December 31st, 2012 - 04:48 PM
Sedona has always been a place of art. Artists are drawn here by its natural beauty.
The history of Sedona artists is not all about red rocks and sunsets and rainbows, however.
Sedona art is as varied as any art on the American scene today. Sedona has two faces: the
faces of its famous and very beautiful red rocks, and secondly, the faces of its artists.
The red rocks will be here for millions more years. The second face of Sedona will not.
We have had many famous artists in Sedona. They have been nationally, even internationally
known. Two well-known Sedona artists could not have been more different. The first was
surrealist Max Ernst, whose style harkens back, some say, all the way to Hieronymus Bosch.
Joe Beeler is known in Sedona for taking part in the creation of the Cowboy Artists of America.
This is about as representational as one can get in the art world. The divergence in these two
styles is huge, and the divergence across Sedona artists today is just that great.
Sedona is the only art destination of over 1,000 in population that does not have an art museum,
yet we have had, and continue to have, some of the best visual artists in the world living and
working here. Where will one find the work of Joe Beeler or a Max Ernst 10 years from now?
SAGA is working toward the creation of a Sedona Art Museum that will archive the art of our
best artist from the past and the present. Moving in that direction, we are creating a video
archive of Sedona visual artists telling their stories. The number is small so far, but we will soon
have videos of artists in SAGA and of artists who have done something signficant for the Sedona
Visual Artists' Coalition. These videos will themselves be donated to a Sedona Art Museum (SAM)
when it comes into existence.
We believe a vibrant, exciting art community is key to improving Sedona's reputation as an art
destination. Part of that occurs when there is a museum. Taos, according to its Chamber of
Commerce, has half the population of Sedona, and six art museums. Though some of these are small,
in comparison, Sedona has no way to archive its best visual artists. A highly participatory SAM would
become a destination in Sedona where families could learn about petroglyphs and pictographs, where
art buyer could find artists they like and be given information as to where their work is being sold.
More than anything else, having SAM in Sedona would push the bar of quality for all Sedona visual artists.