Royse Contemporary Celebrates 5 Years With ‘Art Party’ | Arts and entertainment

Nicole Royce had been curating galleries in downtown Phoenix for over 15 years when she saw a great opportunity in the reach of local artists.

Old Town Scottsdale is known for its art galleries and weekly art walks, and in July 2017 she decided to secure her own space on Marshall Way.

“I’ve curated hundreds of shows and I switched from Phoenix to Scottsdale because Phoenix has an art walk once a month and we have a weekly art walk,” Royce said. “So, for (artists) to get their work out to collectors and be more visible, it was a good opportunity for them.”

She was also looking for a place with a large view window that was close to some of the biggest attractions in Old Town.

“I was looking for the perfect spot,” Royse said. “I wanted a good window and I wanted to be in the center of things.

“We have some wonderful restaurants and bars and then we have a lot of main stage galleries that have been here for a long time that have a lot of history, so I want to be a part of that community.”

Since opening its doors five years ago, Royce has made a name for himself and his gallery by selling art created by artists who call Arizona home.

“The biggest thing is that people here in the Valley want to do the work made by the artists who live here and want to know their story,” she said.

Although his intimate gallery offers bright white walls that emphasize the intricacy of each work that fills the space, Royse created a more intimate way to sell his art.

He began loading his SUV with his collection of works and bringing them to clients’ homes so the clients could see how the works would look on their walls.

When Royce had to close its doors in the early days of the pandemic, this method of selling became particularly resourceful.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, it gave people a good opportunity to take me on, because they were tired of looking at their plain walls, or they were tired of what they had,” Royse said. “It kept artists going because that’s how they made their living and that’s how they were able to create art.”

Royce also began to see an increase in the amount of art his staples and guest artists began to create as they discovered the amount of free time they had.

“Because they were at home and they didn’t have any of the constraints of regular life, they were able to go in new directions and many of them started a whole new series of works that were very impressive – considering all the weirdness in the world,” Royce said.

Although it’s been more than two years since artists holed up in their homes and studios waiting for the world to return to normal and killing time using new technologies and mediums, Royse sees some similar trends in local contemporary works. Fill her gallery.

“There are things with some artists where they’ve focused more on nature because they started getting out in nature,” Royce said.

While most of the art has been on display since July 14, Royce plans to hold a grand art party on Aug. 26 to celebrate his gallery’s quinquennial anniversary and showcase more of the art that made up his “Summer Spectacular” show. His largest show to date, showcasing the works of 16 artists working in mediums such as mixed-media pieces, photography, sculpture and textured paintings.

The paintings are also for sale and have sticker prices ranging from $300 to $5,000.

“The purpose of my gallery is to get people excited about collecting because it’s accessible,” Royse said. “You can go to Target or IKEA and get a great original piece of art like you can buy a print, but I prefer you buy something original because it’s supporting the artists and you’ll love it for a long time. Because it has a story behind it.”

Although Royce hopes to take some of the artwork off his walls and trot more steps into his gallery, Royce’s biggest hope for the festival is to focus more on the work created by local artists.

“I want people to see and understand what artists are making here and that art is an important part of our daily lives,” she said. “It brings us so much joy, it brings us together as a community and we can understand each other better by looking at it.”

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