5 Free (or Cheap) January Art Events in Phoenix

Written by Wynter Holden Category: Visual Arts Issue: January 2016

Artist Ronald Wickersham / Photo courtesy AZ Fine Art ExpoAlong with losing weight and eating healthfully, saving money is one of the top New Year’s resolutions for 2016. Counting pennies usually means cutting down on daily extravagances like morning lattes and trading nights on the town for Netflix and chill.

Luckily, Phoenix is host to myriad budget art events that’ll help you stick to your resolution while simultaneously avoiding cabin fever and television burnout. We’re not just talking about First Friday or snooty independent gallery shows, either. Phoenix Art Museum recently implemented a family-friendly program with free admission every second Sunday of the month in 2016.

Sponsored by Discount Tire, these freebie days include complimentary entrance to the museum’s permanent collections plus discount admission to select traveling exhibits such as Gianfranco Ferré’s The White Shirt According to Me. Also look for monthly kids’ activities – January’s “BIG” theme includes a scavenger hunt and interactive wall mural. Visit phxart.org for details.

Here are four more wallet-friendly art events to keep your January budget in check:

1. Peep the mixed-media works of local artist Jill Friedberg from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday at FineMark National Bank & Trust (7600 Doubletree Ranch Rd., Scottsdale). Her free show Collecting Wonders, which runs through March 4, combines painting and photography with recycled and found objects Friedberg collected over two decades. Call 847-560-0480 for info.

2. Billed as “Phoenix’s largest underground art show,” The Duce’s Pancakes & Booze party from 8 p.m.-2 a.m. on Friday, January 15, features works from more than 60 local emerging artists, with a complimentary pancake bar to cleanse the palate between viewings. The 21-and-over event also includes live body painting demos and rocking tunes. $5 cover.

3. Every other Monday, HeatSync Labs (140 W. Main St., Mesa) hosts a free craft bash for the modern masses. Forget crocheted doilies and scrapbooking; these guys are more attuned to 3D printing and building working robots from extra motherboards and old car parts. Locals are invited to bring any craft project (yes, even knitting) and get tips from experts. The next Craftagious meet-up is set for January 18 from 7-9 p.m.

4. The annual Arizona Fine Art EXPO is back January 22-April 3 with more than 120 artists from around the world, including jeweler Beth Benowich, Chinese-born painter Wei Tai and David Shaddix, who builds crazy, intricate sculptures and wall portraits using LEGO® bricks. The massive fine art tent show (26540 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale) hosts artist demos and workshops throughout its run, with season passes just $10 for adults and $8 for students/seniors (kids 12 and under free).