Press Release

February 5, 2019

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

MEDIA CONTACT: Virginia McInnis | [email protected] | 480-874-4663

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art Through Two Decades

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona ­– Join Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) to kick off a year of festivities with a 20th anniversary launch party at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 15.

This spring opening will be free for everyone to enjoy the galleries and mix and mingle with curators, artists and the community. The party will feature a signature drink, a DJ and a preview of the new exhibition “Now Playing: Video 1999–2019.”

“The yearlong celebrations will look back to the history of the Museum in a variety of ways while also looking to the future through innovation,” said Jennifer McCabe, director and chief curator.

This exhibition is the first time since the Museum was a movie theater that all four galleries, including the fifth multi-use gallery, will be dedicated to video art. Visitors will find themselves in dimly lit galleries, save for the glow of monitors and projectors illuminating the space to immerse the viewer.

The once bustling United Artists Theatre — a five-plex movie theater — was repurposed by innovative, award-winning architect Will Bruder to become the Museum. The five theaters, once filled with moviegoers and popcorn fanatics, were redesigned into five flexible galleries that continue to tell stories but are now filled with museumgoers.

The curving metal skin on the exterior of SMoCA pays homage to the similarly curved facades of the neighboring Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, designed by the talented Arizona architect Bennie Gonzales. Additions to the building by Bruder, James Carpenter and James Turrell included an enclosed courtyard where sunlight plays across the “Scrim Wall,” featuring translucent and colored dichroic glass by Carpenter, and “Knight Rise,” 2001, a skyspace by Turrell. All three worked together to create the signature architectural elements that define SMoCA; materials, colors and forms echo throughout the building. The lobby of the building features two dramatic curved walls — one made of frosted glass, the other of dark gray steel — make reference to both the glass “Scrim Wall” and the elliptical “Knight Rise.”

SMoCA could not have had such a successful two decades without the support of the community. It’s the members, volunteers, supporters, friends and artists that have enabled the Museum to bring contemporary art, unique events and educational opportunities to Scottsdale. To commemorate the 20th anniversary, patrons and donors alike will be able to partake in a yearlong contribution campaign to further celebrate and support SMoCA.

Launching this year, the community will be able to celebrate the anniversary milestone through the Support SMoCA@20 campaign. Encompassing the theme of 20 years, the Support SMoCA@20 campaign will offer a range of contribution options designed to encourage broad participation at the $20, $200, $2,000 and $20,000 levels as well as opportunities to make a one-time gift or set up a payment plan.

“The 20th anniversary is a chance to reflect on some of the highlights of the Museum’s 20 years. We are bringing former curator of performing arts, Tania Katan, back for a book launch; we are producing an exhibition of contemporary glass this summer; and we are making all the publications ever produced available for reading and for purchase. Additionally, there are several other programs broadly related to the 20th anniversary,” McCabe said.

Stay tuned for additional fun throughout the year, including special events and exhibitions

that relate to the 20th anniversary. SMoCA’s birthday year will culminate in a grand celebration and unveiling of future plans on February 15, 2020.

Opening exhibition is sponsored by Carrie Lynn Richardson and Paul Giancola.

Opening celebration is sponsored by Gensler.

Related Programming
All events take place in SMoCA Lounge unless noted otherwise. Free events at SMoCA fill quickly and are first come, first served; early arrival is encouraged. Visit to RSVP and purchase tickets.

20th Anniversary Opening Celebration
Friday, Feb. 15, 7–10 p.m.
SMoCA Lounge
Tickets: Free Admission

Party like it’s 1999! Join us for the launch party of a year of festivities to celebrate

SMoCA’s 20th Anniversary and pledge support for the future growth of the Museum. With this year’s spring opening we are hosting a party with a DJ, a signature drink and a preview of our new exhibition. As a thank you to our supporters and fans over the years, admission is free to everyone. Chat with curators, mingle with artists and share your SMoCA memories with us. Cash bar.

Tania Katan: Creative Trespassing
Friday, Feb. 22, 7 p.m.
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
Virginia G. Piper Theater
Tickets: Individual plus one signed book $40 / Pair plus one signed book $60 / VIP (one signed book, admission to VIP reception and reserved front seat) $75

Join us in celebrating this special book launch for Tania Katan’s “Creative Trespassing: How to Put the Spark and Joy Back Into Your Work and Life.” Katan shows you how to sneak more creativity and imagination into your work and life.

Flavor Lab: Collaborate, Decorate, Celebrate!
Saturday, March 16, Noon

SMoCA Lounge

Tickets: Pair $50 / Individual $35

Decorate your cake and eat it too! Come celebrate SMoCA’s 20th birthday and learn decorating skills from the experts at Pixy Cakes. They will guide participants in creating decorations for a collaborative cake, and then the birthday celebration begins with sparkling wine and, of course, cake!

Trivia Night @SMoCA: Film Buff Edition
Friday, March 29, 7 p.m.

SMoCA Lounge

Tickets: $10 (includes one drink)

So you think you’re a film junkie? Comedian Anwar Newton hosts an evening of trivia designed to test your film knowledge to the limit. Bring along fellow film lovers, and create a supergroup to win prizes and become film trivia champions of SMoCA. How can it possibly get better, you ask? Your first drink is on us! So join us for a trivia night like no other.

Mystery in the Museum:

Mayhem at the Matinee

Saturday, April 6, 6 p.m.

Tickets: Pair $25 / Individual $15

You are cordially invited to a red carpet movie premiere … where a little mayhem may be unleashed. The only way to make it through the chaos is to solve puzzles and follow clues left behind. Cash bar and light bites are included.

Through its partnership with the City of Scottsdale, the nonprofit Scottsdale Arts (formerly known as Scottsdale Cultural Council) creates diverse, inspired arts experiences and educational opportunities that foster active, lifelong community engagement with the arts. Since its founding in 1987, Scottsdale Arts has grown into a regionally and nationally significant, multi-disciplinary arts organization offering an exceptional variety of programs through four acclaimed branches — Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA), Scottsdale Public Art and Scottsdale Arts Education & Outreach — serving more than 400,000 participants annually.

Founded in 1999, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) explores the best of contemporary art, architecture and design. Global in its focus, the Museum is a unique and vital cultural resource for the Southwest, serving local audiences as well as visitors from the United States and abroad. Designed by award-winning architect Will Bruder, SMoCA’s minimalist building (an ingenious renovation of a former movie theater) has four galleries for showcasing changing exhibitions and works from the Museum’s collection, along with SMoCA Lounge, a living, functional art installation and space for community engagement. The Museum presents a wide variety of educational programs and special events for adults and families, including lectures, readings, performances, docent-led tours, workshops and classes. SMoCA also features an outdoor sculpture garden housing James Turrell’s “Knight Rise,” one of the renowned artist’s public skyspaces, and “Scrim Wall,” a monumental curtain of translucent glass panels by James Carpenter Design Associates. The Museum’s retail store, Shop@SMoCA, offers classic design objects and furnishings, contemporary jewelry, art and architecture books, and imaginative gifts for all occasions.

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
7374 E. Second St., Scottsdale, Arizona 85251 
[email protected]

Tuesday – Wednesday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Thursday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Sunday, noon – 5 p.m.
Closed Mondays and major holidays
Admission: $10 adults, $7 students, seniors (65+) and veterans, and free for members and children under 15
Free on Thursdays and every second Saturday of the month

For interviews, digital images or additional information, please contact:

Virginia McInnis
Public Relations Specialist
Scottsdale Arts

Phone: 480-874-4663
Email: [email protected]