Longtime arts advocate Robin Ray is the May 13 “Amazing Artist”

Longtime Sonoran Arts League member Robin Ray is best known as an arts advocate, educator, and talented mixed media and ceramic artist. But there’s a fascinating story behind her success. Ray started her career as a painter and later wove tapestries, worked with Papier Mache, painted large murals, and she worked with a stone sculptor. She also traveled overseas, which influenced her work. She even spent a year living as a “starving artist” – a time in her life that was not easy, but she recognizes how it contributed to her personal growth.

A Cave Creek resident, Ray will share her evolution as an artist during the “Amazing Artists” series on Monday, May 13 at The Holland Center, 34250 N. 60th Street, Bldg. B, in Scottsdale. The event, which is co-presented by the Sonoran Arts League, takes place from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. This will be the last presentation of the season until a new series begins in October.

“The art that I’m doing now is a combination of all of my past experiences,” Ray said. “I’ll share my personal progression through different stages of my life and how that affected my art and brought me to the joy I have now.”

A native of Fargo, North Dakota, Ray grew up in an artistic family that encouraged her to explore her creativity. She holds a fine arts education degree from Montana State University and a teaching degree from Arizona State University. She considers herself a painter with a masters in ceramics.

“Art is a mode of communication. My ceramic work explores functional and non-functional forms, usually with an animal theme that incorporates a painted surface,” she said of her colorful, whimsical raku-fired ceramic sculptures. “I’m interested in universal images, shapes, languages and motifs of nature, like the sun and the moon.”

Although she retired from teaching visual art for 25 years at Cactus Shadows High School, Ray will never stop advocating for arts education.
“Art is teachable…you don’t have to be born an artist. Many people doubt their ability, but it’s really about methods, like learning math with simple steps. Then you can begin to explore your creativity. Art is also calming and healing, and I feel very fortunate that I had the chance to teach art, especially to young children and teenagers,” she said.

Reservations are $10, and all proceeds from admission will benefit the Sonoran Arts League and Holland Community Center art programs. In addition, some artists will showcase their work during the presentations, and 30% of any art sales will benefit the Sonoran Arts League.
For more details, visit www.hollandcenter.org or call 480-488-1090.

The Sonoran Arts League is dedicated to promoting art, artists and art education. To learn more, visit www.sonoranartsleague.org or call 480-575-6624.

Sonoran Arts League seeks art supplies for June fundraiser

Sonoran Arts League is seeking new and gently-used art supplies for its bi-annual “Great Art Supply Sale.” The event takes place Friday and Saturday, June 7 & 8 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the League’s Learning Studio in Stagecoach Village, 100 E. Cave Creek Rd., Suite 144, in Cave Creek.

Mixed media artist, Joanie Wolter, an active League member, volunteer and teacher, is coordinating the event.

“We have a wonderful, talented arts community here in the Desert Foothills, and I’m sure many artists have extra art supplies or equipment that they are no longer using. We encourage seasoned and beginner artists alike to do some spring cleaning and donate any supplies that they no longer need,” Wolter said.

Examples of new and gently used art supplies that could be donated include paints (oil, acrylic, watercolor), pastels, brushes, easels, palettes, watercolor paper, sketch pads, jewelry supplies and displays, tools and equipment for jewelry making, lamp work and other art-related items. All proceeds will benefit the Sonoran Arts League.

Donations are being accepted from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 1 and on Monday, June 3 at the League’s Learning Studio. For more details, call 480-488-2307 or visit www.sonoranartsleague.org