Winter Carefree Fine Art & Wine Festival to be held January 17 to 19

CAREFREE — More than 5,000 original works of art from 155 juried fine artists will be showcased Friday through Sunday, January 17 to 19 at the Thunderbird Artists’ 27th Annual Winter Carefree Fine Art & Wine Festival. The fine festival will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. along Ho Hum and Easy Streets in downtown Carefree.

“The Showman” Oil painter Brent Flory will be the featured artist at the 27th Annual Carefree Art & Wine Festival.

A popular event for locals and tourists alike, Thunderbird Artists’ Winter Carefree show was recently ranked number 45 among the “Premier 100 Fine Art Events” throughout the nation by Greg Lawler’s Art Fair SourceBook.

“It’s an honor to receive such a prestigious industry accolade, and a true testament to the quality of our show,” said Denise Colter, president of Thunderbird Artists. “We love being a part of the Carefree community – people love strolling through the streets, meeting the artists, tasting wine and listening to live music. It’s a beautiful, serene setting, and our artists provide plenty of inspiration.”

While meeting award-winning artists and enjoying live musical performances, festival attendees can participate in a world-class wine tasting program. For $10, patrons will receive an engraved souvenir wine glass and six tasting tickets. Additional tasting tickets may be purchased for $1 each.

 In addition to a wide variety of paintings, sculptures, bronzes, sparkling hand-blown glass, wood, clay, metal, stone, gourds, batiks, scratchboard, one-of-a-kind handcrafted jewelry, exceptional photography and more, attendees are expected to be especially taken with the oil paintings of the event’s featured artist, Brent Flory.

Featured artist Brent Flory

Oil painter Brent Flory enjoys learning about and painting the Wild West. Raised in Parker, Ariz., Flory was always intrigued by illustrations in picture books. His favorites depicted cowboys, farmers, ranchers, Native Americans and wildlife from the American West.

Flory finds subject matter for his life-like paintings all around him, especially in journal entries or historical books.

“Every life has a story, and some are just amazing,” said Flory. “People did what they had to do to survive. I try to capture that human experience.”

“Hudson Bay Comfort” Oil painter Brent Flory will be the featured artist at the 27th Annual Carefree Art & Wine Festival.

Each of Flory’s pieces are given a well-thought-out title to help people think about the paintings in a different way.

“Most artists hope that people will appreciate the beauty of their work,” Flory said. “I hope that my work makes people think, and that it makes them appreciate what we often take for granted.”

A graduate of Parker High School, Flory earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in illustration from Brigham Young University. He began his full-time career in art more than 35 years ago.

For 12 of those 35 years, Flory also managed a quarter horse ranch in Wallsburg, Utah, where he still lives with his wife and their 10 horses.

His passion for painting grows stronger with each piece he works on.

“There’s always another idea to work on,” said Flory. “My ideas come faster than I can paint, so my biggest challenge is to finish a painting before I let myself start another.”

Flory is also part of a team of artists currently working on commissioned murals for the Mesa Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Admission to the Carefree Fine Art & Wine Festival is $3 for adults and free for all Carefree residents and children 17 years and younger. Parking is free all weekend. For more information, call (480) 837-5637 or visit