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2017 ArtFest of Scottsdale has ASU graduate on panel

The festival attracts artists to the Arizona art community


Crowds pictured at the Scottsdale ArtFest in 2011 in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The ArtFest of Scottsdale is celebrating its 24th year festival on Nov. 18 and 19 at the Scottsdale Civic Center Plaza, and an ASU art graduate is serving on the festival's jury. 

There are on average 150 artists that participate each year, and about half of them are returning artists. They are chosen from a group of up to 250 applicants who are each rated by a volunteer-based jury, said festival director Andrew Maguire.

“With art and art festivals like this it's interesting because an artist can come to the show and they’ll have really great work and they may not sell a lot,” Maguire said. “They may not sell any big pieces, but someone will see their art and like their art so much that they’ll think about it throughout the year, and then they’ll come to the festival the next year and purchase a big piece.”

Guessing how much an artist will make is very dependent of the buyers and of the type of work, Maguire said. However, the exposure an artist gets is the greatest benefit of participating in art festivals. 

“What’s important is driving people to the festival, to look at the art, to give those artists an opportunity to put their work out there,” Maguire said. 

Kacy Armstrong, an ASU photography alumnus, is one of the members of the festival's panel this year. This is his fourth year participating, and he said he returns in hopes of supporting the community.

“I think it's important for students right now to get used to the idea of social media and marketing,” Armstrong said. “You don't have to go to school for it, but stay connected, and if you're looking to be an artist you have to stay involved with everything.”

One way to get a low rating from the panel is to simply not take the art very seriously, Armstrong said. 

“I've never had to deny anyone, I haven't come across artists who just don't take themselves seriously,” Armstrong said.

There is a point where an artist has to decide if they are creating for the sake of art or for work, Armstrong said, and that decision will always be an emotional one. 

Karen LeGault, a painter, said she is traveling from Oakland, California to Scottsdale for the festival. What draws her to ArtFest is not only the weather, but the crowd which the festival attracts. 

Art is not a hobby for LeGault — she has a three-prong system that includes art festivals, private teaching and a yearly art camp for adults, she said

“I always think of kind of you’re riding this canoe downstream and you have to navigate all the rocks and small tributaries and eventually you get to bigger rivers and eventually they get bigger and there's always obstacles to navigate and challenges but you just keep doing it,” LeGault said.

Making a living as a fine artist is something that happened very naturally for LaGault. She said she began taking positions and making choices based on the ability to continue making art. 

“It’s kind of like an addiction in a way, there's such pleasure in making art, and in order to keep that habit going you have to find ways to make it work as a lifestyle," she said. 

Maguire, the festival director, said he is continuing his family tradition of managing art festivals in Arizona.

“I told him (his father, Frank Maguire) that I wanted to carry on the tradition that our family has been carrying for over 40 years," he said. 

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