Thunderbird Artists Gallery opens in Carefree

CAREFREE – After 37 years of producing award-winning, juried fine art and wine festivals, Thunderbird Artists is expanding to open its first fine art gallery, the Thunderbird Artists Gallery, in Carefree on Thursday, December 6.

The new gallery, located at 99 Easy Street, Suite 235, in Carefree and it will showcase and sell the works of renowned artists, including David Bennett, Guilloume, Jacinthe Dugal-Lacroix, Sandy and Dave Daniel, Valentine, Dan Hale and others.

“We’ve been partnering with the Town of Carefree and the Carefree Cave Creek Chamber of Commerce on our Carefree festivals for 26 years. It only makes sense that we would consider Carefree as our home base for an art gallery,” Thunderbird Artists President Denise Colter said.

A special ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at noon on December 6, with town and chamber officials present. Guests to gallery will also enjoy refreshments throughout the afternoon.

One of the highlights of the new gallery will be a stunning, LED-illuminated, glass and metal chandelier that depicts figures in motion. The captivating piece was created by glass artist David Bennett, of Carefree.

Bennett spent 25 years working as a trial lawyer before finding his passion for sculpting glass. A native of Oregon, he was vacationing in Florida celebrating his 50th birthday when he met a glass blower who inspired him to learn more. Within two weeks, he was making paperweights and within the next year, he began studying with Robert Carlson and Petr Novotny at the Pilchuck Glass School.

He continued to study with talented glass artists in the south of France, Murano, Italy and Pilchuck. By 1997, he left his career in law to work full-time in his studio. He is best known for his metal and glass animal and human figures in motion, including modern dancers and trapeze artists. Each piece includes 10 or more glass and metal pieces welded together.

Bennett uses a proprietary method that protects the glass during the welding process. While artisans have been blowing glass into metal forms for 2,000 years, Bennett said he and others are pushing the technique.

“We can make complex forms in glass and bronze that we could not do in either medium alone. As we’ve stretched the technical processes of blowing glass into metal, I’ve had more and more artistic freedom,” Bennett said, adding that the LED lights inside his glass sculptures often glow like embers in a fireplace, resulting in a warm, comforting feeling.

Located near the intersection of Ho Hum and East Streets in downtown Carefree, Thunderbird Artists Gallery will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. For more information, call (480) 688-4960 or visit ThunderbirdArtistsGallery.com.