Heat Strokes

Not much grows in the Valley during the summer -- sweat stains, heat-induced hostility, and the Hulk's bulging box office take ranking among the unsavory exceptions. A rare instance of positive growth takes hold in downtown Scottsdale this Thursday evening, when the weekly ArtWalk morphs into the bigger, better and more enticingly titled Summer Spectacular ArtWalk. Hosted by the Scottsdale Gallery Association (SGA), M&I Bank and the Downtown Scottsdale Partnership, the 14th annual event will draw upward of 10,000 people to the arts district for gallery receptions, live entertainment and artist demonstrations.

"There are more than 100 galleries in the district, and dozens will be doing special events during the ArtWalk," explains event promoter Janet Cooper. "Many galleries time their summer exhibits to open during this event, because it's so well-attended."

New exhibitions include "But It's a Dry Heat" at Leslie Levy Fine Art, 7137 East Main, where paintings inspired by the Arizona summer remain on display through July 31. Overland Gallery, 7155 East Main, unveils Gary Ernest Smith's seven-foot-tall bronze tribute to Western painter Maynard Dixon, while Victoria Boyce Galleries, 7130 East Main, spotlights works by women artists in "There Is Nothing Like a Dame."

ArtWalkers whose focus is more "party" than "arty" won't be disappointed, as musicians, magicians and dancers cruise the sidewalks; eateries dish out free samples; and a lucky someone wins a chunk of change by guessing how much money is frozen inside an ice sculpture. With make-and-take art projects and the Fifth Avenue Ice Cream Social, the event even caters to kids.

Cooper emphasizes the ArtWalk's wide-reaching appeal. "You see everybody . . . some real cutting-edge, some young families, some elderly people, some very well-rounded art collectors, and some people who've probably never been in a gallery."

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Jill Koch
Contact: Jill Koch