Cultural Tours

Art and Architecture in the American Southwest

Wednesday, November 8  |  8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

This full-day tour will immerse attendees in art and architecture of the American Southwest. The day starts with a 1.5-hour tour of Taliesin West, the beloved winter home and studio of innovative architect, writer, and educator Frank Lloyd Wright. Nestled in the desert foothills of the McDowell Mountains, this national historic landmark’s monumental masonry feels as much an ancient ruin unearthed from the Sonoran Desert, as the twentieth-century icon of modern architecture it has become.  

Established in 1937, Taliesin West was diligently handcrafted and maintained almost entirely by Wright and his apprentices, making it among the most personal of the architect’s creations. During Taliesin West’s signature tour, guests will be drawn into to Frank Lloyd Wright’s world with visits to the Cabaret Theater, Kiva, and Wright’s private office, as well as Taliesin West’s landscaped grounds and desert masonry structures. Guests will also take special trips into the Wrights’ private quarters and living room, the gracious Taliesin West “Garden Room.”

In the afternoon, guests will travel to the home of Mary Wong, a former school librarian in the Phoenix area. Guests will receive a boxed lunch, before setting out to view more than 100 illustrations in Mary’s home. Mary’s collection includes original artwork by Aliki, Grace Lin, David Diaz, Molly Idle, Tomie DePaola, Suse MacDonald, Jan Brett, Ted Lewin, Brian Karas, Jane Dyer, Patricia Polacco, David McPhail and many other well-known illustrators of children’s books.

Tour participants will have the opportunity to meet five local illustrators – Lynne Avril, Molly Idle, Wendy Watson, Mike Venezia, and Juana Martinez-Neal – and win their donated sketches, small art spots and drawings as door prizes. The illustrators will be available for Q/A sessions regarding their work and upcoming projects. Their books will also be available for purchase and autographing.

An additional registration fee of $70 is required in advance of the event.


At HOME: Native People in the Southwest

Wednesday, November 8  |  12:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

During this half-day tour, attendees will visit the Heard Museum, the world’s preeminent museum for the presentation, interpretation and advancement of American Indian art. At the museum, guests will embark on a guided tour of the museum’s largest permanent exhibit, HOME: Native People in the Southwest. The exhibit includes more than 2,000 treasures including jewelry, cultural items, pottery, baskets, textiles, beadwork and more reflecting the “home” for Southwestern Native peoples from ancestral times to today. Physical structures include a Navajo Hogan, Hopi piki room and Pueblo oven. The exhibit reflects the common threads in the lives of all American Indians – importance of family, community, land and languages. Stories are told through first-person recollections, works of art, and photomurals.

After the guided tour, attendees will have a chance to browse other highlights of the museum and visit the museum’s library and shop before heading back to the Convention Center.

An additional registration fee of $35 is required in advance of the event.

The Gardens of the Desert

Thursday, November 9  |  8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

For more than 70 years, the Desert Botanical Garden has providing research, exhibits and more designed to help visitors understand, protect and preserve the desert’s natural beauty. During this half-day excursion, guests will discover the unique characteristics of desert plants from around the world. The tour focuses on desert plant biology, exploring the great diversity of form, texture and color found in this wondrous array of cacti and succulents. Attendees will also learn how desert plants are uniquely adapted to survive and thrive in a harsh desert environment and the amazing ways people use desert plants for food, tools, and shelter. The loop trail, part of the garden’s 140 acres, features outstanding displays and exhibits including the Sybil B. Harrington Cactus and Succulent Galleries and the Berlin Agave Yucca Forest.

An additional registration fee of $40 is required in advance of the event.

Phoenix Trolley Tour

Thursday, November 9  |  10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Sit back and enjoy this two-hour journey through Downtown Phoenix's past and present culture and community. See entertainment and arts venues, professional sports stadiums, historic buildings and homes, fantastic public art, award-winning restaurants, the state capitol and monuments, and much more! Covering more than 20 miles, this fully narrated tour includes two full stops at local highlights.

An additional registration fee of $40 is required in advance of the event.

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