The Scottsdale Arts organization is broken down into four intertwined sections. The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA,) Scottsdale Public Art, the Scottsdale Cultural Council, and the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. When you hear of the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, the first thing that may come to mind is plays and musicals, but that’s not all there is.
Opened in 1975, the Center has been delighting audiences for the last four decades with more shows than you can count. Once you visit their website and get into the heart of what they have to offer, you’ll realize that it’s so much more than that. The Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts has both indoor and outdoor facilities to accommodate groups, weddings, and yes, the arts. With such an expansive area, the Center is able to accommodate just about anything imaginable. Along with the plays and musicals you might expect, the Center is also home to performances by musicians, dancers, works of art, and film. All types of musical acts from the McCoy Tyner Quartet to Dionne Warwick can be heard. Dance types from Ballet, to Jazz, and Tap. Works of art from student paintings to sculptures in the Sculpture Garden, and film from the Discovery Film Series to Talk Cinema where you can ask the directors any questions you wish.
Most performances are held in the Virginia G. Piper Theater which holds 853 seats. The smaller events are held on Stage 2 which has seating for 137 people. It’s not all happening inside though, you may be surprised to know that since the Center is so close to the Scottsdale Civic Center, the Scottsdale Culinary Festival, and the Scottsdale Arts Festival are also put on here. There are exclusive, high-end events like ARTrageous which has had featured performances by Bernadette Peters, and Dine Out With the Chefs which features food and wine tasting from the very best chefs the valley has to offer. There are also family events like the Sunday A’fair, the fun and educational Native Trails, and Imagine Nation which is just for the kids. The Center is very focused on the surrounding community so along with performances for every level of creativity and learning, special educational, fun children’s events are offered as well. From the Arizona Wolf Trap which is affiliated with the National Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning, to the Paiute Neighborhood Center which provides artistic experiences for youth and seniors. There’s also a program called Cultural Connections Through the Arts which was created to spread tolerance, multi-cultural understanding, and friendship among Valley youth. The Center is always in need of caring volunteers, so visit their website to find out how you can help. In addition, the Center holds many special events such as a performance of Oklahoma! by the Detour Company Theatre which is comprised of adults with learning and developmental disabilities. There is also a series of pre-show talks in which the director or cast of a dance or musical performance will be on hand before the start of the show to answer questions and talk about what you’re about to experience.
You don’t need to be an artist yourself to support the arts in your own way. There are several different tiers of donations you can choose to make to the Center, and each one comes with perks like free passes to shows or SMoCA. If you’re hosting a grand party, meeting, wedding or intimate affair, the Center is able to be rented inside and out from the theatre spaces to the Dayton Fowler Grafman Atrium. The Atrium is the 6,200 square foot main lobby and is a spectacular setting for 500- 900 guests. If you need audio/visual capabilities, the Mezzanine Conference Room is ideal. Up to 120 people can gather around the conference table. For much smaller gatherings, the Young @ Art Gallery featuring paintings from students can hold up to 120, and for the most intimate affairs, the swanky SMoCA Lounge has a maximum capacity of 80. Don’t forget about the outdoor spaces here too! From the gardens, to the Northeast Lawn, to the Amphitheater and the Overpass featuring the famous Love sculpture by Robert Indiana, you simply can’t pick a bad area.
So whether you come to party, celebrate, learn, or be entertained, you can be sure that you will make some wonderful memories. Come see why the website calls it the Scottsdale center for the eye-opening, side-splitting, toe-tapping, soul-shaking, awe-inspiring performing arts.