Alan Briggs didn’t plan to be an artist. Well, not a visual artist. The Phoenix native was a trumpet player in the Phoenix Symphony. He only began painting when he was looking for an activity he could do with his daughter, who is hearing-impaired.
The two took classes together, and when his daughter lost interest, Briggs kept going. He took classes at Scottsdale Artists’ School, and excelled in watercolor. Now Briggs, who still plays with the symphony, is one of the featured artists at this weekend’s ArtFest of Scottsdale. Briggs said he likes the looseness of watercolor.
“It is challenging,” he said. “I love the look and the freedom.” The ArtFest is now in its 13th year. It got its start when Scottsdale Mayor Herb Drinkwater asked his friend Frank Maguire to bring an art show to Scottsdale. Maguire was responsible for starting the Mill Avenue arts show in Tempe, said festival spokesman Doug Hawkins.
This year’s show will feature more than 200 artists spread out across Civic Center Mall.
The show focuses on contemporary art and will include paintings, sculptures, ceramics, furniture and jewelry.
It also will include musicians and a new addition: writers.
“We haven’t done that before, and it’s real exciting,” Hawkins said. “We decided writing something should be included in the arts.”
Michael Blake, author of “Dancing with Wolves,” will have a booth, and there will be a used book sale benefiting the Kiwanis Club of Scottsdale McCormick.
Hawkins also mentioned that artist Ruby Mazur has a special request of the festival-goers.
Mazur is credited for more than 3,000 album cover designs for musicians such as the Rolling Stones, Ray Charles and B.B. King. Hawkins said many of those original designs were lost in a fire a few years ago, and anyone who has a Mazur album cover is encouraged to bring it so the artist can photograph and autograph the art.