Press Release

December 14, 2022

MEDIA CONTACT: Brian Passey | [email protected] | 480-874-4626

Exhibition Honors Legacy of Artist Rip Woods

The Scottsdale Public Art exhibition “Rip Woods: Creating Magic” will open Jan. 9 at Scottsdale Civic Center Library.

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — Roosevelt “Rip” Woods inspired other artists to further their explorations, and Scottsdale Public Art aims to honor the longtime Phoenix artist’s legacy with a new exhibition, “Rip Woods: Creating Magic,” running Jan. 9 through March 30 at Scottsdale Civic Center Library.

“Rip Woods: Creating Magic” shows selections by Wood (1933­–2001) along with the work of some of his past students and friends, including Ron Bimrose, Susan Copeland, Carolyn Lavender, Helen Parkhill, Don Robbins and Woods’ daughter Dee Dee Woods.

“Rip Woods was one of my first painting teachers at Arizona State University,” said Wendy Raisanen, curator of collections and exhibitions for Scottsdale Public Art and co-curator of this exhibition. “He was a wise and gentle soul, who influenced many local artists. I’m thrilled to be able to exhibit his work and the art of a few other artists who still hear his voice.”

Born in Idabel, Oklahoma, Woods grew up in Phoenix. His long art career was a standout in the Valley for his early and recognized talent and his commitment to creating much-needed exhibition opportunities for Black artists.

Woods conjured visions of reality that were messages to the world, cloaked in satire and humor. His work is mysterious and symbolic, often referring to historic African masks and rituals, while reflecting on modern African American life experiences.

The artist once said, “My work represents survival, ritual and magic, all of which helps in my quest for personal clarity through art.”

Woods received both a bachelor and master of art in education at Arizona State University. He taught in the Phoenix Union High School system and privately for eight years before joining the faculty of ASU, where he taught graduate and undergraduate painting and drawing for 27 years.

This exhibition is co-curated with Woods’ daughter Senina Woods Harris.

“I’m excited to share the timeless and relevant works of one of Arizona’s most prolific artists, my dad, Rip Woods,” Harris said. “He made lasting impressions on peers and students. I have a responsibility to preserve his legacy and the purpose of his art: ‘to justify living, extend living and remind others they are living.’”

“Rip Woods: Creating Magic” will run from Jan. 9 through March 30 at the Civic Center Public Gallery, inside Scottsdale Civic Center Library, 3948 N. Drinkwater Blvd., Scottsdale, AZ 85251. For more information, visit

A free opening reception for the exhibition will be held at 4 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 12, at the Civic Center Public Gallery. The curators and many of the exhibiting artists will be present, and refreshments will be provided.

Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation has also organized two creative workshops in association with this exhibition, both taught by exhibition artists. At 4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8, mixed media artist Ron Bimrose will combine the styles of his own artistic practice with those of his mentor, Woods, by teaching photo-collaging on masks. And at 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 21, Woods’ former student Carolyn Lavender will discuss her teacher’s lasting impact and pass along some of his most influential art-making philosophies.

Both workshops, are free, but RSVP is required. They will be presented at Scottsdale Civic Center Library. Learn more about the workshops and the reception at