Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

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What is SMoCA?

© Judy Hedding

The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, or SMoCA, is, as the name suggests, dedicated to "presenting exhibitions on contemporary and modern art, architecture, and design." There are five galleries on a single level which host traveling exhibitions and those specially researched and organized in-house by SMoCA, as well as occasional rotating segments of the permanent collection.

Don't forget to stop by the outdoor sculpture garden, which includes a permanent ‘skyspace’ viewing chamber by internationally acclaimed artist James Turrell. He entitled it Knight Rise. The skyspace is best viewed at sunset, so Thursday evenings, when SMoCA is open late, are the best days to experience it.

The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art opened officially on February 14, 1999. Coincidentally, February 14 is also Statehood Day in Arizona.

SMoCA Factoid: Before it was redesigned to into the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, this facility was the home of five movie theater screens.

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Collections and Exhibitions

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
© Judy Hedding

Through its exhibitions, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art includes in its mission to "educate audiences for modern and contemporary art, as well as to provide opportunities for the artistic community—locally, nationally and internationally." Like most art museums, art is rotated so that you can find something new to learn or enjoy each time you visit SMoCA. All five galleries at SMoCA rotate exhibitions three times per year in fall, spring and summer.

SMoCA does not have Audio Guide equipment to lend while you are visiting the museum. They do, however, have a system whereby you can use your personal cell phone as an Audio Guide. Just call 480-281-9922, enter the number of the work of art that you'd like to hear more about, and press the pound sign on your phone. Note: your regular cell phone rates will apply.

SMoCA doesn't have its own cafe, but there are dining establishments on the Mall and in Old Town Scottsdale within walking distance from the museum.

SMoCA Factoid: Scottsdale Cultural Council manages both this museum and the adjacent Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, both of which are located at the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall.

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Outreach and Special Events

Comedy at SMoCA Lounge
Courtesy of SMoCA, by Alyea Photography

Lectures, docent-led tours, workshops and classes at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art are intended to help participants experience contemporary art and interpret its meaning in cultural context. Programs are offered for all ages, from preschool through seniors. Tri-annual SMoCA Opening Reception Celebrations include receptions and entertainment at the museum. As part of SMoCA's architectural and design focus, a Modern Phoenix Expo + Home Tour is held annually accompanied by lectures, workshops and relevant vendors. School children and teachers have a variety of learning experiences available, and youth art is exhibited in a special gallery called young@art gallery, located in the adjacent Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts building.

Becoming a docent is a unique way to continue (or jump start) your art education. Docents share their knowledge with museum visitors and community groups by conducting tours and making presentations. Every Thursday at 1:30 p.m. visitors can learn more about SMoCA’s exhibitions from the museum’s expert guides during a free docent-guided tour.

SMOCA has a lovely gift shop! There is no admission charge if you just want to go into the store to pick up a unique gift for an art lover.

SMoCA Factoid: A docent completes a 28-week training course plus ongoing education relative to new exhibitions.

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Hours, Admission, Contact

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
© Judy Hedding

If you are ready to visit the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) here are the details about hours and admission prices.

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art Hours
Noon to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays
Noon to 9 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays
Noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays
Closed Mondays, Christmas Day and New Year's Day

In the summer (Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day):
Closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Same hours on other days.

SMoCA's young@art gallery for youth, located next door at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, has slightly different hours. Check here for those details.

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art Admission (2016)
Adults: $7
Students: $5
15 and under: Free
Thursdays: Free for everyone
Fridays and Saturdays after 5 p.m.: Free for everyone
Admission to the young@art gallery, the gift shop and the sculpture garden is always free.

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art Address
7374 East Second Street
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art is located right next to Old Town Scottsdale, Arizona at Drinkwater and 2nd Street. It is on the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall, next to the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. Here's the address:

Here is a map with directions to the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall. The closest parking is the Public Parking Garage at Wells Fargo and 2nd Street. Parking is free. If that lot is full, you can try to park at the Scottsdale Public Library Parking Garage, also free, on the east side of Drinkwater Blvd. SMoCA is also accessible by free public transportation, the Scottsdale Trolley. That may be your best bet if you are visiting the museum on a Thursday evening in conjunction with the weekly Scottsdale Art Walk.

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art Official Website

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art Phone
General Information: 480-874-4666
Box Office: 480-499-TKTS (8587)

SMoCA Factoid: Gerard L. Cafesjian is a businessman and philanthropist honored at SMoCA for financing the museum's expansion. He also has loaned items from his personal art collection.

All dates, times, prices and offerings are subject to change without notice.

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