They’re nestled in the hills of the North Valley, some off the beaten path, but many of them have received national acclaim for their original works of art. And, lucky for art collectors and those seeking original holiday gifts, 35 of them will open their art studios during the last two weekends of this month and invite guest artists to join them during the 24th Annual Hidden in the Hills Artist Studio Tour.
A signature event of the nonprofit Sonoran Arts League, Hidden in the Hills is Arizona’s largest and longest-running artist studio tour. This year’s event features 140 artists at 35 socially-distanced, private studio locations throughout Cave Creek, Carefree and North Scottsdale.
The free, self-guided studio tour takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday, Nov. 20-22 and Nov. 27-29. While this year’s tour may seem a bit different, with masks and sanitizer, guests will still enjoy the unique experience of meeting diverse artists, watching demonstrations, and learning the inspiration behind each artist’s work.
Part of the fun is discovering unique studios. Guests starting their tour from the northwest part of town might want to begin at Curt Mattson’s Studio #25, near the intersection of Carefree Highway and 32nd Street. A master sculptor and talented painter, Mattson captures the explosive action of buckaroos and the lore and grandeur of the West.
Set on two and a half acres with Cave Creek Regional Park as a backdrop, Mattson’s home and studio embody the spirit of the West with breathtaking bronze sculptures, evocative oil and watercolor paintings and freehand charcoal drawings – each one telling a unique story about cowboys, cowgirls, horses, cattle and life on the ranch.
From Mattson’s studio, guests can weave their way through the town of Cave Creek, stopping at dozens of studios along the way. On the other side of town is Stagecoach Village, 7100 E. Cave Creek Road, where the Sonoran Arts League’s Center for the Arts is located. Stop by Suite 144 to pick up artist directories and maps before heading north on Galloway Drive to visit several other diverse art studios.
From Galloway Drive, it’s easy to find Judy Paxton Bruce’s Studio #4. An acclaimed painter, Bruce has received many accolades for her contemporary mixed media paintings and prints. Her work is highly influenced by Francis Bacon, Max Ernst, The Chicago Hairy Who’s and the Chicago Imagists, Schiele and many others. Much of her work deals with the human condition, vulnerability, and the strength and power in women, children, and creatures. Her guest artist, Michele Corsini, will exhibit a variety of beautiful oil paintings, soft pastels and prints.
Further south, there are several clusters of studios along Lone Mountain, Cave Creek Road and Scottsdale Road, all the way down to Patricia Isaacson’s Glass Studio #9, near Happy Valley and Pima Roads in Scottsdale. Isaacson’s guests include Sandi Ciaramitaro (watercolor, oil, bronze), Kathryn Darner (jewelry), Cynthia Eral (oil), and Merrily Kulmer (acrylic, ceramic, pastel).
For details or to download a map, visit HiddenInTheHills.org.