By April Bourie
February is always a busy month in the Tucson area with the Gem and Mineral Show, Tucson Rodeo, and the Cologuard Classic Golf Tournament. Another exciting event that deserves to be ranked among these important area events is the Tubac Festival of the Arts, held Feb. 5-9 in the Village of Tubac, about an hour south of Tucson. This juried festival features approximately 200 visiting artists from around the country and as far away as Canada. Art booths line Tubac’s streets, mixed in with Tubac’s more than 100 shops, fine art galleries and working artist studios. With a history of 61 years, the festival is the longest-running art festival in southern Arizona, and it draws tens of thousands of visitors each season.
Esther Rogoway, former owner of the Rogoway Turquoise Tortoise Gallery, has participated in the Tubac Festival of the Arts for over 20 years. “Walking around and seeing the variety, quality and color of the arts featured at the festival is always my favorite part,” she explained. Various types of art are offered for sale and enjoyment at booths and in the shops, including paintings, sculpture, giclee prints, pottery, mixed media pieces, hand-crafted jewelry and more.
Rogoway said that the gallery is also important for the businesses in Tubac. “It’s great public relations for the Village of Tubac and for its shops. Many out-of-town customers return each year to shop the festival and their favorite galleries and stores. Artists featured in many of the galleries also attend the festival and visit with the shop owners to show them some of their new offerings,” she explained.
Rogoway is especially excited about the festival this year because it is being coordinated by Vermillion Promotions, a company that specializes in producing arts festivals and events. “Candy Vermillion is an incredible promoter, and she’ll bring a lot of new artists to the festival, which is a reason in itself to attend,” Rogoway explained.
Craig Bergsgaard, a sculptor who is attending the festival for the first time, learned about the festival through Vermillion Promotions. “I’ve participated in Vermillion Promotions events in the Phoenix area for several years,” he explained. “I’ve been intrigued by the art community in Tubac for a while, and I’m really looking forward to hanging out with the community of artists that attend this festival. It’s inspiring to see what others do.”
In addition to the opportunity to see hundreds of artists in one location during the Festival of the Arts, the Village of Tubac also offers several restaurants in which to experience delicious regional cuisine. A relaxing wine and beer garden and live music will compliment the experience. Free horse-drawn wagon rides are also provided to attendees.
Brenda Peo, who paints whimsical donkeys and other animals, has been featuring her work at the Festival of the Arts for the past five years. She advises attendees to make a day out of the festival. “Tubac is a unique little community, and people enjoy strolling the streets, shopping, and dining. I always suggest they wear comfortable walking shoes and enjoy a horse-drawn wagon ride while they are there,” she said.
For more Tubac Festival of the Arts information, including parking, entertainment and attending artists, see https://tubacaz.com/festival-of-the-arts/.