Happy Holidays! I can’t believe the holiday season is full upon us. It seems like just yesterday we were wrapping up the Plein Air Festival!
This week we open the Big Gay Art Show (BGAS). While the Big Gay Art Show has been held at the Arts Center for many years, this is the first time the show is “ours”. Sedona Pride developed and organized the show for many years and only held the exhibit at the Arts Center. They reached out to us shortly after I arrived here and offered us the program. We jumped on it! Typically, BGAS has been held over the Fourth of July weekend, lasting only a few days. And while we had planned on doing the same, our schedule, with other programming already planned, did not allow us to do that. By moving it to December, we could actually have the show up longer and coordinate it with Celebrate Sedona.
The Big Gay Art Show opens on December 7 with Celebrate Sedona from 4-6PM. The entertainment for Celebrate Sedona this month is a Holiday Drag Show. The performers are coming from Vegas and it should be a great time for all. The art in this exhibit features work from across the country. The call for artists was open to anyone and we received well over a hundred submissions. The stories behind each piece are extremely compelling and we think this is some of the best art we’ve exhibited in recent history. Submissions came from LGBTQ+ persons and their allies. The show closes on December 22 so if you can’t come next week, it will be open – as long as we have personnel to Gallery sit – Monday through Saturday 10AM – 5PM and Sunday 12PM – 5PM. Some of those times may vary so it’s best to call ahead and make sure the show is open prior to your visit.
Yes, we are still short-staffed but it seems like this is the way of the world. We are somewhat stuck at the moment anyway as we’d hoped to be in our new offices shortly after the first of the year. And we simply don’t have room for additional staff in our current space. But everything with construction is delayed these days so I’m not even going to speculate when the move will be made. Let’s just say we are progressing forward – just not very quickly.
We are also still working on our Campus Master Plan. We’ve received some ideas and numbers and are laying the groundwork for making it all happen. This will be a multi-year project and also future-changing for the Arts Center and our region.
We have exciting plans for Vision & Sound: An African American Experience, which will open on February 1. But also mark your calendars for February 10 & 11, when we will be holding a day-and-a-half long Symposium exploring the art of this year’s exhibit tied in with ADEI conversations, awareness building and training. We are working very closely this year with the ASU Center for the Study of Race & Democracy and their Director, Dr. Lois Brown and her staff. She is terrific and we are thrilled to be partnering!
We are also partnering with the Museum of Northern Arizona (MNA) on a series of facilitated discussions around cultural appropriation. A few months back, I was looking for ANY arts organization/museum/etc. that had a policy on Cultural Appropriation. After finding nothing through a google search, I called MNA and one of my contacts at the National Endowment for the Arts who were also unaware of any organization with this type of policy. While the US Department of the Interior has very clear laws around specific types of cultural appropriation, nothing really applied to organizations. This is a very sensitive subject and MNA was also interested in exploring it further. So we are partnering on a funding request and hope to conduct these discussions next fall. Our ultimate goal is to issue a joint statement/policy that can perhaps be a model for other arts organizations here and across the country. Stay tuned for more.
On a lighter note, we now have almost our entire Gallery up online. So if you can’t make your way to Uptown, please check out items here: https://sedonaartscenter.org/product-category/fine-art/
I’m sure we have something to make your holiday just a little bit brighter!
In the meantime, stay healthy – stay safe – and have a wonderful holiday season. Please come see us soon!
Julie A. Richard