Sedona AZ (January 13, 2017) – In the words of Friedrich Nietzsche, “The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.” I am grateful to live in a place filled with an abundance of diverse and talented artists and have their inspiring work cross my path daily.
As we strive to honor our vision statement, “to be a city that is animated by the arts,” I am happy to report our arts and culture programs continue to grow more spirited, with a powerful start to 2017.
We begin this year offering special recognition and gratitude to Linda Goldenstein for her generous gift to place 17 magnificent sculptures in our City Hall plaza, bringing a wealth of creative art for all to enjoy. Be sure to visit our bronze sculpture garden consisting of a Wheel of Compassion, three monumental and six life-size pieces, as well as eight interactive bells. The sculptures have been created by notable artists James Muir, David Phelps, Sherab Khandro and Cheston Trammel.
The City Hall art Rotation program has been restructured and begins the year by showing three artists within each location, giving the exhibit more of a gallery feel. We start the year featuring the strikingly bold paintings created by Clark Sheppard, pointillism-based ethereal butterflies and dragonflies designed by Khandro and wondrous photography captured by Jim Peterson. This significant display runs through the end of March.
It is important to acknowledge the local artists that performed before City Council for our monthly Moment of Art in 2016. Creative journalist JoHanna McNamee assembled a collage based on council’s wishes for the new year. Councilman Jon Thompson performed a poetry reading based on his work. We viewed an astounding spring slide show by photographer Derek Von Briesen. Mask-maker Pash Galbavy engaged us with performance art for Earth Day. Michael Kollwitz entertained us with his rare talent playing the Chapman Stick. Beverly Copen shared her diverse images as we saw the world through her unique lens.
City Executive Assistant Dianne Springfield captivated us with her rendition of “Summertime” on the cello. Painter/photographer Jody Florman inspired us by sharing how she creates her exquisite paintings. City Accounting Supervisor Derrick Beracy sang a song he wrote on guitar titled, “Racin’ A Storm.” Artistic Director Nichole Garrison presented work from her new company, Take Flight Repertory Theatre. Actors included Christina Kiepper, Jan Rominger and Michael Rende with a comedic scene from “Wanda’s Visit.” We concluded the year with a special performance by our City Manager Justin Clifton, who sang and played a Tony Lucca song, “Darlin’ I” on guitar. Thanks to all for sharing these wonderful creative moments with us.
The new school year brings a robust interest in our Artist in the Classroom program, with over 30 accomplished artists enrolled, of which 12 are new to the program. The annual orientation was informative, as well as filled with passion. Everyone shared personal experiences about how they awaken creative joy in students and how rewarding this work is. This city-funded program reaches approximately 1,275 students locally.
The school year began with Joan Bourque and Art Gecko working with Sedona Charter School students painting their outdoor mural, which depicts the Five Montessori Life Lessons. Galbavy led a mask-making workshop at Sedona Red Rock High School, where students explored identity. Other classes to come include creating Southwest art, iPhone photography, poetry, writing, acting, improvisation, dramatic monologue, cartooning, journalism, tile murals, web design, music and dance.
The long-awaited Mayors Arts Awards now has enough nominations to support the event. We look forward to awarding four categories: Individual, organization or business, education and lifetime achievement, each honoring outstanding contributions to the success of the arts in Sedona. Planning begins early this year and the event will be held at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre on Thursday, May 4.
To quote Paul Cezanne, “Art is a harmony parallel with nature.” To be of service fostering creativity and helping artists flourish, while living in this spectacular environment, is certainly something to be grateful for. This is not a job, but a joy. Wishing you a happy new year and may your creative soul always be fed.