and the money going to a great cause, the car warranted the price tag.

from Official Travel Site for Scottsdale, Arizona |


Friday, January 9, 2015

Growing Your Art Collection

Once you have started to build an art collection, it seems to almost take on a life of its own. Just like a tapestry, the pieces will start to weave together to tell a story. Art has the ability to make a house a home and give your home a signature look showing everyone who walks through the door who you are and what inspires you. That is not to say that all of your art looks the same, in fact just the opposite is true. Individual taste and style is what makes each collection original.

There is nothing like the moment when you see a work of art and you know that you want to take it home. It speaks to you and connects to you in some way. It may evoke a memory or stir an emotion or just simply make you feel happy. I’ve seen people literally stop in their tracks when they see a work of art that resonates with them. They stop and stare and start to smile or simply stand there with their hand over their mouth deep in thought. When this happens it is always because of how the work makes a person feel. And, it almost always finds its way home. Many times the viewer will tell the artist what they see and what it means to them before the artist even shares the story behind it. Every work of art has two stories; the first is what it means to the artist and why they created it and the second is what it means to the collector and how it makes them feel. And, in some cases, a third story develops as artist and collector share their combined views. This is when the magic happens.

One of the most interesting things about art and people who collect it is that each person resonates differently with what they see. One piece can do nothing for one person and then simply knock the socks off the next person who walks by. That is what makes each collection so special and original. As you add pieces to your collection, you will see your tapestry start to come to life. Many times people set out to buy a work of art that is a specific size or has a certain color palette, but once you get the art collecting bug, finding the pieces that speak to you is just as important as the practicality of it. Pretty soon you start to not worry about where it will go in your home and you just know you will make room for it when you know you have to take it home. This is when your collection begins to tell your story.

from Official Travel Site for Scottsdale, Arizona |


How to Start an Art Collection

The thought of starting an art collection can seem daunting at first. How do you know what to buy? How much should you spend? Where do you find quality art?

Though you may have a lot of questions as a first time buyer, collecting art doesn’t have to be, and shouldn’t be, an overwhelming process. Art is fun, and buying it should be too.

You can’t go wrong if you make sure to invest in pieces that have a special meaning to you. Meaningful pieces of art may evoke a special memory, whisk you away to a special place, remind you of a special person, or it may simply brighten your day. Some collectors find a specific artist whose style they like and continually add pieces to their collections from that artist. Some like to collect by style such as Western, abstract or realism; or by medium such as oil paintings, watercolor, bronze sculpture, ceramics or glass.

The most interesting collections are built around a variety of styles, mediums and artists. You don’t need to worry if pieces go together or match your furniture. You will find over time that pieces you love will work together even if they represent a wide range of mediums. Remember, the most important thing to consider when making a purchase is your attraction to the piece. The goal is to find what you love and what speaks to you.

It can be helpful to start out with a budget in mind so that when you find something you love you will be sure to stay within your budget. This will help you avoid having buyers’ remorse and will also point you in the direction of your price range, even if it means buying a smaller work of art. Do keep in mind that sometimes there is an option to make payments over time if you find something you just can’t live without that is a bit of a stretch.

There are many great venues to find good quality art. Spend time exploring and discovering art at galleries, art events, artist studio tours and museum shows. Ask as many questions as you want to – any artist or artist representative should be more than happy to answer any question you have about the art work, the process or anything else you want to know. Some artists will even bring the art to your home to make sure it is a good fit.

A few things to remember when selecting art:

  • Only buy what you absolutely love. Don’t worry about the long-term investment potential.

  • Always buy original art if possible, even if you have to select a smaller piece. Buying original art ensures you are getting a one-of-a-kind piece.

  • Look for young and emerging artists that you like and collect pieces from them as they are up and coming.

  • Don’t be afraid to mix styles and media. Variety makes a collection interesting.

  • Be sure to keep records of your invoice and any information on the artists. If you are buying from the artist directly, take a photo of them with you and the piece. This helps you to document and add value to your art collection.

  • Remember, art does not have to match your couch.

  • Have fun!

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Art and Travel


Bring Home a Memory or a Masterpiece

There is something about traveling that goes hand in hand with exploring and discovering art. Perhaps it is that there is more leisure time and families or couples are together creating memories. But whatever it is, travel and collecting art are a frequent combination. Purchasing a work of art that is hand made by a local or reflective of the area is a great way to take home a memory. These works can be large or small. On a recent trip to Whitefish, MT my husband and I discovered a gallery that had beautiful works of art, mostly landscapes and wildlife. There was one artist who had a series of mini 6” x 6” paintings that were lovely. One was of the iconic open-air red buses that take visitors to the top of the pass in Glacier National Park, which we had been in the day before. That little gem found its way home to Scottsdale and serves as a sweet reminder of that trip. Art collecting while traveling does not necessarily always reflect the local flare. Many times when you are taking the time to explore the art scene as you travel, you will come across beautiful masterpieces that will be the perfect addition to your collection. These works of art can become legacy pieces to pass down through your family along with the memories of how you found them.

Plan Ahead, but be Prepared to be Spontaneous

Prior to traveling to your destination, do some research on the art local art scene. Check resources such as the local tourism website to discover art galleries and art events that are happening when you will be there. You can also search art publications such as Fine Art Connoisseur, American Art Collector, Western Art & Architecture and others which will frequently highlight the art markets in different areas around of the country. You can search these publications online or save articles about places you plan to visit as you see them. Ask around when you get into town about where to find art events or artist studio tours. You’ll often find unexpected gems off the beaten path. As my husband and I have traveled across the country we have seen many artists painting on location from the craggy rocks overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in Maine to the docks of Balboa Island in California. It is always inspiring to watch them at work. We’ve bought pieces right off the easel! This has helped us build a collection of wonderful art work and great memories. Of course, we find fabulous art right here in Scottsdale in the galleries and at the Celebration of Fine Art where all of the artists are working in their own studios under one big tent. We seen many collectors take home pieces that enrich their collection and build their friendships here. If you have the chance to buy directly from the artist, take a photo of you with them and your work to capture the memory!

Be Prepared to Ship Your Masterpiece

Make sure to budget either a little space in your carry on or a little money to pay for shipping. Given the travel carry-on restrictions these days, you will discover that many items you fall in love with will have to be shipped. In many cases when you ship items you will not be required to pay some or all of the sales tax. This varies from city to city, so check the local tax regulations. When you ship, always insure it for the full value of the art work and the cost of shipping. You will find that it is well worth the time and investment to make sure that your masterpiece makes it home in good condition.

Enjoy the Journey

As your art collection grows and takes on its own personality, you will cherish the memories of the moment that you discovered the piece of art that you knew had to go home with you! Take a few moments when you bring the art home to record how and where you found it and you will build a beautiful travel and art journal that you can reflect on when you want to enjoy some beautiful memories.

from Official Travel Site for Scottsdale, Arizona |


Monday, January 5, 2015

Megan About Town: An Artsy Lunch Break

Wow. It has been a crazy few months. There is so much going on here in Scottsdale, that getting out to have some fun has been a little tricky. I’m sure you can relate with the holidays rolling in fast and furious – and perhaps all that planning for your Big Game celebrations in Scottsdale… Even still, with the incredible weather that we’ve had, it’s nearly impossible to keep indoors.

I had lunch at Original Chop Shop Co. in downtown Scottsdale this week with my friend Sadie, who is a fabulous photographer. With her artistic talents and my forever longing for artistic talents, I asked her to check out a few art galleries with me just off of Fifth Avenue, down the street from Chop Shop.

We walked from Scottsdale Road towards Marshall Way, which is quite a lovely walk. We passed Petersen’s, a personal favorite ice cream shop , and so many other boutiques and specialty shops. If we both didn’t need to get back to work, we could have easily spent the rest of the afternoon searching for trinkets and treasures along the route.

Our first gallery stop was On the Edge Gallery. Different from many of the galleries in the Arts District, On the Edge Gallery doesn’t feature artists with similar styles. On the Edge represents more than 40 Arizona artists and is set up like a gift gallery, taking the intimidation out of the experience entirely. It’s also run entirely by the artists, so oftentimes you’ll have the opportunity to meet the artist who created the art.

on the edge1

The art ranges from jewelry to large paintings with everything in between. I was walking through thinking it’s the perfect place to get a gift for someone who just appreciates all things unique. I will say, I did fall in love with a painting that was just a little out of my budget. Perhaps if I stopped buying shoes all the time I could afford it? Not going to happen.

After On the Edge, Sadie and I took Marshall Way south to Calvin Charles Gallery. Quite the departure from the first gallery experience, Calvin Charles is all about contemporary art displayed on big, beautiful, white walls. The art is stunning, and it’s easy to understand why international art collectors frequent the gallery for added pieces to their collections.



With nationally renowned artists exhibiting at this gallery, it’s easy to feel a little overwhelmed if you’re new to the art scene, but don’t worry! Take it all in, admire the art, and remember that art is all about the viewer’s interpretation.

Just across Marshall Way, sits Touchstone Gallery – our final stop for the day. This gallery holds a special place in my heart because my grandfather has long held an appreciation for geology as a scientist. Fossils, stones and minerals were often discussed. That’s why Touchstone is special to me, but really, it’s just a cool gallery that offers something completely different than anything else in the area. Plus, it’s hands on. You can’t have a gallery called “Touchstone” without letting visitors get their hands on what you offer, I suppose. Anyways, whether you love jewelry or you want to get your hands on some magnificent fossils, this place is not to be missed.




Probably my favorite thing about this experience was seeing how truly different each of these galleries were, and yet they are just steps away from each other. While you might not be in love with the style at one gallery, maybe the next one makes you swoon. And, believe me, you don’t need to BE an artist to appreciate the quality of art in Scottsdale. It’s truly tremendous – and I have no visual art talent in my being.

If you’re interested in getting better acquainted with what the Arts District offers, I invite you to attend ArtWalk . This even has been around for 40 years, and is offered EVERY Thursday evening from 7-9 p.m. The galleries extend their hours and often offer drinks, light bites and live music. It’s a fun way to fill your Thursday night with something maybe outside of your norm.

Need a few more reasons to check out the galleries in Scottsdale? My colleague, Kayla, has FIVE for you .

from Official Travel Site for Scottsdale, Arizona |


25th Annual Celebration of Fine Art

web_celebration_of_fine_art_paint_JPG Celebration of Fine Art marks its 25th anniversary this year, celebrating artists and art lovers in Scottsdale. Open daily from Jan. 17 – March 29, the Celebration gives you the opportunity to see over a hundred artists’ creations come to life right before your eyes. You can meet the artists, discuss their work and purchase pieces directly from them during the show. You’ll be amazed by the caliber of art available and the welcoming attitude of the artists. New this year, discover the inspiration, techniques and stories behind the creation of art! Take part in the Art Discovery Series at informative panel discussions and demonstrations taking place weekly. Artists will cover a range of topics from abstract art to wearable pieces, plus collaboration, mixed media, art history and more. The series will take place each Friday from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Enjoy complimentary wine and cheese while learning about these current themes that are both challenging and propelling modern-day artists. Celebrate this commemorative event and get to know the artists behind the masterpieces. Click here for a look at Curt Mattson, just one of more than a hundred juried artists featured at the event. Curt is a renowned bronze sculptor and painter who focuses on horse- and cowboy-inspired themes. Then head to Celebration of Fine Art, which kicks off Jan. 17, 2015, to meet him in person! Admission is just $10 and your ticket is valid for the entire season. So, you can purchase one ticket and come back again and again to see the work transform over the show’s 10-week run. Learn more about the event at

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Arizona Fine Art Expo

web_AZ_FineArtExpo_Marie_Barbera_sculptor The Arizona Fine Art Expo showcases more than 100 juried artists in a working-studio environment, giving attendees unprecedented access to some of the world’s most gifted designers, painters, sketch artists and sculptors. Come to this event to find art in all forms and mediums, from metal art and wood sculptures to carvings, pottery, paintings, watercolors and even furniture creations. Thunderbird Artists has taken a passion for fine art and created an event that combines the aspects of a juried fine art festival, the elements of a gallery and the inner-workings of an artist’s studio. The Expo also offers a two-acre sculpture garden featuring garden parties and weekend music. A whole host of painters and sculptors will showcase their work, in addition to photographers, jewelers and ceramicists at the Expo. Artists’ creations span all 44,000 square feet of the giant white tent! Opening day is January 16 and the final day of the Expo is March 29. Located at Jomax and Scottsdale Road just north of the 101, this 10-week event is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and season passes are just $10. Come out and watch these amazing talents create works of art (and maybe even take something home!). After your visit to the Expo, be sure to check out all that North Scottsdale has to offer. From shopping, spas and acclaimed restaurants, to hiking and pristine golf courses, there is certainly plenty to keep you entertained! Plan your trip to the Expo in advance and browse through the catalog of art by artist or by medium by visiting

from Official Travel Site for Scottsdale, Arizona |


P.F. Changs Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon 2012

Get ready to hit the ground running! The P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon is back and better than ever before with some great new features in 2015. A 5K race has been added to the mix and will take place Saturday, Jan. 17 at 8 a.m. at Tempe Beach Park. In another exciting change this year, the mini-marathon is now an official 10K course and a timed race! Participants in the mini-marathon will take their positions at the start line with half-marathon runners on Sunday, Jan. 18. Finishers for both races receive a medal, bib and t-shirt. All participants who complete the full marathon on Sunday will receive a new and exclusive finisher’s jacket. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon series is famous for its fabulous entertainment and this year’s event is no exception. For the first time in Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon series history, the finish line will feature a double headliner! The Wallflowers will play for the bulk of the half-marathon finishers, and OK GO will play for the marathon finishers. Of course, local bands will play live on entertainment stages along every mile and cheerleaders will also line the course. With a dynamic combination of motivation and great music, runners can’t help but continue to pound the pavement and rock their way from start to finish! Runners will also have much to look forward to after the race, from celebrating at the finish line festival to indulging in a massage treatment once the hard work is done. Select area spas are pampering runners with 50-minute massage for just $75! Check out the Massage Monday section for all of the details. Scottsdale is located just a few miles from the finish line and most headquarter hotels offer shuttle service to and from the start and finish lines. We invite you to make Scottsdale your race headquarters and enjoy a full weekend of sun, fun and relaxation!

from Official Travel Site for Scottsdale, Arizona |


Scottsdale Native Trails Returns to Downtown Scottsdale

web_NA_Dancer_JPG One of the best ways to experience Native American culture while visiting Scottsdale is by attending a performance of Native Trails. Presented by the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation and produced by the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Native Trails is a series of free performances dedicated to exploring the rich and varied cultures of Native America through song, dance, art and food. Native Trails’ Artistic Director Derrick Suwaima Davis (Hopi/Choctaw) and other performers from the Hopi, DinĂ© (Navajo), Hualapai and San Carlos Apache tribes will take the outdoor stage at Scottsdale Civic Center Park most Thursdays and Saturdays from January 8 through April 4 from 12 noon to 1 p.m. For the first time in the event’s 13-year history, the focus of the performances will be on passing the Native traditions of singing and dancing from one generation to the next. On Saturdays, youth performers will join the adult cast members to demonstrate the Eagle Dance, Southwest Horse Dance, and inter-tribal pow wow dances. Attendees are encouraged to stay for the finale, the audience-participation Round Dance, which celebrates the connection of all people and cultures. Plus, the cast will answer questions following the performance. You can expect to see lively dances (including championship-level hoop dancing), hear dramatic music and taste traditional Native American food prepared by White Eyes Fresh Fry Bread. Artisans and vendors will also sell jewelry, baskets, pottery, instruments and paintings during the festivals. A featured artist will demonstrate his or her craft live before the crowd each Saturday. For your comfort, please bring a blanket or lawn chair. The Native Trails stage is located outside the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts in Scottsdale Civic Center Park (at the northeast corner of Second Street and Brown Avenue in Old Town).

from Official Travel Site for Scottsdale, Arizona |


Equestrian Events in Scottsdale

What would a great Western town be without its share of horse shows? This coming month, the Arizona Sun Circuit Quarter Horse Show and the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show roll in to town. Don’t miss any of the action! Arizona Sun Circuit Quarter Horse Show (Jan. 23-Feb. 1, 2015) Watch 1,500 of the country’s best quarter horses and riders from around the world compete for $200,000 in prizes. This event also offers free clinics presented by top horsemen on Saturdays and Sundays. Clinics include education on Parelli natural horsemanship, basics of showmanship, reining, and high scoring maneuvers. A large selection of Western vendors will also be on site every day, so be sure to check out this wide variety of specialty items. Don’t miss this free show offering every event for the American Quarter Horse! Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show (Feb. 12-22, 2015) The 2015 event marks the 60th anniversary of the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show. During this milestone year, the Arabian Horse Show continues its tradition of quality competitors, energy and excitement at this event. Since 1955, Scottsdale’s annual event has set the pace in the Arabian horse world, growing from 50 horses to more than 2,400. Top owners, trainers, and breeders from around the world compete for a chance to win more than $1 million in prizes. Seeing Arabian horses up close is a unique experience in itself, but the fun doesn’t stop there! Make sure to visit the shopping expo, which is full of exclusive items to choose from! General admission is just $10 daily or $7 for seniors and military.

from Official Travel Site for Scottsdale, Arizona |