Scottsdale Arts District Guide funding model could become mechanism of the future

Andrea Zakrzewski shows off one of her mother’s painting in their gallery during a Thursday Art Walk event last May. (Independent Newsmedia/Arianna Grainey)

The city of Scottsdale and the Gallery Association are once again teaming up to help bolster and expand the reach of the upcoming Scottsdale Arts District Guide.

A view of the Scottsdale Gallery Association’s 2018 Visitors Guide coming to a mailbox near you. (File photo)

In February 2017, Scottsdale City Council approved a $30,000 matching-fund agreement with the Scottsdale Gallery Association to help promote its 2018 Visitors Guide, which was lauded by the arts community, visitors and local residents alike.

Scottsdale City Council, in late September, approved the same amount through a matching-fund agreement to help shoulder distribution and printing costs of the 2019 Scottsdale Arts District Guide.

The Scottsdale Gallery Association — those who provide the lifeblood of Old Town Scottsdale — have been at the forefront of innovation, developing the beloved weekly Thursday night Art Walk, which is the longest running endeavor of its kind in the United States.

“In February 2018, City Council approved the Old Town Scottsdale Marketing Advertising Incentive Program that focused on leisure tourism and marketing partnerships with the Scottsdale Gallery Association for its expanded Arts District Guide, (which) included the city of Scottsdale’s Public Art and the city-owned cultural attractions located within the Scottsdale Arts District,” said Scottsdale Tourism & Events Director Karen Churchard in her Sept. 25 City Council report.

Ms. Churchard explains the arts guide funding program could become a model to help other events and efforts become a reality.

“Additionally, the Tourism & Events Department plans to expand and formalize a marketing matching fund program making it available to additional tourism industry stakeholders and organizations in Old Town Scottsdale in fiscal year 2018-19,” she said. “Primary concepts of the proposed marketing matching fund eligibility and requirements were also presented to the TDC.”

Last July, by a 6 to 1 vote, the Tourism Development Commission approved a recommendation vote to Scottsdale City Council asking the governing board for its blessing in creating an addendum to the municipal event funding program specific to longstanding events held within city limits.

The Tourism Development Commission is a collection of seven tourism professionals appointed by Scottsdale City Council providing recommendations to local policymakers regarding all things tourism.

Those discussions have now reached the point where public input will be sought regarding a standing matching-fund program for local events that matter, according to Ms. Churchard.

“It was agreed that staff will conduct public outreach with businesses in Old Town as well as obtain additional input by commissioners,” she said of the August TDC discussion. “Once formalized, the program will be brought to the City Council for its review and consideration to approve.”

Ms. Churchard says the 2018 Arts District guide was a success and with the recent City Council approval, city staff is hopeful of a repeat performance in 2019.

“The guide will be approximately 68 pages with an initial printing of 35,000, which will be distributed monthly to at least 25 hotels and resorts in the Phoenix metropolitan area and mailed to 5,000 homes that sold for more than $700,000 in the last five years,” she said of the scope of the guide.

“A second round of printing of an additional 20,000 copies of the guide will be direct mailed to a total of at least 20,000 homes in the Phoenix metropolitan area by December 2019. The guide will include two full page ads promoting Old Town Scottsdale and Scottsdazzle.”

Linda and Don Keithley look at art in Casa De Artistas in Old Town Scottsdale during the world-renowned Scottsdale Art Walk. (Independent Newsmedia/Arianna Grainey)

Independent Newsmedia Arizona Managing Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at

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