Arts Day 2019: We are all artists

Marsh, N. Headshot Written by Natalie Marsh of Scottsdale Arts

Full disclosure: This blog post is full of bias and opinion. I am a product of the arts. I am a supporter of, an advocate for, employed by, and a contributor to the arts. While the below attempts to capture a story of Scottsdale Leadership Arts Day 2019, if you wanted a non-biased debrief of the day, a different person should have written the post.

How many of you are guilty of saying one of the following sayings: “I’m not an artist”, “I can’t draw”, or “I’m not the creative one, that’s so-and-so”?

But how many of you have had tested a hypothesis in a lab setting, designed home décor or landscaping, maybe you remodeled your home, or have your own website?  All of those tasks use creative thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills. The same skills that are used by artists daily.


We are all artists. Art has been an integral part of humanity long before the industrialized, concrete world we live in today pushed it into performance halls and museums. Art is what brings together a community and fosters innovative ideas. The arts make us whole.

That’s what arts day was about. It looked at how the arts have shaped individuals in our community, how the arts contribute to our community’s identity, and how the arts impact our community’s economy. Our day presented us with amazing music, theater and visual arts programming from local, national and international artists. The panels were comprised of local and state experts in the arts that provided thought-provoking discussions about the value and impact of the arts.

We are lucky to live in a community that has one of the earliest models of public art programs that is funded through public and private development. We are proud to host world-class arts organizations that present the best of visual and performing arts. We are fueled by a robust creative economy that represents $4.9 billion and boasts 90,000 employees.

While the day was more passive in artistic understanding, I hope that we are all left with a feeling of empowerment and action. John Sather, managing partner for Swabeck pllc. said it best, “Scottsdale is based on big ideas.” Those big ideas came from creative, visionary minds whether they were in the arts or not. They came from leaders that had a passion to build a community that is vibrant, healthy, and innovative. You don’t have to be a virtuoso in an artistic trade to be an artist. All you need is a drive to make our community better through innovation, discovery, and building a sense of place. Now go forth and be an artist for our community.


A special thanks to our sponsors and partners of the day including day chairs, Taylor Buttrey, Robert Leger, and Diana Smith; FirstBank, Wells Fargo, Eur Haus Food Truck; Scottsdale Arts; and our many speakers and panelists.


1 Comment

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One response to “Arts Day 2019: We are all artists

  1. While I agree with a sentiment which amounts to “art is good,” nebulous adjectives like “world-class,” “visionary,” “passion,” culminating in the ever popular and even less meaningful homage to “big ideas,” doesn’t lead me back to the premise.

    In the current environment of governmental neglect of critical infrastructure and erosion/dilution of core services, no one is served by back-patting. The real discussion should be about how much the citizens should be taxed to support “the arts,” how government officials should enforce accountability for those expenditures, and how to ensure maximum relevance of the end product to the taxpayers who involuntarily fund these activities.

    ScottsdaleArts is a private business, with a 20-year, no-bid contract, free rent in taxpayer-owned and taxpayer-maintained facilities, AND it receives $5 MILLION in taxpayer-funded cash subsidies EVERY YEAR with virtually no transparency or accountability to the taxpayers about how that money is spent.

    Management audit letters are not released to the city, in order to maintain the lie that they are not subject to public records requests.

    Is this a “model” about which we really want to be bragging, in the face of $2 BILLION in municipal debt (highest per-capita in the metro area), $2 BILLION more in deferred infrastructure maintenance, and a proposal to ask the citizens to raise their own taxes to borrow ANOTHER $300 million to make up for the mayor and council’s budgetary dishonesty?

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