Museum Programs

Contemporary art (or art of the NOW) reflects culture and society today. Teachers, students, and general audiences thus have a unique opportunity to consider and discuss current ideas by rethinking what is familiar to us. Using SMoCA’s rotating exhibitions as a learning resource, our tours develop skills in observation, reflection, and inquiry through dialogue, play, and collective meaning-making.  

Tours are available Tuesday through Thursday only.

Dorothy Fratt, Red Mesa, 1977. Acrylic on canvas. 40 1/2 x 40 inches. Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art Collection, acquired by the Fine Arts Commission in memory of Dickson Hartwell, 1983.002
Roelof Knol: the space in between, 2023. Photo courtesy of the artist.
Installation view of La memoria de las huellas [the memory of prints], 2022, from the exhibition Agua entre la metalurgía at CUE Art Foundation, New York. Photo by David Michael Cortes, courtesy of the artist.

These exhibitions explore abstraction and meaning-making. In our daily lives within a contemporary society, we often find ourselves extracting meaning from occurrences like current events, questioning what these events mean to us—similar to how we would interpret an abstract painting. Artists use their personal experiences to create abstractions, taking cues from their lives, histories, and preferences to add meaning to their work. However, understanding abstract works isn’t always immediate for the viewer. How can we derive meaning from something unrecognizable? We share, uncover, think, and learn more.


SMoCA Discovery Tour

The SMoCA Discovery Tour is an hour-long exploration of SMoCA’s rotating exhibitions in which visitors gain a greater understanding of how to look at contemporary art through inquiry and in-gallery activities.

Length: one hour
Grades: best for grades 5 and up
Capacity: 30 students
Cost: Free for schools, youth groups, and higher education students with school ID


SMoCA Discovery Tour + Workshop

Delve deeper into the topics discussed in the Discovery Tour with an additional one-hour workshop experience that explores artistic process and materials through hands-on activities.

Length: two hours
Grades: best for grades 5 and up
Capacity: 45 students
Cost: $5 per student for schools, youth groups, and higher education students with school ID


SMoCA Discovery Tour + Public Art Sensory Experience

Best for larger groups! Explore the Scottsdale Public Art Permanent Collection with an additional one-hour experience of the sculptures located just outside SMoCA at Scottsdale Civic Center.  

Note: Public Art experience is available depending on weather conditions.

Length: two hours
Grades: best for grades 5 and up
Capacity: 45 students
Cost: free for schools, youth groups, and higher education students with school ID


SMoCA school tours sponsored by:


SMoCA Museum Program/Tour Request Form

Note: Field trips are offered Tuesday–Thursday, from 9–11:30 a.m. in one- or two-hour time slots. Please consider this when choosing dates and times.

Time Scheduling

Select the tour/s that you are most interested in:
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Preferred Start Time:
Note: SMoCA Discovery Tours + Workshop and SMoCA Discovery Tour + Public Art Sensory Experience require two hours and can only be started at 9 a.m. or 9:30 a.m.

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