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Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona


May 27, 2018 06:46PM

Scottsdale Artists’ School (SAS) celebrated one of its founders on Sunday, April 29. Friends and artists from all over came to honor Maxine Johnston for the devotion and passion she has poured into the school for the last 35 years.

In 1983, Johnston, Wade Fairchild and Jim Reynolds spearheaded an idea to form an art school in Scottsdale, where professional artists could teach the fundamentals of art to students seeking opportunities to become more expertly trained. The school opened that September, and almost immediately, artists whose works hang in some of the finest museums came to teach there.

“I’m a goal setter,” Johnston said in her toast on Sunday. “We set a goal of being the finest art school in the West. At that time it was a dream, and at first we fell way short of that; however, today, we do have the right to claim that status.”

In addition to Johnston being one of the founding directors, she served as president of the board of trustees for three years and has been a board member for 26 years. At the age of 93, she still attends meetings and serves as board chair emeritus. Johnston has been an instructor at SAS for more than 20 years; is a Signature Member of Oil Painters of America; is a Design Affiliate of the American Society of Interior Designers; is past president of the Scottsdale Artists League; and is a member of Arizona Artists Guild. 

“I would not be a gallery artist today if it were not for the instruction that I received here,” continued Johnston. “The quality instructors we hire at SAS are the best of the best.”

For more information about Scottsdale Artists’ School, visit



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