Meet the Team
Catherine Ross, Robert Grebe, Julie Harmon, Rita Treat, Anne Hibbetts. Not pictured: Marcia Lang, Valerie Hildebrand. Photo courtesy of Sonoran Arts League.

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Sonoran Arts League to offer Summer Foothills Art Academy


SCOTTSDALE – The Sonoran Arts League will offer and arts classes for all ages program this summer. The Sonoran Arts League Summer Foothills Art Academy will be open to ages kindergarten to adults, and will be offered through Education & Community Services (ECS), a department of the Cave Creek Unified School District.

Since 2008, members of the Sonoran Arts League have taught the ECS Foothills Art Academy, garnering rave reviews for the multi-generational art classes. This year, the Sonoran Arts League will take the lead, structuring the classes and recruiting teachers as part of a new Sonoran Arts League program, ArtReach, which celebrates and supports the power of art to enrich life.

“Artists of the Sonoran Arts League have been wonderful to work with through the years,” said Elaine Vallario, ECS Enrichment Coordinator. “Our partnership has given flight to various summer workshops where teens and adults have worked side by side as their creativity is nurtured and encouraged.” 

The Sonoran Arts League has worked hard to put together a team to organize and run the Summer Foothills Art Academy. The screening procedure is rigorous. Artists must show more than competency in their work; they must be able to share their techniques with others.

“Teaching is more difficult than merely showing what you do,” Catherine Ross, Foothills Art Academy coordinator, explained. “You have to be able to break down your technique into small, meaningful segments.”

For the younger set, grades kindergarten through 6th grade, the art classes are STEAM oriented. STEAM represents science, technology, engineering, art, and math. For example, the “Desert Spring” class combines elements of plant life with math (sizes and shapes) into the creation of beautiful fields of flowers. There is also a 3D art class: students will be working with paper, foam board, wire, and clay as they learn the mechanics of 3D art.

For grades 7th through adult, classes cover a wide range of art-making experiences, including weaving, jewelry making, 3D art, ceramics, photography, and even pop-up books.

Classes for kindergarten through 6th grade will be held at Desert Sun Academy, 27880 N. 64th St., in Scottsdale. The classes for 7th grade through adults will be held at Cactus Shadows High School, 5802 E. Dove Valley Road, in Scottsdale.

“Through this partnership of ECS and Sonoran Arts League, we’ve laid a strong foundation for even more opportunities to unfold for all ages in our community,” said Elaine Vallario. “Please join us this summer!”

The weeklong classes take place June 13 through July 1, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Class information and registration is online through Education & Community Services at For additional class details, go to or contact Pat Bell-Demers of the Sonoran Arts League at (480) 575-6624. For questions regarding registration, contact Elaine Vallario at Education & Community Services at (480) 575-2072.

Education and Community Services is open to all students, public, private, charter or homeschooled, preschool through adult. For more information, visit