The beloved Arcadia neighborhood, known for being surrounded with plentiful fruit trees and immaculately maintained, mostly mid-century ranch-style houses on plenty of land, is also home to The Shemer Art Center, a well-known art education and community center in the heart of the neighborhood.
This year, the Shemer Art Center will celebrate its 32nd Sunday @ Shemer Family Arts Festival on Sunday, November 6 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Started in 1984 as an annual signature fundraiser, it has grown from its initial start at a nearby park to an on-site event that will feature more than 40 Arizona artists showcasing their works of art, demonstrating, and leading interactive children’s art activities. Additional activities will include sculpture garden tours, live entertainment, food and beverage vendors, and a silent auction.
This little gem has a long standing history in the neighborhood, and is an icon of the era in which Arcadia first started to grow. The home was originally part of 640 acres owned by a group of developers led by Seymour Jordan formed the Arcadia Water Company, who envisioned selling home sites in the newly named Arcadia neighborhood. The first home was built in 1919 for the foreman of the water company, the same building that now houses the Shemer Art Center.
In 1925, a banker from Kansas obtained the land. He added a kitchen, a living room, and two bedrooms and later called it Casa de Wanda. The banker then divided the land into 40-acre home sites.
In 1927, the 40 acres and the house were sold to the Suhr family who added to the house yet again. They transformed the garage into a studio space, they added two more bedrooms and a bathroom, enclosed the porch, enlarged the kitchen, and added stucco to the outside of the house, all adding to the look of the building we see today.
In 1984, the Suhr family put the house up for sale. A long-time Phoenix resident, Martha Shemer, thought the house was an important part of Phoenix history. Shemer purchased the twice-renovated, Sante-Fe mission-style home and land and donated it to the City of Phoenix. She worked with local government and the city to preserve the historical property, but to also ensure it was used as a community center for city residents. With that, the Shemer Art Center was born.
Today, the Shemer Art Center has become a cultural center for all ages. Serving its mission as a community arts education center, it is a “home for the arts” that provides a unique and inviting atmosphere for residents and visitors to enjoy and learn about visual art through fun and affordable classes, lectures, workshops, exhibits, and events.
To purchase your tickets in advance or get more information about the 2016 Sunday @ Shemer Family Arts Festival, visit www.shemerartcenter.org or call (602) 262-4727.
The cost of admission to this year’s festival is $7 per person with a maximum admission of $20 per family. On-site parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis with additional shuttle parking available from the Chase Bank at 44th Street and Camelback.