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Meet Jenny Willigrod of On The Edge Gallery in Scottsdale

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jenny Willigrod.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Jenny. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
You can ask any artist, “What drives you to create?” and the response will be the same. “It is part of my existence.”

My love of art began as a child and has been an essential part of my life ever since.

I obtained my degree from Texas A&M University, began a career in graphic design, and was ultimately promoted to advertising creative director. My opportunity to begin a fine art career began when my husband’s job transferred our family to Phoenix in 1997. At that time, I responded to a “call for artist” for the Phoenix Children’s Hospital and was commissioned for over 20 multi-media pieces. With that first commission, I began to promote my style and in December of 2002, I was selected as the guest artist for Phoenix Home & Garden magazine.

My love for chalk pastels began about 10 years ago as I began experimenting with different mediums in order to obtain a bright and bold outcome. I personally label my work “Southwest Whimsical” as my subject matter is inspired by fond memories of scenes from the Southwest and Mexico infused with brilliant color.

My work was first represented in the Fountain Hills Artists’ Gallery, a co-op of about 30 local artists. After several successful years, a group of 5 artists decided to open a new gallery in the arts district of Scottsdale. On the Edge Gallery opened on September 1st, 2012 and is the first of its kind in downtown Scottsdale. Over forty artists display original fine art and unique gift items in this airy, 2000 square foot gallery. The artists at the Fountain Hills Artists’ Gallery and On The Edge Gallery work every day and run all aspects of the businesses. Many different mediums are represented and as a result of selling direct to the public, our prices are retail friendly.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Working with over 70 artists can have its challenges and rewards. At times, the different personalities and thought processes can become muddled, but the talents and dedication of all of the artists to have professional venues to display their art far outweigh any negativity. Each artist has a committee to serve and is also obligated to work in the gallery. The managers of the galleries have the responsibility of training all of these individuals and must keep the gallery professionally operating. We are not paid employees. The galleries serve as our artist homes and we are encouraged to work and play in our creative spaces.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the On The Edge Gallery story. Tell us more about the business.
What sets the galleries apart from all others is our artist direct pricing, the fact that we are all local Arizona artists from a variety of backgrounds and that we work and operate the galleries ourselves.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Luck would have to be the many artists we have been able to represent and a business model that works. With the great recession, the art world, like many others, was hit hard. Several galleries in Scottsdale closed but we were able to weather the after-effects of that economic decline and keep our doors open for many years.

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Getting in touch: VoyagePhoenix is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Cathy Dickinson

    January 22, 2018 at 2:49 am

    Great article! Jenny is so talented!

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