Press Release

March 21, 2024

MEDIA CONTACT: Sydney Ritter | [email protected] | 480-874-4663 

Scottsdale Arts and Koryn Woodward Wasson flirt with the Arizona desert in new exhibition

“We See Mountains in the Sun” by Koryn Woodward Wasson is among the artworks featured in the “Flirting with the Desert” exhibition, opening April 8 at the Civic Center Public Gallery inside Scottsdale Civic Center Library. 

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Scottsdale Public Art’s newest exhibition, “Flirting with the Desert,” running April 8 through July 1, 2024, at Scottsdale Civic Center Library, features the artwork of Koryn Woodward Wasson.  

Arizona is known for sprawling mountains and mesas, a variety of cacti — including the famous Saguaro cactus that only grows in the Sonoran Desert — and the Grand Canyon, one of the seven natural wonders of the world, but for Arizona-based artist Koryn Woodward Wasson, she sees Arizona in the bright, bold colors of the state’s flowers. 

“I’ve taken it back to this idea of just sort of like falling in love with the plants,” Woodward Wasson said. “I have a crush on the desert, and I think about it all the time. I’m always drawing and thinking about it. The way I feel about the desert is similar to having a crush, just the way your heart flutters.” 

Scottsdale Public Art is a department of the nonprofit Scottsdale Arts. Woodward Wasson has a long history with Scottsdale Arts, beginning in 2014 when she and her husband Roy Wasson Valle created “Camp Dreamtree” — an interactive art installation in the shape of a camp – and continued in 2017 when she transformed the Scottsdale Civic Center Library into “Bird Cloud Island.” 

Wendy Raisanen, curator of collections and exhibitions for Scottsdale Public Art, has had the pleasure of working with Woodward Wasson through these past exhibitions and is familiar with the artist’s love for the desert, specifically the desert in the spring when flowers are in bloom. 

“Her joy of and embracing of the desert’s beauty and life has a lot to do with healing and turning your sorrow into joy through art,” Raisanen said. “She shines a light on the stuff that’s around us every single day and that maybe we are just not paying attention to. Her joy and enthusiasm for the flowers, birds, bats and insects will be fully felt.” 

Woodward Wasson was born and raised in Phoenix. Her father passed in 2018, and Woodward Wasson leaned into making art as a journal to process her grief, exhibiting the artwork in a show a year after his death. There was a story attached to every artwork, and she realized that people could access her work better if she spoke about it both artistically and linguistically. 

“Some people access the visual work no problem,” she said. “It’s art, it speaks for itself. It’s a universal language, but other people think that art’s not for them or that they don’t understand it, and so the written story and journaling portions that went with those pieces created a bridge between me and family members, friends, people who are outside of the art community.” 

The exhibition will include 12 watercolor paintings; 3D felt sculptures of cacti, flowers and vignettes; large-scale murals; a video of the artist at work and a desk showcasing sketches from Woodward Wasson.

“I want people to leave with that feeling of wonder,” Woodward Wasson said. “I want you to see the cactus bloom in the parking lot at the grocery store; walk over and really look at it. Give it your time. And on a more profound and universal note, I want the work to lighten the grief we carry with us and let us experience the everyday attractions of living in these harsh conditions.”  

“Flirting with the Desert” will run from April 8 through July 1 at the Civic Center Public Gallery, inside Scottsdale Civic Center Library, 3948 N. Drinkwater Blvd., Scottsdale, AZ 85251. 

In addition to the exhibition itself, there will be an opening reception to meet the artists from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on April 11, 2024, at the Civic Center Public Gallery. 

Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation has also organized two creative workshops in association with this exhibition. On Monday, April 22 at 4:30 p.m., guests can join Woodward Wasson on Earth Day for an outdoor exploration of the beautiful plants and structures outside the Scottsdale Civic Center Library’s walls. And on Wednesday, May 30, at 4:30 p.m., attendees are invited to turn photographic source material into three-dimensional soft sculptures with Koryn Woodward Wasson. Both workshops are free, but RSVP is required. They will be presented at Scottsdale Civic Center Library. 

Learn more about the exhibition at and get details on the workshops and reception at