The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) is dedicated to presenting the best of both local and international contemporary art, architecture and design by artists from around the world. Set on a twenty-one acre landscaped park in the heart of the Old Town District in downtown Scottsdale, SMoCA features a range of exhibitions throughout the year, as well as a selection of diverse and exciting programs that cover dance, music, film, performance and literature.
The museum is home to five main galleries that showcase permanent and traveling exhibitions and an outdoor sculpture garden that displays artworks from a variety of artists, including Arizona-based artist James Turrell. SMoCA also hosts a range of special functions and events and educational programs, classes, workshops and lectures throughout the year.
The mission of the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art is to encourage and inspire the creativity, innovation and vitality of the visual arts. The Museum aims to educate audiences about modern and contemporary art, as well as to provide a unforgettable experience of art, architecture and design for the community as a whole.
1.Architecture and Design
In addition to outstanding exhibitions of modern and contemporary art, the SMoCA Building is an artwork in itself. Designed by internationally acclaimed architect Will Bruder, SMoCA's austere building was once a former movie theater/Cineplex and was transformed into the architectural gem it is today. The building provides more than 18,000 square feet of flexible exhibition space and houses four vast galleries for the permanent and ever-changing exhibitions of the Museum, along with a new, multi-use gallery space called the SMoCA Lounge.
The exterior of the building was designed to encourage exploration with an eggplant/gray palette that reflects the dark shadows of the nearby McDowell Mountains range and reflective membranes that embody the changing skies above. In addition to the inspiring architecture, visitors to the Museum are greeted by signature art piece, such as the inspiring Scrim Wall, which is made up of textured glass sheets wrapped around an organic curve, creating a dazzling, lantern-like effect around the building, and the shimmering elliptical James Turrell Skyspace.
SMoCA features works by internationally renowned Arizona-based artist James Turrell whose completed artworks are his Skyspaces that explore the complexity of light as a medium. The most famous of these enclosures is Knight Rise, which is located in the Nancy and Art Schwalm Sculpture Courtyard and visitors are invited to observe and savor the beautiful night sky through an elliptical opening in the ceiling from a concrete bench. The opening creates an illusion that the sky is descending upon the space and is most dramatic at sunrise and sunset, when the sky looks like a solid block of pure color.
The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) features a range of permanent, temporary, and traveling exhibitions throughout the year. SMoCA's exhibition series Architecture + Art presents projects by architects and artists who explore and challenge the boundaries of architecture and art to showcase innovation in contemporary art, architecture and design.
SMoCA Lounge is a flexible space for a variety of programs, gatherings and workshops, such as musical performances, book discussions, artist's talks, literary explorations, creative competitions, and other happenings. SMoCA Lounge was established in 2011 as a dynamic art installation designed for community engagement and is the Museum's premium venue for both public and private events.
The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) is also an educational institution that encourages curiosity, inspiration and exploration into the world of art through a variety of educational programs, classes, workshops, lectures, outreach presentations, docent-led tours, and films and studio tours. Innovative programs are offered for children, teens, adults and educators and a non-circulating library is available for research by appointment.
4.Plan Your Visit
The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) is located on East Second Street in Scottsdale and is open Tuesday through Sunday every day of the week. Free parking available on Drinkwater Blvd in the parking garageof the Civic Center Library or behind Los Olivos restaurant.
Free docent-led museum tours for adults are held every Thursday at 12:30 pmand Sunday at 1:30 pm and no reservation are needed. Private docent-led tours for groups are also available and need to be booked in advance. Visitors can also enjoy free self-guided walking tours through the Museum and the nearby sculpture gardens in the Civic Center Park.
Back to: Best Things to Do in Scottsdale, Arizona
7374 East Second Street, Scottsdale, Arizona 85251, Phone: 480-874-4666
Things to Do in Arizona: Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA)