Deborah Lewis, Author at PHOENIX magazine

Dozens of ceramic artists will open their studios to the public this weekend at 17 locations across the Valley for Arizona State University Art Museum's annual Ceramic Studio Tour. Each studio has a lead artist who has invited special “guest artists,” enticing us with a promising variety of shapes, sizes and styles.

Calling Harold Baldwin a “patient” man is an understatement. It takes him months, even years to finish a single piece of artwork. But it’s well worth the wait. Baldwin creates complex and meticulous works that are at once whimsical and engaging. They are moving – in every sense of the word.

Recently, his three-foot high kinetic sculpture at the Shemer Art Center, “Steam Punk Pinball,” had lines of people waiting to crank the handle and watch as two balls moseyed through the piece via bike chain. Everyone slipped into a joyful state as they looked on, mesmerized.

The perfect holiday present doesn’t have to elude you. The Shemer Art Center in Arcadia boasts a gift shop offering hundreds of one-of-a-kind gifts at truly reasonable prices. Each piece is hand-made by famous and up-and-coming local artists.

The Shemer Art Center is hidden in plain sight on the southeast corner of East Camelback and Arcadia. Near the entrance, a Latin phrase inscribed over a cozy fireplace translates to, “Art is long, life is brief.” Built in 1919, this onetime home is the oldest in the Arcadia neighborhood. It has been a museum since 1985.

While you’re browsing, check out the schedule of classes and upcoming events. And don’t forget to check out the art in the museum itself.

Rielle Oase is assistant curator of the art exhibit at the Arizona State Fair. A student of the University of Arizona College of Fine Art, Oase never expected to get the gig. She applied to be a gallery monitor to add experience to her resume.

Chi Isiogu, Arizona State Art Fair head curator, instead brought the talented photography student on board as assistant curator of the 2016 Fine Art & Photography art show and art programming. Oase, who was was tapped to curate a photography competition blitzed with more than 900 entries, says of receiving the offer, “I almost died of excitement.” Isiogu wanted to revamp the exhibit and make it a flagship fair experience, to morph the Fair’s old-school venue - Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum – into a modern art space.

Step right up! The Arizona State Fair returns this week, along with its Fine Arts & Photography Competition & Exhibition. Come see, play and – why not? – buy a piece of wonderful and affordable local art.

Every day of the fair (October 7-30) will feature free art demonstrations, with basket weavers, foil sculptors and other artists giving you some tips of their trade so you can make your own magic. The whole family can also participate in a free community mural project that will become part of the fair. Feel free to bring your “found objects” to contribute to the mural station (rules: any item smaller than a quarter and waterproof!) to help make the mural memorable.

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