As an art lover, Shirley Avery can’t imagine living anywhere else but Scottsdale. She has immersed herself in its vibrant arts scene, from frequenting galleries and expos, to purchasing fine art, to leading tours and lectures as a docent for local museums. And she shares her passion for the arts with her neighbors at Vi at Silverstone, a Vi and Plaza Companies community as a teacher, singer, and choreographer.
Art for Art’s Sake
Mrs. Avery’s love of the arts began when she took ballet lessons at the age of four. Throughout her childhood, there was hardly an artistic endeavor that she didn’t explore. From playing the trumpet and drums, to studying jazz, swing and ballroom dance, to drawing every day, Shirley was always seeking an outlet for creative expression.
As an adult, Mrs. Avery utilized her talents to attend the prestigious Kachina School of Art in Phoenix. Forever changed by the experience of learning the arts from outstanding teachers, Mrs. Avery was inspired to share her knowledge with others through adult education. For Mrs. Avery, it was never about making money, but about making art for art’s sake.
“I’ll never be a famous artist,” Mrs. Avery said, “but when you know colors and composition, balance, and all the rules of art, you can teach. Everything falls into place and you can use the rules of art for many artistic endeavors, like hat making or weaving.”
By following her heart through the joy of art, Mrs. Avery found another love… the city of Scottsdale.
At Home in Scottsdale, a Haven for Artists
Mrs. Avery first visited Scottsdale with her family in the 1960s and fell instantly in love. “I realized this was the place where I wanted to live,” she said. The beautiful weather, the rich history and the colorful Sonoran Desert landscape all captured her imagination, but most important to her was the community of artists that called Scottsdale home. They created a tight-knit community where art and artists could thrive.
“Everyone has a passion,” she said. “Art, dance and history are my passions and you can combine them all here at Vi at Silverstone, in North Scottsdale.”
“When buying art, buy what you like, buy what speaks to you. You will never get tired of living with it.”
Volunteering with Local Museums
Mrs. Avery’s connection to the Scottsdale arts community has been strengthened by her service work with many local museums. For years she has been a member, a docent, and has served on the Board of Trustees for the Heard Museum and the Cave Creek Museum.
She loves nothing more than to share her love of art with friends, so she takes special joy in organizing museum trips for her neighbors at Vi at Silverstone, giving personal tours, and sometimes even driving her friends there. “Can you think of a better way to spend your Sunday afternoon?”
One of Mrs. Avery’s favorite outings is to take a group to downtown Scottsdale for the Thursday Art Walk. “First we have a lovely dinner at a restaurant, and then everyone just meanders through the galleries on the Art Walk. It’s just a wonderful way to spend an evening.”
Spending Time at Home
When she’s not hobnobbing with artists and art lovers in Scottsdale, Mrs. Avery enjoys spending time with the community at Vi at Silverstone, singing and dancing with the community choir, the Vi Tones, and occasionally teaching art classes to fellow residents. “There are a lot of people like me here at Vi who love to be active and involved, and continue being who we are."