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Art Unraveled Workshops Bind Creative Community

Published: Thursday, July 26, 2012

Updated: Thursday, July 26, 2012 13:07


Arizona’s artistic roots go deep.

The burgeoning painters, poets and musicians of the new downtown generation inhabit a fresh breed of creativity. The scene is full of artists whose work carries a sense of prolificacy not entirely dissimilar to Frederick Sommer, Fritz Scholder or other celebrated artists who once used this former desert territory as inspiration. However, an artist is like a tradesman; to properly execute a concept or “make a project work” it is sometimes necessary to employ the use of tools. More than essential materials, an artist must be able to collaborate and learn from others. And, sometimes, one must go back to the basics.

Enter Art Unraveled. Now in its 10th year, this celebration of the fine arts and all-things-creative features a series of over 130 workshops, courses and presentations taught by 59 internationally recognized artists and teachers. The event held at the Embassy Suites Phoenix-Scottsdale location begins on July 30 and runs through August 7.

Art Unraveled offers workshops ranging in topics from Photoshop for Mixed Media to Clarissa Callesen’s “Steampunk Sally” course, in which students will outfit a doll in the high fashion of a post-apocalyptic, steam-powered future. In the course “6 Hours in Paris,” Phoenix fashion blogger Hannah Hayes and local book illustrator Katie Shepherd will Montrez-vous à Paris.

But there’s more to the convention than workshops.

“The eight-day event is a gathering of like-minded individuals,” said Art Unraveled organizer Linda Young. “It’s a community-driven event put on by artists, for other artists. It’s more than just workshops. Some people make new friendships or end up rooming together at the hotel or going out after the workshops. Others reconnect with old friends from across the country.”

This event isn’t just for the artistically-inclined, either.

Hundreds of Valley residents descend upon the venue for another reason altogether: to shop. Much of what is on display is also for sale.

As Young puts it, “[AU] is like a street-art festival, indoors.”

At its core, Art Unraveled is a collective effort with a community-driven mindset.

“You shouldn’t come here with the expectation of only taking something away,” Young said. “It’s a give and take celebration.”

The event culminates in a silent auction, for which artists may donate various pieces of work. All proceeds from the silent auction are donated to the Youth Development Institute where the money will fund fine arts programs for at-risk youth. Each aspect of this event is about giving back to the artist community, Phoenix and those in attendance.

Arizona’s picturesque landscape has solidified our state as a destination for artists, just as Art Unraveled has solidified itself as a must-not-miss week for anyone with an innate artistic spirit.


Embassy Suites Phoenix-Scottsdale, 4415 E. Paradise Village Parkway S, Phoenix,, Monday, July 30, to Tuesday, Aug. 7, costs vary

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