It was a tailgating party of sorts, sans the football. The 10th annual Fiesta Bowl Art Walk drew visitors and art aficionados to Scottsdale’s downtown on Saturday for an afternoon of art viewing, food sampling and live music.
“It’s a way to showcase our art galleries, especially to out-of-town visitors,” said John Little, executive director of Scottsdale’s Downtown Group.
The event, designed to maximize tourist spending in downtown Scottsdale, was co-sponsored by the city and the Scottsdale Gallery Association.
The combination of warm weather and a weakened U.S. dollar brought more international visitors to Clarke & Clarke Art and Artifacts on East Fifth Avenue, reported co-owner Jim Clarke.
Clarke said he and his wife, Ginny, have had a steady stream of customers all week, including those from as far away as Australia, France, Asia and Great Britain.
“We had people lining up before the art walk started,” Jim Clarke said. “They were lining up outside at 9:30 a.m.”
Clarke expects foot traffic in the downtown gallery area to continue to be strong as visitors arrive for the Valley’s two bowl games, New Year’s Eve parties and the Super Bowl.
For Gary and Lori Middleton of southeast Washington, the Fiesta Bowl Art Walk was a stop on their week-long vacation in the area.
“It’s really wonderful and relaxing,” said Lori, 46, of the day-long event.
Even for the locals.
Susan Stewart, 57, of Phoenix, who described the event as “festive, casual and relaxed,” said it’s amazing what there is to offer “right in our own backyard.”
It wasn’t just the art galleries that benefited from the extra business.
Outdoor vendors at the Saturday Farmer’s Market in downtown Scottsdale also reported a boost of browsers and customers.
“We’ve had a good volume of people here so far,” said Carol Heyse, who was selling dichroic and fused glass art at her Carol’s Creations table near the fountain on Fifth Avenue and Marshall Way. “And everyone’s talking about the Art Walk.”