The Scottsdale Cultural Council Has a New Name

The nonprofit entity formerly known as the Scottsdale Cultural Council announced on Wednesday, August 17, that it has a new name, logo, and website. 

Meet Scottsdale Arts.

Founded in 1987, the organization is contracted by the City of Scottsdale to operate its arts venues and offerings. That means it receives money from the City to oversee Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, and Scottsdale Public Art. Those institutions' names will not change. No changes to how the organization, run by president and CEO Neale Perl, functions as a whole were announced.

The aim of the name change, per the release, is "to define more clearly its unique mission as a community-focused, multi-disciplinary, nonprofit arts organization and to engage more effectively with the public and the next generation of audiences."

Scottsdale Arts board of trustees chairman and vice president and general manager of Mountain Shadows resort Andrew Chippindall says in the release that the "new name and logo communicates that we are one, united organization, strongly rooted in our community, with a renewed spirit of cooperation, innovation, and purpose.”

This "new era" has been 10 months in the making, and the new name was unanimously approved at a board of trustees meeting earlier this year. It's unclear how much money has been spent on the transition.

Scottsdale Arts' logo merges the words "Scottsdale" and "arts" in bright blue and white. Its new website is located at, where its new 2016-17 season guide is available. As of this writing, the Cultural Council site is still functioning. 

The changes come as part of the Cultural Council's strategic plan that was approved by the board of trustees in June 2015. Outlined as the fifth goal in a series of 10, the rebranding is filed under plans to strengthen the nonprofit organization's brand identity and enhance its marketing, communication, and public relations. It's also part of the organization's efforts to better unite its three divisions under one umbrella. 

In the summer of 2015, rumors swirled that the unification recommended by the strategic plan would result in the elimination of director positions at the three arts institutions. During this time, the institutions' office spaces were being consolidated to have the divisions work more closely with one another — both literally and figuratively. Perl had been president and CEO of the Council for less than a year at the time, having joined the Council in August 2014. 

While SMoCA director Tim Rodgers resigned in May of that year and Cory Baker left her directorship at the Center for the Performing Arts, Donna Isaac remained director of Public Art. Since Baker and Rodgers' departures, Sara Cochran and Ally Haynes-Hamblen have been promoted to permanent directors of SMoCA and the Center, respectively. 

The Council had suffered from low community awareness. A 2012 phone survey it commissioned found that fewer than half of Scottsdale's residents knew what it was and fewer still knew what it did, making fundraising difficult. Not helping matters, Perl's predecessor, Bill Banchs, had a reputation for being difficult to work with and oversaw budget cuts while heading up the Council from 2008 to 2013. 

“A great deal of careful thought and planning has gone into this change, and we know the time is right to introduce a new identity that reflects our organization’s creativity, vitality, and synergy,” Perl says in the news release. “Scottsdale Arts is bold and direct, and perfectly represents the fundamental mission of our organization – to provide our city’s residents and visitors with exceptional arts and educational experiences – now and into the future.”

Correction: This post has been edited to reflect that Andrew Chippindall is no longer with Hotel Valley Ho. He joined Mountain Shadows resort as vice president and general manager in July 2016.
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Becky Bartkowski is an award-winning journalist and the arts and music editor at New Times, where she writes about art, fashion, and pop culture.
Contact: Becky Bartkowski