The Palette of Sedona – An Artist’s Mecca
Spires of sun-struck red rocks; fringes of green forest and eye-searing azure skies create an instant painting. Sedona, ever-changing in the light, has mesmerized artists, challenging them to capture its splendor. It lured Max Ernst, a surrealist painter and sculptor, to this undiscovered hideaway in 1950. Other artists and writers have followed ever since.
Today, Sedona is home to over 200 artists of every medium and aesthetic bent. It is an art community of ruggedly individualistic expression, from cutting-edge contemporary to visionary, Native American to modern realism. This burgeoning level of cultural activity helped foster Sedona’s reputation as a destination. Sedona now rivals Santa Fe and Scottsdale in its richness of the arts.
Where there is art, there are galleries and more than 40 exhibit a wide spectrum of Southwestern, Western and Native American arts. The galleries showcase contemporary, representational and traditional artists who are known nationally and internationally. This creates a full calendar of openings, artist receptions, demonstrations and workshops to keep the art aficionado entertained year ’round.
In 1965, the Cowboy Artists of America was founded in Sedona by four western artists who were as handy with a horse as they were with a paint brush. Joe Beeler, Charlie Dye, John Hampton and George Phippen formalized the organization while at the “local watering hole.” The result is an annual show, now held in Phoenix, which draws thousands of people from around the world who appreciate the earth-bound beauty of this popular genre of painting and sculpture.
The Sedona Sculpture Walk, a three-day event which occurs in the fall, has achieved national recognition. More than 100 participating artists, from all over the U.S., represent every aspect of the arts, from miniatures to monumental-size sculptures. Also held in the fall is the Sedona Arts Festival, an arts and craft fair.
The Sedona Arts Center provides regular exhibits, and its workshops offer instruction in both fine and applied arts and crafts. The Center’s Community Theater group and the Actors Repertory Theatre stage first-rate productions.
A varied calendar of classical music programs is offered in Sedona, with gifted performers from the Phoenix Symphony, Flagstaff Symphony, Sedona Chamber Music Society and the Verde Valley Concert Association. Pop, rock and jazz concerts are also available. The annual autumn production of “Jazz on the Rocks” attracts nearly 5,000 visitors and has featured noted headliners such as Nancy Wilson, Dizzy Gillespi, and Diane Shure.