Photo: “Sunscreen,” 2020, by Phoenix artist Ellen Nemetz from “Artists’ Breakfast Club, 20 Years.”
In celebration of its 20th anniversary, the Valley-based Artists’ Breakfast Club will be featured in a new exhibition by Scottsdale Public Art from Oct. 5 through Dec. 31, 2020, at the Civic Center Public Gallery inside the Scottsdale Civic Center Library.
With the exhibition, titled “Artists’ Breakfast Club, 20 Years,” the group will celebrate a spirit of community and support among a collection of professional Arizona artists who meet regularly to exchange ideas, learn about the art world and become friends.
“Artmaking can be a lonely profession once you’re out of school,” said Wendy Raisanen, curator of collections and exhibitions for Scottsdale Public Art. “Since the pandemic, I think more people understand how important it is to have connections — having a group of people who have similar interests and goals. This exhibition provides a look at the high quality of art that grows from this kind of support and community.”
The Artists’ Breakfast Club was founded by Paradise Valley artist Beth Ames Swartz, who participated in a similar group while living in New York City in the early 1990s. In 2000, Swartz and fellow Phoenix artist Jon Haddock initially invited about six artist friends to have breakfast and chat together bimonthly. From those early get-togethers, the group has now expanded to more than 150 participants with 30 to 50 attending each event.
During their monthly meetings, members of the Artists’ Breakfast Club often listen to guest speakers, including curators, major artists, museum professionals, writers and others. And as an entirely volunteer organization, the members help one another with logistics, event publicity and website updates.
“My main goal has been to create a loving, supportive, collaborative community of artists who care about and help each other,” Swartz said. “It is amazing to realize it has been 20 years!”
For the Scottsdale Public Art exhibition, participating Artists’ Breakfast Club members created artworks in a variety of mediums, including painting, photography, class, ceramics, encaustic, metal, mixed media, printmaking. Each artwork label also features quotes from the artists about their involvement with the club — many of them focusing on their personal connections to Swartz.
Participating artists include: Cherie Buck-Hutchison (Phoenix), Sara Reinstein Becker (Phoenix), Kevin Caron (Phoenix), Christine Cassano (Mesa), Mary Chuduk (Tempe), Joel Coplin (Phoenix), Barbara Kemp Cowlin (Oracle), Diana Creighton (Oracle), Heidi Dauphin (Phoenix), Jill Friedberg (Scottsdale), John Haddock (Tempe), Jerry Jacobson (Tempe), Christopher Jagmin (Phoenix), Jane Kelsey-Mapel (Phoenix), Art Levy (Scottsdale), Jo-Ann Lowney (Phoenix), Emily Matyas (Tempe), Mary Meyer (Gold Canyon), John Randall Nelson (Tempe), Ellen Nemetz (Phoenix), Marnell North (Phoenix), Ann Osgood (Phoenix), Daniel Prendergast (Phoenix), Rembrandt Quiballo (Phoenix), Joe Ray (Scottsdale), Patricia Sannit (Phoenix), Melissa Sclafani (Tempe), Diane Silver (Phoenix), Beth Ames Swartz (Paradise Valley), Annie Waters (Phoenix) and Ellen Wagener (Phoenix).
In addition to the physical exhibition at the Civic Center Public Gallery, all the artworks will be included in the virtual exhibition, which will be online for a limited time at ScottsdalePublicArt.org/exhibitions/, beginning Oct. 5.
Scottsdale Public Art will host a virtual artist reception via Zoom with many of the featured artists from 6–7:30 pm Friday, Oct. 23. For information on this free online event, visit ScottsdalePublicArt.org/events/.
Civic Center Public Gallery is located inside the Scottsdale Civic Center Library at 3839 N. Drinkwater Blvd., Scottsdale. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the library has modified hours and is currently closed on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Monday and Wednesday hours are 10 am–6 pm Friday and Saturday hours are 1–5 pm. Hours are subject to change during the course of the exhibition. Verify current hours at ScottsdaleLibrary.org/locations/.