Winter ArtFest kicks off a weekend of art shopping in Tempe

Winter Artfest covered Hayden Lawn on Thursday. Artists sold their work and entered in a raffle where the winning top prize was a scholarship of $200. (Photo by Manikandan Vijayakumar)

Jewelry, hand-dyed scarves, homemade hats and Christmas decorations drew a crowd to Hayden Lawn on Thursday afternoon.

Former University employee Judith Smith said ASU’s annual Winter ArtFest started out as a strictly faculty art show. Smith began the event, and this was the show’s sixth year.

“I recognized that there were a lot of talented staff that never got to show off their work,” Smith said.

It became open to students a few years ago, she said.

The University tries to hold the event right before the Tempe Festival of the Arts, takes place on Mill Avenue each year, Smith added.

The Tempe Festival of the Arts runs from Friday through Sunday.

Every participant in the Winter ArtFest is entered into a drawing for a $200 scholarship prize.

Former graduate school Assistant Dean and ASU alumna Sandy Luehrsen has sold her artwork in the Artfest for about five years.

She won the $200 prize last year and said she used it to buy more materials.

Luehrsen makes projects from clay, such as pins and ornaments.

She said the 300 pounds of clay she buys to make her ornaments costs around $150.

Luehrsen said she makes her money back selling the products and she profits as well. Each year, she has sold a few hundred dollars worth of her creations at the Winter ArtFest.

She said she also enjoys the chance to come back on campus.

“Part of the reward is seeing my old friends here,” she said.

ASU alumnus Ben Tixier was helping at a booth selling artwork by Sarah Gagliano, a biological sciences major.

Gagliano makes fleece hats in the shape of sea creatures.

Tixier said Gagliano came up with the idea when she lived in Chicago and needed a warm hat.

“Sarah has always loved squids – since high school,” he said. “She started making these hats and everyone loved them.”

The hats range from $25 to $30.

Tixier said Gagliano sold all of her hats at the last art show she attended.

Assistant Director of Admission and Recruitment Natalie Bauer said this is the first time she participated in the show.

She was selling mistletoe and crocheted baby blankets she learned to make from her grandmother.

She sells the blankets at Moonbeams in Scottsdale.

“I make them as a stress reliever,” she said.

Her blankets cost $25 and her mistletoe was $10.


Reach the reporter at or follow her on Twitter @hannah_lawr

Get the best of State Press delivered straight to your inbox.