Images Arizona November 2020

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ECRWSS Local Postal Customer



DC Ranch

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Hidden In The Hills Artist Studio Tour



Artwork (left to right, row by row): Marless Fellows, Ryan Schmidt, Elizabeth Butler Matthew Werner, Nancy Pendleton, Toni Perrin Jacki Cohen, Jason Napier, Chris Heede’s studio Manon Doyle, Sandy Tracey


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Visit 35 studios featuring over 135 artists at this one-of-a-kind event. Find unique gifts for the holidays!


480.575.6624 •

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JOHN BELL Writer Shannon Severson Photography Courtesy of Tobias Nolan




COMMUNITY EVENTS Writer Joseph J. Airdo


LOCAL FACES Writer Joseph J. Airdo


JASON NAPIER Writer Sue Kern-Fleischer Photography Courtesy of Mark Gardner




SONORAN SQUIRRELS Writer Joseph J. Airdo Photography by Peggy Coleman


COSMIC BROWNIES Writer and Photographer Kyndra Kelly

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PUBLISHER Shelly Spence



CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Joseph J. Airdo Sue Kern-Fleischer Kyndra Kelly Shannon Severson

PHOTOGRAPHERS Bryan Black Brandon Dunham Kyndra Kelly Loralei Lazurek Carl Schultz

ADVERTISING SALES Cooper Langston 480-544-8721

Images Arizona P.O. Box 1416 Carefree, AZ. 85377 623-341-8221 Submission of news for community section should be in to by the 5th of the month prior to publication. Images Arizona is published by ImagesAZ Inc. Copyright © 2020 by ImagesAZ, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction, in whole or part, without permission is prohibited. The publisher is not responsible for the return of unsolicited material.

Local First A R I Z O NA 8

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It is finally that time of the year again when gratitude is at its absolute highest. Autumn wraps around us like a cozy blanket, fueled by various signs of the season that invite happiness and joy into our lives. Simply step outside and bear witness to the stunningly gorgeous yellow, orange, red, purple and brown foliage. Keep a keen ear out for the crunch of those fallen leaves during a morning stroll or the crackle of the bonfire during the evening hours. The scents of cinnamon, cider and sage fill our kitchens and our tastebuds are tantalized by tart cranberry sauce, candied sweet potatoes and pumpkin spice lattes. One of the other sensational signs of the season is the return of the Hidden in the Hills Artist Studio Tour. Now in its 24th year, Arizona’s largest and longest-running artist studio tour takes place during the last two weekends of this month and features 140 exceptionally talented artists — including skilled sculptor and brilliant alchemist Jason Napier, whose whimsical bronze jackrabbit, “Weedeater,” graces the cover of this year’s four-color artist directory. A chronicle of Napier’s fervent life and expressive work can be found in the pages of this month’s issue of Images Arizona, along with a number of other inspirational and uplifting stories about our community’s extraordinary individuals and organizations. We also continue to introduce you to the many bright business owners who not only make our publication possible but also define our community. I am eternally grateful to all of the people who make our community so colorful, vibrant and cohesive — especially this time of the year. The sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the autumn season remind me to be thankful to live among such unsurpassable splendor. They also remind me to be thankful to you, our remarkable readers. I hope that that this month’s issue invites just a little more happiness and joy into your life for which you, too, can be thankful. Cheers! Shelly Spence Publisher, Images Arizona magazine 623-341-8221

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– AARON HENRY JEWELRY– The hallmarks to Aaron Henry jewelry are design integrity, gemstone quality, fine craftsmanship and attention to detail. Each brilliant piece is hand-crafted bringing classical Old World quality to modern design.


November 6 - 7

Call for private appointment or come by to meet the designer of Aaron Henry Jewelry.

Grace Renee Gallery 7212 E. Ho Hum Rd. # 7 | Carefree, AZ 85377 Open Daily 10 a.m.–5 p.m. and Open Late Thur.–Sat.until 7 p.m. 480.575.8080


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Aaron Henry Designs 18-karat gold with diamonds and fine gemstones. N ovember 2020

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Artist John Bell’s latest chapter will bring him to Grace Renee Gallery in Carefree for a showing of his paintings that are representations of natural forms with colorful style and midcentury modern influence.


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Writer Shannon Severson Photography Courtesy of Tobias Nolan

What began with a passion for drawing hot rods as a kid in northern New Jersey eventually led artist John Bell to gigs in some of the most iconic movies of the late 20th and early 21st centuries and jobs at the forefront of video game design.


In Malcolm Gladwell’s landmark book, “Outliers,” the author describes the paths of people who rose to incredible career heights through a combination of dedication to their sphere of expertise and being in the right place at the right time. “Success is not a random act,” Gladwell writes. “It arises out of a predictable and powerful set of circumstances and opportunities.” The career trajectory of artist John Bell fits Gladwell’s theory perfectly. What began with a passion for drawing hot rods as a kid in northern New Jersey eventually led to gigs in some of the most iconic movies of the late 20th and early 21st centuries — earning him an Academy Award nomination and a British Academy of Film and Television Arts award — and jobs at the forefront of video game design. With a wealth of artistic ability, creativity and willingness to venture into new frontiers, Bell’s latest chapter will bring him to Grace Renee Gallery in Carefree for a showing of his paintings that are representations of natural forms with colorful style and midcentury modern influence.


Although Bell lives in Bend, Oregon, his latest artistic endeavor was inspired by an Arizona artist. “I read Ed Mell’s book [‘Beyond the Visible Terrain: The Art of Ed Mell’],” Bell says. “I got inspired to paint by first doing plant drawings. I really love the forms in succulents and cactuses. The lines were architectural and almost automotive. I was doodling line drawings and over three to four years they evolved. The forms just began taking on a life of their own. I decided to try painting them in the spring of 2019.”

Bell took his collection of 2-inch doodles on notebook paper and began enlarging them and experimenting with oil paint — a new medium for him. “I started small — just 10-by-10 inches — and decided I will paint small until I feel more confident,” Bell explains. “Now I have works as large as 20-by-20 inches and will grow from there.” This art was primarily for his own enjoyment and exploration, but Bell has always made a habit of reaching out to those whose work he admires. In this case, he wrote to Mell and was surprised when a call from the legendary Arizona artist turned into a long conversation about all of the things that the two men had in common. When Mell extended an offer for Bell to be part of a show at Ed Mell Gallery in November 2019, the artist could hardly believe it. “For him to invite me to be part of that show just floored me,” Bell says. “It was amazing. I brought two to be hung and two additional paintings. I sold all four the first day. When I returned home, it just started pinging. I was so encouraged that people were responding to my art.”


The public appeal of Bell’s talents stretches all the way back to those New Jersey days of his youth when he and his two brothers would beg their dad, a Columbia Records marketing executive, to drive them to the nearest drag racing strip — 45 minutes away. “We fell in love with the cars, the colors and the noise,” Bell says. “I started drawing these cars all the time.”

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Bell began corresponding with Kenny Youngblood, whose artwork was in all of the hot rod magazines at the time. He’d ask questions about design details and techniques and Youngblood would handwrite 5- to 6-page letters back with tips and advice. Soon, Bell and his photography-loving brother were traveling to tracks every weekend to sell his drawings and his brother’s photos — often to the drivers themselves. Bell’s father, Bill, who became a well-known artist himself after retirement from Columbia, had a chance encounter on a business trip to Los Angeles in 1975 that would change his son’s life forever. Bill loved to strike up conversations with just about anyone and was soon telling a fellow bar patron of his young son’s talent for drawing cars. The man suggested that Bill encourage his son to apply for the Transportation Design program at Pasadena’s renowned Art Center College. Bell did just that and was accepted, not quite realizing what a rarefied opportunity he had secured.


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“On the first day, all the students sat in a big room and we were asked to raise our hands if we were from the U.S., Asia, Europe, Latin America, etc.,” Bell says. “I watched all the hands go up and I’m just some kid from New Jersey while people have come from all over the world to study here.”


After graduation and a couple of years at the General Motors Advanced Concept Studio in Detroit, a conversation with a fellow Art Center College graduate led him back to the West Coast for a job in advanced concepts at Atari in San Jose, California. That move — and more of Bell’s smart letter-writing, which included work samples — eventually led him to jobs at George Lucas’ Industrial Light and Magic in San Rafael, where he worked on storyboards for “Star Trek IV.” “The Industrial Light and Magic art department at the time was me and three other guys,” he says. “We were concept artists and there were maybe 15–20 people doing the job for the whole industry. The effects were brand new. I got lucky and got into it and stayed for 15 years.”

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Although John Bell lives in Bend, Oregon, his latest artistic endeavor was inspired by Arizona artist Ed Mell.

Artist John Bell’s work on a number of major motion pictures has earned him an Academy Award nomination and a British Academy of Film and Television Arts award for visual effects. Artist John Bell’s work on a number of major motion pictures has earned him an Academy Award nomination and a British Academy of Film and Television Arts award for visual effects.


The Art of John Bell


Grace | e7212 im a g e s a rRenee i z o n a . cGallery o m Nov m b e rE.2Ho 02 0Hum

Road #7 | Carefree | 480-575-8080 |

It takes years from concept design to finished film. It’s an art that takes patience, creativity, flexibility and teamwork.

The colors I use in my paintings have adapted to the colors I’m living around — the Ponderosa pine and sagebrush. It’s a different thing and it will be exciting to see where it goes. John Bell

One of the highlights of his time at Industrial Light and Magic was working on Robert Zemeckis’ “Back to the Future II” and “Back to the Future III,” on which Bell had quite a bit of freedom to design his futuristic vision that became cultural icons — the hoverboards, street architecture of the fictional town of Hill Valley. “The production designer, Rick Carter, and I hit it off,” Bell says. “My trip to Los Angeles for a couple of weeks’ work turned into several months. Rick told me to give them my take on whatever I found interesting or wanted to focus on, then they would come back to me with specifics for items and elements of the concepts. The chemistry in the studio was just great. We got along famously.” That work earned him an Academy Award nomination and a British Academy of Film and Television Arts award for visual effects. It cemented his role in film history. “To this day, I get letters and emails asking, ‘Do you have any ‘Back to the Future’ artwork you can sell?’” Bell says. “There are fan clubs across the globe. If only I had a little forward vision, I would have gone into the dumpster to grab some of the hoverboards they threw away from the set.” Bell went on to work on the first line of visuals for “The Rocketeer.” He worked on “Jurassic Park” with Carter and Stephen Spielberg, then on “Contact” and “Willow” with George Lucas. He had gigs with Dreamworks for “Antz” and “The Penguins of Madagascar,” did freelance work on “Cars” and Cars 2,” had a stint designing shoes for Nike and

was behind the visual artistry of “Rango” and “Pirates of the Caribbean IV.” His storyboards were even the source of the most dramatic scenes in the Academy Award-winning film “The Revenant.” It’s almost as if Bell has lived a charmed existence, never missing out on being in exactly the right place for the right opportunity — or so it seems. Bell recalls the time he passed up a job working for Pixar on a new type of animation for a movie called “Toy Story.” “I went to visit and was shown around Pixar,” Bell says. “It was all brand new computer graphics and I wasn’t so sure about it. I said, ‘I don’t think I’m interested.’ I shot three toes off my foot with that one mistake. I wish I’d had some forethought.”


After several lifetimes’ worth of great movie industry work experiences, Bell was ready for a more low-key lifestyle. His home in Bend, Oregon provides that. He’s working as a senior concept artist for Sony on a top-secret AAA video game while enjoying the slower pace of life and finding new inspirations for his paintings. He’s also been thinking about partnering with a woodworker to create wall reliefs of his works. “Since we moved up here, the color palette has changed,” Bell says. “The colors I use in my paintings have adapted to the colors I’m living around — the Ponderosa pine and sagebrush. It’s a different thing and it will be exciting to see where it goes.” If the past is any indication of the future, Bell will continue to bring his vibrant ideas to life, rendering the familiar on canvas in colorful new ways.

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All the FOPE collections share an incredible attention to detail and high quality, while the original designs represent an ever-evolving interpretation of Italian style. The Flex’it collections in particular have become a trademark of this brand, with flexible bracelets entirely made of gold thanks to dozens of tiny gold springs.


November 20 & 21

Call for private appointment or come by to see this beautiful Italian jewelry.

Grace Renee Gallery 7212 E. Ho Hum Rd. # 7 | Carefree, AZ 85377 Open Daily 10 a.m.–5 p.m. and Open Late Thur.–Sat.until 7 p.m. 480.575.8080


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Flex’it Bracelet with Diamonds 18 karat gold and diamond N ovember 2020

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Writer Joseph J. Airdo

Nov. 6 and 7

AARON HENRY JEWELRY Grace Renee Gallery will welcome the designer of Aaron Henry Jewelry during an event that showcases the brand's brilliant pieces — each of which is hand-crafted, bringing classical Old World quality to modern design. The hallmarks of Aaron Henry Jewelry's lines are design integrity, gemstone quality, fine craftsmanship and attention to detail. Call for a private appointment or come by to meet the designer. Free. 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Grace Renee Gallery, 7212 E. Ho Hum Road, Suite 7, Carefree. 480-575-8080;

Keep in mind Although Images Arizona magazine has made every effort to publish

Sept. 19–Dec. 5

Oct. 3–Jan. 17

Cision Gallery is hosting a series of

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary

art classes taught by professional

Art shines a light on aspects of the Iranian

artists for youth. Made possible

experience normally hidden from the

through the support of the Chandler

outside world by focusing on public



Cultural Foundation, Vision Kids

and private spaces. Comprised of 40

the most up-to-date information

classes are streamed online via Zoom

photographs and four video installations,

at press time, some events may be

each Saturday and provide children

the exhibition features the work of 10

canceled or rescheduled to comply

with the opportunity to create art

essential voices in contemporary Iranian

that represents their own creativity.

art who explore the notion of urban

with social distancing measures and

Participants develop important

space as a nexus of social communication

other factors associated with the

avenues for self-expression and

and political transformation — a place

COVID-19 pandemic. Please use

an understanding of the creative

where personal and collective identity

the contact information provided

process as they learn techniques in a

converge. $10; youth, student and senior

variety of media — including pencil,

discounts available. Wednesday–Sunday

watercolor, ceramics, photography

11 a.m.–5 p.m. Scottsdale Museum of

and more. Free. 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Contemporary Art, 7374 E. Second St.,

Scottsdale. 480-874-4666;

to confirm dated details.


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Oct. 3–Jan. 31

BEYOND EXHIBITION Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art presents mother and

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daughter artists Barbara Stauffacher Solomon and Nellie King Solomon in their first joint exhibition. Both artists were trained as architects but were never licensed, which might explain the way they establish rules, grids or frameworks only to challenge their very existence. At the heart of the pair’s artistic practice lies the confident ability to think and explore beyond the norm — or beyond the frame. $10; youth, student and senior discounts available. Wednesday–Sunday 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, 7374 E. Second St., Scottsdale. 480-874-4666;

Oct. 5–Dec. 31

ARTISTS’ BREAKFAST CLUB EXHIBITION In celebration of its 20th anniversary, the Valley-based Artists’ Breakfast Club will be featured in a new exhibition by Scottsdale Public Art. The group will celebrate a spirit of community and support among a collection of professional Arizona artists who meet regularly to exchange ideas, learn about the art world and become friends. Participating Artists’ Breakfast Club members created artworks in a variety of mediums — including painting, photography, glass, ceramics, encaustic, metal, mixed media and printmaking. In addition to the physical exhibition, all artworks will be included in a virtual exhibition. Free. See website for hours. Civic Center Public Gallery, 3839 N. Drinkwater Blvd., Scottsdale.

Nov. 5


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Stroll, shop, dine and enjoy an evening celebrating the arts in downtown Carefree while helping to support local businesses and local creativity — which makes our Arizona culture a better place to live, work and visit. Begin at any gallery, then continue on to

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other participating galleries. Enjoy a diverse display of artistic styles and mediums, meet the artists, enjoy refreshments and engage in conversation about art and architecture. Free. 4–8 p.m. See website for participating galleries.

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Nov. 6–10

SCOTTSDALE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL The Scottsdale International Film Festival will pivot to a virtual format for its 20th annual event, giving moviegoers the opportunity to travel the world and enjoy cinema from the comfort and safety of their own homes. Using innovative technologies, the virtual festival will allow participants to easily build a customized schedule. With a selection of comedies, dramas, documentaries, thrillers and more, audiences are certain to find their niche watching one, several or all of the films in the festival schedule.

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Nov. 6–15

CANAL CONVERGENCE Scottsdale Public Art will expand this year’s Canal Convergence — an event that showcases enchanting, light-based artworks from around the world — beyond the Arizona Canal at the Scottsdale Waterfront to include locations throughout Old Town Scottsdale. Additionally, Scottsdale Arts Learning and Innovation will use augmented reality technology to enhance the experience with a smartphone app, allowing activities like entertainment, workshops, artist talks and public art tours to still be part of this year’s event albeit in a safe, socially distanced way. Free. See website for installation information and locations.

Nov. 6–22

schools, nonprofit organizations and

genre lines from gospel to soul to rock

charities hit hard by the COVID-19

'n' roll. $60. 7 p.m. Scottsdale Civic

pandemic. The event will begin with

Center Amphitheater Stage, 7380 E.

Arizona Polo Club taking on the

Second St., Scottsdale. 480-499-8587;

Fountain Hills Theater will present

Brooklands Polo Team. EPR Polo will

its production of “Say Goodnight,

then introduce the Celebrity Cruises

Gracie” — a hilarious and heart-

Match Up, supporting Arizona Equine

warming show about comedian

Rescue and Southwest Wildlife. In

George Burns who, in limbo, is

the final match, Morehouse College


unable to join his beloved

Polo Club will take on the Women’s

Fountain Hills Theater will present its

wife Gracie until he gives the

All-Stars in a “Battle of the Sexes.”

production of “Four on the Flour,” the

performance of his life for God.

$20+. 10:45 a.m.–6 p.m. WestWorld

story of four auto mechanics in 1969

See website for prices and times.

of Scottsdale’s Polo Field, 16601 N.

who want to become a rock ‘n’ roll

Fountain Hills Theater, 11445 N.

Pima Road, Scottsdale. 480-423-

band. The high-energy tribute musical,

Saguaro Blvd., Fountain Hills. 480-


which features some of the best rock



Nov. 7


Nov. 8–22

‘n’ roll car songs of all time, will be the

Nov. 8


first indoor production at Fountain Hills Theater since the COVID-19 pandemic closed its doors in March. If indoor seating is still difficult or

Grammy Award-winning musician

prohibited, the show will move to the

The Bentley Scottsdale Polo

Mavis Staples will perform an

outdoor stage as part of the theater’s

Championships will produce a polo

outdoor concert under the stars.

drive-in programming. See website for

event with a new focus on social

Staples is an alchemist of American

prices and times. Fountain Hills Theater,

distancing and a key focus to help

music, having continuously crossed

11445 N. Saguaro Blvd., Fountain Hills. 480-837-9661;


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Nov. 10–12

THE MUSIC MAN Scottsdale Musical Theater Company will present its production of “The Music Man,” one of Broadway’s most beloved musicals that is as American as apple pie. $42+; student and senior discounts available. See website for times. Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 Second St., Scottsdale. 480-499-8587;

Nov. 12–14

HOORAY FOR HOLLYWOOD CONCERT Arizona Broadway Theatre will pay homage to the most beloved melodies of Hollywood in a concert that features the extraordinary vocal talent of its esteemed stars of the past, present and future. $99.98+. See website for times. Arizona Broadway Theatre, 7701 W. Paradise Lane, Peoria. 623-776-8400;

Nov. 12–15

JUNIE B. JONES: THE MUSICAL, JR. Musical Theatre of Anthem will present its production of “Junie B. Jones: The Musical, Jr.,” the story of a young girl’s first day of first grade. $13+. See website for times. Musical Theatre of Anthem, 42201 N. 41st Drive, Anthem. 623-3366001;

Nov. 12–21

THE SOUND OF MUSIC Desert Foothills Theater will present its production of “The Sound of Music,” a play based on the true story of the Von Trapp Family Singers that captures a personal tale of growth and hope amidst the horrors of World War II. Adults $40; children $25. See website for times. Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion, 101 Easy St., Carefree. 480-488-1981;

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Nov. 20–29

HIDDEN IN THE HILLS Arizona’s largest and longest-running artist studio tour will take place during the last two weekends of November. The Sonoran Arts League’s self-guided tour this year will feature 140 artists at 35 private studios throughout the scenic Desert Foothills communities of Cave Creek, Carefree and North Scottsdale. Scottsdale bronze artist Jason Napier’s whimsical jackrabbit “Weedeater” will grace the cover of this year’s popular four-color artist directory. 480-575-6624;

Nov. 13


The shopping extravaganza will

exhilarating performance. Thought-

showcase jewelry, photography, a

provoking, rousing movement

pet boutique, fused glass, purses,

will be created as dancers explore

quilts, rock art sculptures, gourd

an outdoor urban setting to live,

art, holiday ornaments and wreaths,

passionately performed music by

Musicians Sandra Bassett, Steven

children and doll apparel, imported

Drew Bollmann. Audiences can enjoy

Powell, Beth Lederman, Jon Murray

olive oils, woodworking and cutting

viewing the innovative 30-minute

and Alonzo Powell will perform

boards, beaded wrapped silverware,

performance safely from their car.

a heartfelt tribute to the music of

watercolor paintings, metal yard art,

$39. 7 p.m. Scottsdale Civic Center

one of the world’s most beloved

Native American crafts and more.

Parking Garage, 3839 N. Drinkwater

songwriters and performers.

The event will also feature sweets

Blvd., Scottsdale. 480-499-8587;

The group will put its own spin

and treats, a mini book-nook and

on some of the incredible music

coffee from the Joyful Grounds Café.

that has captivated audiences for

Free. 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Our Lady of

decades. $24+. 8 p.m. Virginia

Joy Catholic Parish, 36811 N. Pima

G. Piper Theater, 7380 E. Second

Road, Carefree.

St., Scottsdale. 480-499-8587;

Nov. 13 and 14



Nov. 13 and 14


Nov. 14

JAKE SHIMABUKURO CONCERT Known for his fast and complex finger work, ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro will perform music that combines elements of jazz, blues,

Contemporary dancers from

funk, rock, bluegrass, classical, folk

Movement Source Dance Company

and flamenco. $35+. 7 p.m. Virginia

Our Lady’s Guild will host its

will explore structure, connection,

G. Piper Theater, 7380 E. Second

13th annual Christmas Bazaar.

freedom and celebration through

St., Scottsdale. 480-499-8587;

expressive movement in an

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Nov. 14

MOVING DAY VIRTUAL WALK Parkinson’s Foundation will host a virtual fundraiser to support the nearly 1 million Americans who live with Parkinson’s Disease. The event will also help educate, inform and raise spirits of those individuals whose lives have been touched by the disease. Donate or register your team online to walk in your own community. The virtual fundraiser will also be posted on YouTube for viewing after the event. 10:30 a.m.


“Parents write on the hearts of their children that which the rough hands of the world cannot rub out.”

Nov. 14

GOLDEN REEF STAMP MILL DEMONSTRATION Arizona’s only fully operational tenstamp ore crushing mill will run an outdoor demonstration at Cave Creek Museum. Watch history come alive as the ten 1,000-pound stamps slam down in synchronized precision and hear the pounding echo against the desert foothills — just as it did more than 140 years ago. Also on exhibit outdoors on the museum campus are various pieces of equipment from the early mining days of Arizona and many agricultural tools used at local farms and ranches. 1 p.m. Cave Creek Museum, 6140 E. Skyline Drive, Cave Creek. 480488-2764;

Nov. 15

WITH A SONG IN MY HEART CONCERT Professional entertainer Jan Sandwich will pay tribute to late actress, singer and animal welfare activist Doris Day. $24+. 7:30 p.m. Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 E. Second St., Scottsdale. 480-499-8587;


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Dec. 3–5

ANNE SYLVAIN HANDBAGS Fashion designer Patricia Raskin will debut her oneof-a-kind, investment-worthy handbags –– pieces of art to carry every day and for special occasions — at Grace Renee Gallery in Carefree. Along with durability, the naturally occurring beauty of each type of leather pattern is different from bag to bag while the sources that Raskin uses are models of sustainability. Each one is lined with high-quality leather, often in a fun, contrasting color. 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Grace Renee Gallery, 7212 E. Ho Hum Road #7, Carefree. 480-575-8080;

Nov. 20–22

Dec. 1

Spotlight Youth Theatre will present

Acclaimed pianist Jeffrey Siegel

its production of “Emmett’s Art

will celebrate the 250th birthday

Project,” the story of a biracial teen

of Ludwig van Beethoven with

living through the Black Lives Matter

the beloved “Moonlight Sonata”

movement. See website for prices.

and Sonata op. 110, written after

Friday and Saturday 7 p.m.; Sunday

deafness engulfed the legendary

2 p.m. Spotlight Youth Theatre,

composer. $25+. 7:30 p.m. Virginia

10620 N. 43rd Ave., Glendale. 602-

G. Piper Theater, 7380 E. Second


St., Scottsdale. 480-499-8587;



Nov. 29



Dec. 2

CAIT HUBLE TO LEAD SONORAN ARTS LEAGUE Sonoran Arts League has named Cait Huble as its new executive director. Huble — an Army spouse, distance runner and travel enthusiast who lives in Phoenix with her husband and two dogs — spent the last decade working with nonprofit arts organizations across the country, primarily focusing on strategic planning, programming and development. She holds a bachelor’s degree in management from Arizona State University and a Master of

Pianist Charles Lewis and vocalist


Alice Tatum will reunite with their

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy will put

old bandmates for a concert of old

a swing in the holiday season

and new favorites. $25+. 2 p.m.

with a concert of festive-themed

Virginia G. Piper Theater, 7380 E.

favorites. $25+. 7:30 p.m. Virginia

Second St., Scottsdale. 480-499-

G. Piper Theater, 7380 E. Second



St., Scottsdale. 480-499-8587;

Led by newly elected president

Kimberly Marie Jack, Kiwanis Club

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Business Administration degree from Concordia University - Irvine. 480575-6624;

of Carefree aspires to set a new record of support for the community this year. The nonprofit organization is committed to creating awareness and recognition of its projects directed toward supporting the area’s children. It has posted banners throughout Carefree and Cave Creek calling attention to Kiwanis activities. In addition to its pancake breakfasts, Kiwanis Club or Carefree has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the community through scholarships, ChromeBook computers and financial support for charities and projects.

CARING CORPS RESTARTS ESSENTIAL SERVICES Foothills Caring Corps has expanded the qualifying trips for its medical transport program. In addition to trips for dialysis and cancer treatment, the program will now provide trips for cardiac and crucial eye appointments. Meanwhile, the nonprofit organization has also reintroduced its van transportation program for select trips for crafting and education as well as its handyman program. 480-488-1105;

LEADERSHIP ACADEMY TO ENRICH COMMUNITY The Carefree Cave Creek Chamber of Commerce and The Holland Center have formed a partnership through which they will create the Desert Foothills Leadership Academy. The partnership’s mission is to educate, energize and engage emerging leaders with a goal of enriching community life while responsibly sustaining our natural resources for generations to come. The academy will take place over an 8-month period beginning in January and include both on-site and classroom training in healthcare, tourism, technology, sustainability, innovation, education, land usage/growth, social services, arts, local issues, transportation, Maricopa Association of Governments, leadership training/styles and public safety. N ovember 2020

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IMAGES ARIZONA 7212 E. Ho Hum Rd. #7 | Carefree | 623-341-8221 | Images Arizona publisher Shelly Spence’s son Cooper Langston has been around the magazine ever since he was just a child. In fact, he and Images Arizona are almost the same age. A senior at Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business studying finance, Langston loves to hike, travel and spend time with his friends and family. He is also an avid golfer, having played for a year in college. “I have seen Images Arizona — as well as the incredible local business owners who advertise throughout the magazine’s pages each month — go through many economic cycles,” Langston says. “As with all things in life, there have been ups and downs; but this community has always had a very special way of coming together to get through the bad times and flourish during the good times.” As Images Arizona’s advertising sales manager, Langston makes himself available for everyone’s needs as he aspires to help them in any and every way that he possibly can. Langston is especially proud of the many remarkable relationships that he has developed over the years with local business owners and employees, dating back to before he was even employed at the magazine. “This is really just about developing relationships and doing the right thing by the local businesses to which we cater,” Langston says. “Without them thriving, we would not be here. Therefore, my mission aligns with the one to which Images Arizona has adhered over the past 21 years — ensuring that our clients get the most out of their marketing with us.”

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RAVEN GASTROPUB 8900 E. Pinnacle Peak Road | Scottsdale | 480-219-9334 | Cave Creek residents Brian Vogel and Adele Donovan — originally from Wisconsin and New York, respectively — met in Chicago, where together they accumulated more than 50 years of restaurant experience. They moved to the Phoenix area in 2014 when Brian became the senior general manager of IPIC Theaters in Scottsdale. Four years later, Vogel received the opportunity to fulfill his lifelong dream of owning his own restaurant. Raven Gastropub — which opened in July 2018 in La Mirada Shopping Center at the corner of Pinnacle Peak and Pima roads in North Scottsdale — takes pride in having something for everyone. Serving elevated pub fare with an emphasis on fresh ingredients, the restaurant boasts a scratch kitchen with the few things not make in-house being sourced from local businesses, including The City Creamery, The Roastery of Cave Creek and Capistrano’s Bakery. Raven Gastropub’s “dark elegance” design includes artwork by family, friends and raving fans and a warm and friendly atmosphere that feels like a home away from home. Vogel and Donovan appreciate their staff and guests for their love and support — especially during these past few months — and look forward to serving the North Scottsdale community for many more years to come.


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HAPPY FEET NAILS AND SPA 31313 N. Scottsdale Road | Suite A145 | Scottsdale | 480-595-5894 | From its love of catering exceptional beauty and nail care services to clients at its first location in the East Valley, Happy Feet Nails and Spa found a perfect location in North Scottsdale into which it could completely pour its heart and soul. Since June 2015, Scottsdale North Marketplace has provided Happy Feet Nails and Spa’s clients an upscale, chic and classic-but-trendy environment. Happy Feet Nails and Spa offers professional nail care, waxing, facials, eyelash extensions and permanent makeup with full beauty services. It is fully staffed with qualified and licensed technicians who are passionate, experienced and eager to give clients the best services. Happy Feet Nails and Spa’s bright, welcoming and clean facility renders a relaxing, revitalizing and refreshing ambiance. All equipment and tools are sanitized in compliance with Arizona State Board of Cosmetology regulations. With the latest technology, products and techniques, Happy Feet Nails and Spa strives to give its clients the best experience. Honored to be a part of the North Scottsdale community, Happy Feet Nails and Spa’s wonderful team of technicians is happy when its clients are happy with their nails and feet.

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THE DEMI CUP 20789 N. Pima Road | Suite K145 | Scottsdale | 480-306-4015 | If you feel as though your bra does not fit quite right, you are not alone. About 80% of women share the problem. The Demi Cup’s expert bra fitter Linda Shaw can help you find the right size, brand and style to get you looking — and feeling — great again. Finding the right bra is about much more than just finding the right size. Certain brands — and even certain styles within a brand — make a big difference. At The Demi Cup, you get a hand-picked solution from a wide variety of the latest brands and styles by top European designers. And you will leave with a super fit, quality bra that is just perfect for you. The Demi Cup is conveniently local to Scottsdale residents but customers visiting the city from all over the United States, Canada and beyond make it a point to stop at the bra boutique. Many customers will only buy their bras and accessories at The Demi Cup because they know that in doing so, they are receiving the best fit and quality. The Demi Cup even features comfortable, private fitting rooms — just like home. Shaw invites customers to visit the bra boutique for a free fitting.


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FIORRA CBD FIORRA CBD 37555 N. Hum Road | Suite 204 | Carefree | 480-702-1301 | Led by Scottsdale residents Mark Rasmusson and David Wagner, Fiorra CBD’s team devotes its passion, energy and talent to become an innovative leader in the CBD industry while enriching the lives they touch. Boasting more than 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur, Rasmusson is a strategist, consultant, designer, marketer and natural-born idea creator who loves CBD. His research has encouraged him to help our communities with real and effective CBD that focuses on the medical benefits with a people-first approach. “I make pain or anxiety relief into a real possibility and turn that into a lifestyle of happiness,” Rasmusson says. “I am crazy about how to help others feel less pain, stress or anxiety. Together, we’ll make sure you continue to find relief — and most importantly, happiness.” Wagner — a serial entrepreneur and dreamer with more than 30 years of product and brand creation, process development, packaging design, fulfillment and sales — holds several patents and creative design awards throughout many industries. He loves the challenge of bringing advancements to products and processes that would be looked at by many as “impossible” or “dreams.” “CBD has been an incredible adventure and I have been passionate about ... the life-changing benefits this miraculous product derived from hemp has to offer,” Wagner says. “It is the greatest feeling of success to know that I was a part of helping make someone's life better.” N ovember 2020

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Jason Napier is a skilled sculptor and brilliant alchemist whose ability to create beautiful bronzes has captured the attention of collectors worldwide.

A self-taught artist, Napier studies his wildlife subjects to make sure the anatomy of each sculpture is correct. He enjoys the challenge of creating work in a variety of sizes. But like his rich, colorful patinas that he creates for each bronze, there’s much more to this masterful artist.



On the surface, Jason Napier appears to be like any other artist who is passionate about his work.

Underneath the surface of Napier’s modest, easygoing demeanor, there’s a skilled sculptor and brilliant alchemist whose ability to create beautiful bronzes has captured the attention of collectors worldwide. Lucky for art enthusiasts, Napier is one of 140 artists participating in Arizona’s largest and longestrunning artist studio tour, Hidden in the Hills, during the last two weekends of November. Coordinated by nonprofit organization Sonoran Arts League, this year’s 24th annual, free, self-guided tour takes place at 35 socially-distanced, private studios throughout the scenic Desert Foothills communities of Cave Creek, Carefree and North Scottsdale. Not only is this Napier’s first year participating in the popular studio art tour, his whimsical bronze jackrabbit, “Weedeater,” graces the cover of this year’s four-color artist directory.

Ascension - Cool Blue Patina by Jason Napier

“Jason’s contemporary wildlife sculptures are uniquely recognizable, collected and revered around the globe,” says Jane Boggs, a gourd artist and studio host who serves as the event’s co-chair. “We’re thrilled he is participating in Hidden in the Hills, especially since his art is so uplifting. You can’t help but smile when you see his work.”

Writer Sue Kern-Fleischer Photography Courtesy of Mark Gardner N ovember 2020

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Jason Napier is one of 140 artists participating in Arizona’s largest and longest-running artist studio tour, Hidden in the Hills, during the last two weekends of November.


Napier, a Scottsdale resident, grew up on the Oregon coast in a small town with several lumber mills. He credits his father — a millwright — with teaching him how to work with his hands. But art was not of interest to him until he got a job in a foundry, thanks in part to his wife, Danielle. “Danielle was my high school sweetheart,” Napier says. “There’s really no me without her. I was chasing her around. When she got a job at an art gallery, I took a job in the foundry below. We were just teenagers, and I started out by sweeping the floor and helping to pour bronze. Eventually, we came up with the idea of conducting tours of both the foundry and the art gallery. That opened a lot of doors for us.” Napier became fascinated with bronzes and worked every job in the foundry. He began sculpting wildlife, a subject he loved since he was a child. But his true aha moment came when he learned how to create patinas.


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Mixed Media


7162 E. Stevens Rd. Cave Creek


Lucy Dickens Fine Art - 602-653-7002

Schedule your private tour today! 602-653-7002 The elements in the environment—every flower, animal, cloud—they, without question, bend gently toward the light. So do I. It’s with this notion that I collaborate with my environment to bring these spectacular scenes in nature to canvas. They say ‘every picture tells a story’...I hope to evoke feelings of serenity and grace, to capture beauty, and bring hope. Located in Carefree, Dickens has a beautiful gallery and working studio open by appointment.

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“Many people don’t realize what goes into creating patinas for sculpture,” Napier says. “In fact, some people mistakenly think patinas are painted onto the surface. It’s actually a complex process involving chemicals and heat. As an artist, it’s my responsibility to know how the patina will affect color, depth and texture. It becomes even more complicated when I work on small sections of sculpture. I liken them to small canvases.” After the patina is applied, a sealer is applied to the sculpture and a slow oxidation process changes the color. Over the past three decades, Napier has experimented with different patinas, always thinking of how to marry design and color. “My patinas have evolved over the years, just like my work has,” he says. “When I have a vision for a piece, I grab my armature and my hands just know what to do. But I’m always thinking ahead about the patina.” Today, Napier is best known for his fanciful, largerthan-life and table-top sculptures of wildlife. In addition to winning prestigious art awards, he was the 2014 featured artist in the nation’s No. 1 ranked arts festival, La Quinta Arts Festival in California. Napier’s private and public installations feature everything from an astonishing bronze sculpture bench of two ring-necked pheasants set in Michigan’s Tapper Gardens to beautiful huskies outside a Watertown Hotel in the UW (University of Washington) District to a lifesize stallion on a prized cattle ranch in the Alberta Foothills of Canada.

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Jason Napier’s whimsical bronze jackrabbit, “Weedeater,” graces the cover of Hidden in the Hills’ four-color artist directory.

A self-taught artist, Jason Napier studies his wildlife subjects to make sure the anatomy of each sculpture is correct.


Like many of his sculptures, nature inspired Napier to create “Weedeater” — a whimsical bronze jackrabbit that graces the cover of this year’s Hidden in the Hills artist directory. “Danielle and I were hiking up Granite Mountain when we saw what we thought was a coyote,” Napier says. “But as we got closer, we realized that it was a big jackrabbit eating what looked like a dead desert daisy. He had such big ears and long legs that we couldn’t help but laugh. I immediately knew I had to sculpt him.” The artist will showcase medium- and large-sized limited editions of “Weedeater” during Hidden in the Hills. The sculpture was among more than 100 pieces of diverse fine art entries submitted for consideration of the studio tour’s cover art during an online juried selection process. The event’s co-chair and mixed media sculptor/studio host Joanie Wolter says Napier has a distinctive style that exudes motion and expresses the playful spirit of every subject. “We had many wonderful entries, but ‘Weedeater’ won our hearts for this year’s cover art,” Wolter says. Napier, who will exhibit and sell his work at Mark Lewanski’s Glass Studio 12 in Scottsdale, says it is an honor to have his work featured so prominently during the art tour. “Danielle and I were thrilled to learn that ‘Weedeater’ was chosen as this year’s cover art, especially since the Hidden in the Hills artist directory has become a collectible over the years,” Napier says.


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Jewelry Design


6711 E. Highland Rd. Cave Creek


"Full Bloom"


33444 N. 55th St. Cave Creek




Paper l Mixed Media

Ginger Jar: “The Purple Garden” Kimono: “The Emperor’s Palanquin”


33444 N. 55th St. Cave Creek

#20 N ovember 2020

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Ascension Fiery Red Patina by Jason Napier


Napier will also unveil several new pieces during the studio tour, including “Ascension” — a sculpture that depicts the Phoenix, a mythical bird with fiery plumage that lives up to 100 years. His inspiration for the piece came from a close client who is a retired veteran facing daily challenges of living with lifelong injuries and pain. “She shared an amazing story with me about how this mythical bird lives within her and motivates her to rise every morning and continues to renew her strength,” Napier explains. “Capturing the action of this Phoenix rising was crucial in telling this story of inspiration that is applicable to so many.” The patina color had to be dynamic on this symbolic bird and Napier found himself struggling to settle on just one palette. “I knew I had to showcase the bird of fire in striking colors of reds and yellows, but the vision of vibrant blues and greens had a hold on me,” Napier says. “Thus, two patinas were born that are completely different in feeling and I am excited to see how they engage patrons’ reactions.” The Hidden in the Hills Artist Studio Tour will be Napier’s first big art event since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year. “Many of our shows over the summer were canceled,” Napier explains. “So Danielle and I are really looking forward to meeting art tour guests and sharing our passion for beautiful bronzes and uplifting art.”

24th Annual Hidden in the Hills Artist Studio Tour 42


Nov. 20–22 and Nov. 27–29 | 10 a.m.–5 p.m. | Private studios throughout Cave Creek, Carefree and North Scottsdale Maps and artist directories available online and at Sonoran Arts League’s Center for the Arts im a g e s aE. r i zCave m Nov e m b eSuite r 2 02144, 0 7100 Creek Road, Cave Creek | Free Admission | 480-575-6624 |

Laughing Glass Studio

Functional and Sculptural Glass Art


4944 E. Sawmill Circle, Cave Creek Open by appointment year round!

#23 MANON DOYLE Jewelry Design


4944 E. Sawmill Circle Cave Creek




Mixed Media


6233 E. Almeda Court Cave Creek Also Represented by Wilde Meyer Galleries

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Patricia Raskin founded her handbag company, Anne Sylvain, to create one-of-a-kind, investment-worthy bags –– pieces of art to carry every day and for special occasions.

Until the 17th century, clothing did not have pockets. Men and women alike carried small bags or pouches — often attached to their waists — that were decorative and communicated the status of the wearer, much like jewelry. For women, handbags are also the story of independence and progress. Their use grew in frequency as women began to venture out into the world without personal escorts. Today, the handbag is an accessory that most women carry, many as a very personal style statement. The color, material, texture, stitching and fastening materials all contribute to the look and value. However, there does tend to be a sameness, even among the most well-known luxury brands. The challenge arises to find something stylish, durable and uncommonly beautiful. Seattle’s Patricia Raskin founded her handbag company, Anne Sylvain, to create one-of-a-kind, investment-worthy bags –– pieces of art to carry every day and for special occasions. She also makes belts, wallets and home accessories. Raskin’s pieces will make their Arizona debut next month at Grace Renee Gallery in Carefree.


While Raskin sold her first bag in 2012, the origin story of this refined brand began partly out of necessity. “As a successful professional, I had the income to spend on what I wanted, but I wasn’t finding what I was looking for in a beautiful handbag,” Raskin says. “There are so many attractive bags, but I was frustrated by the homogeneity and relatively poor quality of what was available — even at very high prices. “To invest in a beautiful handbag, I wanted something that’s truly unique; I didn’t want to walk into a room carrying the same bag as so many others. I was also tired of spending a lot of money on a bag, only to have it fall apart in a year. I love beautiful things and I’ve always been hugely focused on quality in the things that I buy and the things that I bring into my life — whether that’s art, fashion, furniture or relationships.” At first, it might seem unexpected for a successful intellectual property and business attorney to leave her law practice for a career in designer fashion. But Raskin says artistic pursuits come naturally to her. “I’ve been an artist since I was a kid,” Raskin explains. “Making art has always been a big part of my life. My grandmother, Anne Raskin — who is the ‘Anne’ part of my business name — was a prolific artist. She had a heavy influence on me and my art.” Anne Raskin was a painter and sculptor whose work was exhibited in galleries and museums across the United States. The other part of the name, Sylvain, is a nod to her grandfather, Silvan Galpern, a Manhattan lawyer


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Writer Shannon Severson Photography Courtesy of Jeff Beck

Patricia Raskin of Anne Sylvain N ovember 2020

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Patricia Raskin’s pieces will make their Arizona debut next month at Grace Renee Gallery in Carefree.


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I love beautiful things and I’ve always been hugely focused on quality in the things that I buy and the things that I bring into my life — whether that’s art, fashion, furniture or relationships. Patricia Raskin

and entrepreneur who instilled in her that concept of looking for — and now producing — work of utmost quality. “I remember, from a really young age, traveling with my mom to visit my grandfather in New York City,” Raskin says. “We would go out shopping together and he and my mom taught me a lot about quality and examining things for quality. We all carry bags and wallets every day. We want things to last, but also to be beautiful. When I founded Anne Sylvain, I wanted to create something of quality that is not only beautiful and unique, but also premier quality crafted to last forever.”


Raskin began her new venture by sketching out designs and extensively researching materials and sourcing. She flew all over the country and contracted with various potential manufacturers to produce samples in quantity as one-offs were not a possibility. All the while, she was assessing not just quality of product but also of potential business associates. “Everywhere I went, people told me different things,” she says. “I learned a lot about how integrity and the lack of integrity plays out in the business of fashion.” After a few years, she found a thirdgeneration, family-owned workshop that fit all of her requirements. With fewer than 20 highly-skilled employees, the company crafts every item by hand — one piece at a time — in an extremely time-intensive process. Their services were in such high demand by some of the best-known, domestically manufactured brands that Raskin soon realized that it was they who chose her.

“I wanted to support American manufacturing,” she says. “I wanted to be close enough to my manufacturing source that I could monitor quality, know who was making my bags, understand how those workers were treated and to produce the product in a way that aligns with my own personal dedication to quality and sustainability.” The extremely high-value materials that Raskin decided upon using would make her grandfather proud. While she didn’t at first envision using alligator, ostrich and python, these are the materials that will last a lifetime. Along with durability, the naturally occurring beauty of each type of leather pattern is different from bag to bag. “One of the differentiating factors of Anne Sylvain is that we use high-quality, unusual, sustainably-focused sources,” Raskin explains. “I focus almost exclusively on leathers that are hand-finished in an artisanal way. For example, many of my leathers are hand-painted; some are hand-buffed. They are pieces of art even before they are made into a handbag.”


The sources that Raskin uses are models of sustainability: alligator from the southeastern U.S., ostrich from South Africa, python primarily hand-finished in Spain and lamb leather from the U.S. All leather suppliers have been researched to ensure their commitment to best sustainability and quality. Then the finishes come into play: American alligator, so valuable that it is sold by the centimeter, shows off its unmistakable, mirrored finish or is carefully sanded to create a sueded effect; the raised pattern of N ovember 2020

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Patricia Raskin believes that part of the fun of being a handbag designer is the privilege of creating something that makes people happy.


Anne Sylvain Debut Thursday, Dec. 3–Saturday, Dec. 5 | 10 a.m.–5 p.m. | Grace Renee Gallery | 7212 E. Ho Hum Road #7 | Carefree 480-575-8080 |


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ostrich leather; and python enhanced by artisans with painstaking precision. “My Spanish python suppliers are renowned for their special finishes,” Raskin says. “For example, they hand-paint with gold to augment the natural beauty in the leather, which is in itself a piece of art. Sometimes I want to frame what comes into my studio and not make a bag from it; just put a frame around it and hang it on the wall.” As one might imagine, what is inside the bag is just as important to the Anne Sylvain brand as what’s on the outside. Each one is lined with high-quality leather, often in a fun, contrasting color. “It’s really important to me that the inside of the bag be beautiful for the woman who carries it,” Raskin says. “When you look inside and you see that beautiful, colored interior, it’s something just for you. When clients order bespoke bags, they may have their initials or favorite numbers stamped inside. All of that creates an experience of a luxury bag that you can’t find when just purchasing one from a store.” Bespoke bags are in huge demand. Raskin works directly with the client to help them select from a rainbow of interior and exterior colors and textures. Many of her brand devotees own more Anne Sylvain handbags than Raskin herself. It’s indicative not just of the product’s quality, but of the personal relationships she has built with her patrons. “I’m so blessed to have these women in my life,” Raskin says. “They’re like-minded, artistically focused and quality-focused. Their personal styles differ from San Francisco to Boston or Texas to Wisconsin, but they all appreciate the details and what goes into each bag, artistically. Part of the fun of being a handbag designer is the privilege of creating something that makes people happy.”

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Writer Joseph J. Airdo

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If this year has taught us anything, it would be that we should expect the unexpected. Who would have guessed back at the beginning of 2020 that stay-at-home orders, face coverings and routine temperature checks would become some of the most key characteristics of our day-to-day lives? Or that stocking up on toilet paper would become an activity to which we could all relate? Over the course of the past eight months, we have learned that preparing for all of life’s unexpected occurrences is absolutely essential to our survival as a species — a lesson that squirrels aced long before we humans ever even walked this planet. Just as we frantically emptied supermarket shelves of toilet paper this past spring, squirrels spend each autumn searching high and low for food and then hiding it so that they and their families have proper rations during cooler winter months when food is far more scarce. Although Harris’ antelope squirrels — commonly mistaken for chipmunks — are active year-round, Arizona’s other three varieties (rock squirrels, round-tailed squirrels and Arizona gray squirrels) either hibernate or at least retreat to their burrows in the winter.

Eating some combination of green vegetation, cactus, wildflowers, seeds, mesquite beans, insects and occasionally mice, our state’s squirrels take proper provisions to ensure they get through whatever the world throws at them. Photographer Peggy Coleman, whose image of a round-tailed squirrel was featured in Arizona Game and Fish Department’s 2016 wildlife calendar, knows that ample preparation is just one of many lessons that we can learn from squirrels, though. “With all wildlife — but especially squirrels — my favorite observation is behavior,” Coleman says. “I love to see how they interact with other critters and animals. Their antics bring so much happiness and joy. I especially love seeing how they interact with their young. They are very caring.” Coleman’s autumnal squirrel photography featured in Images Arizona’s photo essay this month is meant to encourage much more than just ample preparation. It is also meant to encourage more caring behavior that brings happiness and joy to our community. We hope that these Sonoran squirrels serve as much a sign of the giving fall season as they do a reminder that we are all in this together.

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ARIZONA GRAY SQUIRREL By this time of the year, squirrels are starting to go underground a bit. But, for the most part, autumn is the best time to photograph them because of the light. I am sure that the climate has something to do with that but, without a doubt, October, November and December are wonderful months to get out and photograph any kind of wildlife in Arizona. Peggy Coleman


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Squirrels require a little bit more effort to get a good balance of light and shadow because their positioning will sometimes pick up deeper shadows. Peggy Coleman


SPREADING THE JOY Peggy Coleman’s favorite aspect of photography is sharing her work with the world. “I love the joy that wildlife photography brings to others,” she explains. “There are so many of us who are homebound or cannot get out and look at nature. The variety of wildlife that you see worldwide — but especially here in Arizona — is staggering. The opportunity to share my work and then see people's reactions to it is definitely the most fun part of photography.” Ten years ago, Coleman founded Birding Arizona and the Southwest — a Facebook group dedicated to bird photography, birding education, information and enjoyment that she continues to oversee and administer. The group quickly grew from a humble 30–40 members to a respectable 500 members. Today, the group consists of more than 16,000 members. In 2014, the photographer encountered a green heron playing around on a log and fishing. The bird went down into the water and spread its wings, at which time Coleman quickly snapped a photo. “That split-second shot has now traveled the world more than a million times,” says Coleman, noting the photo earned a National Audubon Society award in 2015. “It has inspired artists for paintings, sculptures, tattoos, sketches, sidewalk art, jewels, blankets and quilts. I still get e-mails years later. It is really a fun gift for that to be out there circulating the world.” N ovember 2020

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ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER Peggy Coleman first became interested in photography while in high school, where she was voted most likely to succeed with aspirations to become the next Barbara Walters. However, she got married and started a family shortly after graduation and put the camera on the shelf where it continued to sit as she pursued a career as a mortgage loan originator. The advent of digital photography rekindled Coleman’s interest in the artistic medium, prompting her to explore Arizona in search of wildlife to capture on camera. The Northwest Glendale resident estimates that it was about 15 years ago that she fell in love with nature — especially birds — but has trouble remembering exactly when that love affair began. “When you are so much in the thick of something, it just sort of wraps around you like a blanket,” Coleman explains. “It is just something that you always have with you.” She recalls walking the trails at Desert Botanical Garden and coming upon a cactus wren. For just one brief moment, she snapped a photograph of the bird looking upward. When she arrived back home and looked and the shot, she was overtaken with inspiration. “I knew that I had found my love, my interest and my passion,” Coleman says.



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ROUND-TAILED SQUIRREL I love round-tailed squirrels. Even though they are one of the more common squirrels that we have here in Arizona, they are so cute the way they climb trees and care for their young. They are more acclimated to people, which can be a negative for wildlife because that puts them in the danger zone. But it is terrific to be able to get relatively close — with safety and respect — and photograph them. Peggy Coleman N ovember 2020

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Writer Shannon Severson Photography Courtesy of Alexi Rose Productions


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In the competitive restaurant industry, it’s not enough to just serve up expertly crafted meals with a smile. Diners are looking for the full experience. This includes a healthy portion of ambiance — an environment that builds anticipation from the moment one arrives, exciting the senses from the front door to the last bite of dessert.

of food, the service and the overall attitude. It is an absolute privilege for us to receive guests.”

As patrons are just beginning to return to in-person dining, the pressure is on for establishments to stand out from the crowd.

“We wanted to make sure that, as a restaurant, we honored the history, architecture and historical contribution of the building,” Stone explains. “The cornerstone is still visible from the patio and what stands now was constructed from the bones of the 1893 church. Our task was to keep and capture the authentic roots while converting it into what we needed for a restaurant.”

Taco Guild in Phoenix has gained national attention for both its award-winning, upscale menu and unusual setting. The restaurant is located inside of a former Methodist Church whose cornerstone dates to 1893, though the current building was completed in the 1950s. Just like its brick and mortar exterior, the restaurant itself is standing the test of time.


During the recent temporary shut-down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Taco Guild’s owner Michael Stone took the opportunity to enhance the restaurant’s interior aesthetically and mechanically while keeping health guidelines in mind. He also brought back some star performers in the kitchen and dining room. “We are committed to serving our guests even better than before,” Stone says. “We still offer takeout and delivery, but the Taco Guild experience truly happens inside the four walls. Our building is aesthetically pleasing, but our staying power comes from the quality

That dedication to the full experience is grounded in the well-preserved location that showcases expert renovation and reuse.

It has been an adventure to own and maintain a place with so much history. The stained glass and original beamed ceilings remain. The old doors have been reconditioned and repurposed. Even some of the pews are used for indoor seating while the bell tower still stands as well, beckoning one and all to gather in a new way. “Every single team member takes a ton of pride in the building,” Stone says. “They all know the history and can tour the customers around. Everyone has a story they like to share.”


Every once in a while, new discoveries are made — or unearthed, as is the case with a time capsule. Some of the photos and documents inside are now displayed on the restaurant’s walls. The early church registry —

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found when the church’s safe was opened — lists the names of Arizona’s historically significant Osborn family, after whom Osborn Road was named. The most recent discovery is that of a chancel window, named in original plans as “The Reward Crown of the Faithful.” One of two, it was previously believed to be lost. “As I was sitting at a high-top table, the sun hit one of the high attic windows at the back of our kitchen at just the right angle,” Stone says. “The window had been blacked out. We found the documentation about it, restored it and moved it to the forefront to be on prominent display. We have it lit up and I always point it out.” The other chancel window has yet to be found. The church was officially decommissioned many years ago, but Stone says he still has customers who come to eat and say they used to attend church or were married there. “Everyone has been thrilled about what we’ve done with the building,” Stone says. “We wanted to make sure that, as a restaurant, we honored the history, architecture and historical contribution of our location.”


Taco Guild’s story began with real estate developer David Wetta, who was alerted to the property before it ever came on the market. The Bethel United Methodist Church had a dramatic drop in membership and was looking to sell. “At first, I didn’t see the adaptive reuse opportunities,” Wetta says. “It was a great piece of real estate. When we looked at what we would build with a clean slate, the square footage was the same as what was already there and new codes would shrink what we could build. That’s where the fun started. The more we looked at it, the more we determined it was reusable. It was fate.” Wetta adds that the simplicity and size of the church building made it perfect for use as a restaurant. He enlisted the help of architect Mike Rumpeltin. “Mike is the best architect with the vision to execute adaptive reuse on this smaller scale, which is more complicated,” Wetta says. “Taco Guild really has the ‘wow [factor]’ and it was so fun to see people’s reactions when it first opened. They’d never seen anything like it. Churches that became restaurants

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do exist around the country, but not many. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to do it here in Phoenix. It’s pretty special.” Rumpeltin was excited to take on the project with an eye toward preserving what he could. Inside the church, removing acoustical tile revealed wood trusses that now add to the ambiance. To keep those, rigid insulation had to be added to the building’s exterior. The orientation of the building was changed so that the front entrance now faces the parking lot instead of the street. The original foyer is used as a private dining room. “We added a big chandelier inside and the original concept was to lower it each night at happy hour and have a lighting ceremony with real candles,” Rumpeltin says. “We thought it was a great idea but the fire department said, ‘no way.’”


The “guild” theme of Taco Guild is drawn from the idea of the restaurant and its patrons being part of a society that treasures its history. “People photograph themselves in front of the framed photos on the wall,” Rumpeltin says. “It’s the most rewarding thing to sit quietly at a table, watching people enjoying the space. It’s great to see the eclectic group that is drawn to the comfort and hospitality at Taco Guild. It’s about creating community.”


+ an A STEAM School

As for the future of Taco Guild, Stone remains a champion of the next phase and foresees many more years of serving appreciative diners. He’s even on the lookout to expand in the Phoenix market someday — but the location will have to be just right. “We’d like to find another architectural location that will fit our brand,” Stone says. “We can’t just go into a strip center or generic facility. We have strong brand recognition that has been an anchor in the growth of the Seventh Street culinary scene and we want to continue that in future locations.”


through engagement, critical thinking & collaboration At Desert Sun Academy, students are inspired to become global leaders. In addition to an A+ STEAM program, all DSA students receive Spanish classes while the internationally recognized French immersion program develops trilingual language skills! Science Wing - Makerspace - STEAM Lab French Immersion K-5 • Spanish Pre-K-6 • Preschool

Taco Guild 546 E. Osborn Road, Phoenix 602-264-4143

480.575.2000 N ovember 2020

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Cosmic Brownies Everyone’s favorite childhood brownie is even better when it is baked fresh, from scratch, at home. Plus, these brownies are gluten-free — eliminating most, if not all, of the guilt associated with enjoying such a decadent dessert! Makes: 8-inch-by-8-inch pan

Ingredients: For the Brownies: 1 cup gluten-free flour with xanthan gum 3/4 cup dark cocoa powder (Hershey’s Special Dark) 8 tablespoons butter (melted and cooled) 2 tablespoons coconut or avocado oil 1/8 teaspoon sea salt 3/4 cup white sugar 1/2 cup light brown sugar 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 2 tablespoons light corn syrup 2 eggs (room temperature) For the Frosting: 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips 1/8 teaspoon sea salt

2/3 cup heavy cream Sprinkles (for decorating)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and line an 8-inch-by8-inch pan with parchment paper and set aside. In a large bowl, sift flour and cocoa powder together. Add salt, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Mix well. In a small bowl, combine butter, oil, vanilla, corn syrup and eggs. Add to dry ingredients, mixing until completely combined. The batter will be quite thick and smooth Scrape into prepared baking pan and spread evenly. Bake until just firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean, 25–28 minutes. Allow to cool completely in the pan. When brownies are almost cooled, place chocolate chips and sea salt in a medium-size, heatproof bowl, and set aside. Heat heavy cream in a glass measuring cup in the microwave until almost boiling, 1–2 minutes. Pour warm cream over chocolate chips and allow to sit until chocolate begins to melt. Stir until smooth. Allow mixture to cool about 2 minutes before pouring over cooled brownies, still in the pan, in an even layer. Scatter sprinkles over chocolate layer and let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Then refrigerate until firm, about another 30 minutes. Writer and Photographer Kyndra Kelly


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Remove from refrigerator and lift brownies out of the pan. Place on a cutting board and, using a knife run under hot water, cut into desired amount. Enjoy!

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“Anyone who dreams of an uncommon life eventually discovers there is no choice but to seek an uncommon approach to living it.” - Gary Keller, The ONE Thing Andrew Bloom REALTOR®, Senior Partner


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David Van Omen Associate Broker, Senior Partner

(480) 999-5460 |

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