Thunderbird Artists and the City of Surprise Unite to Launch the Surprise Fine Art & Wine Festival on Feb. 18-20

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Beginning on Friday, Feb. 18, more than 75 juried artists will descend on the Surprise Recreation Campus in Surprise, Ariz., to mark the debut of Thunderbird ArtistsÂ? Surprise Fine Art & Wine Festival.

Beginning on Friday, Feb. 18, more than 75 juried artists will descend on the Surprise Recreation Campus in Surprise, Ariz., to mark the debut of Thunderbird Artists’ Surprise Fine Art & Wine Festival.

The three-day festival will include more than 75 juried artists from around the country displaying in excess of 4,000 pieces of art in mediums such as oil on canvas, watercolors, acrylics and mixed media paintings. Furthermore, an extensive selection of unique jewelry, photography and pottery, as well as sculptures made from bronze, copper, clay, glass, metal and wood will be on exhibit.

The featured artist for the event is Carol Cunningham of Estes Park, Colo. A sculptor in clay and bronze for more than 25 years, Cunningham’s art is characterized by a strong interest in capturing the inner action of wildlife – especially horses – and children. Her artistic pieces range in size from miniature to monumental and are on permanent display at locations in Colorado, Kentucky and Maryland, as well as internationally in Poland. Cunningham will soon unveil a permanent display of her life-size sculpture “First Love” in Fountain Hills, Ariz.

The Surprise festival is Thunderbird Artists’ first-ever show in the West Valley. Mark Coronado, director of community and recreation service for the city of Surprise, was responsible for bringing the festival to Surprise and sees this event as a good way to introduce a new audience to the rapidly growing region. “I had attended one of the Carefree shows and was impressed with the diversity of the artists that were there and with the quality. After talking with several of the artists and people who were attending the event, I recognized that many people were from out of town,” he said.

Not only will the Surprise Recreation Campus venue offer an enjoyable art-viewing experience, but the surrounding attractions provide festival patrons with a variety of relaxing activities. The 200-acre facility has a state-of-the-art aquatics center, a regional library, and a 50-acre community park with a 5-acre urban fishing lake.

The festival will also highlight an extensive collection of fine wines – both domestic and imported – and a microbrewery will be on site supplying a broad collection of premium beers. For $10, patrons will receive an engraved souvenir wine glass and tasting tickets, providing a unique opportunity to sample premium flavors from around the world.

As a way to give back to the Surprise community, Thunderbird Artists is joining with the city to raise funds for the Surprise Sundancers, a local nonprofit volunteer group. Money raised from the festival will assist with building a multiuse athletic facility to meet the needs of mentally and physically challenged individuals in Surprise and nearby communities.

Admission into the festival is $2 and parking is free. The Surprise Recreation Campus is located at 15930 N. Bullard Ave. (between Bell and Greenway roads). More information about the festival is available by visiting

About Thunderbird Artists

Founded in 1981 by Judi Combs, Thunderbird Artists is based in Fountain Hills, Ariz., and specializes in the production of outdoor fine art festivals and wine tasting events. During the past 24 years, the company has produced more than 260 fine art events throughout the Southwest, attracting millions of patrons who share in an interest of fine art by some of the country’s most talented artists. All artists who display their work at each event are selected using a juried process to ensure consistent quality. For more information on upcoming events, featured artists or to download an application to become a merchant at a future show, visit


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Denise Colter