Inspired by the natural beauty of Sedona, Egyptian sculptor, Nassan Gobran and a group of local visionaries recognized the need for a place where artists could work, teach, and learn together. In 1958, they established Sedona’s first art center, “Canyon Kiva.” They purchased the old Jordan Apple Packing Barn, now known as the Art Barn, which quickly became the community’s creative and social hub.
During the early 60s Sedona was rich with artists, city refugees, and entrepreneurs who foresaw the area’s potential and participated in its development. Through all the dramatic growth and demographic changes, the Arts Center remained one of the cultural constants, even though it experienced its own series of changes.
In 1961, the name was changed to Sedona Arts Center and officially re-opened with a celebration attended by 300 guests. 1994 was a year of expansion with the addition of a new building to house an art gallery, classroom space, and the community theatre, which was founded in 1970. In 2001 the mission was redefined to focus primarily on education through the School of the Arts and gallery exhibitions of the visual arts. The School of the Arts has become a catalyst for creative development for students of all ages, from the very young through the golden years of life.
In 2021, the Arts Center began a new phase in its developement. Emerging out of a worldwide pandemic, a new vision, mission, and strategic plan maintains our commitment to the arts education, but expands our role in the community, region, and nation as a leader in the arts development. The completion of a Campus Master Plan in 2023 is focusing attention on long-neglected facilities while improving an enviroment where artists can flourish.
Today the Sedona Arts Center is a rich legacy of the founders’ vision. As one of Northern Arizona’s oldest 501(c) 3 nonprofit organizations it continues to be a gathering place where artists and the community can gather and celebrate all that Sedona has to offer.
Our vision is that Sedona is a center for Excellence in the Arts
Our mission is to connect, enrich, educate and lead through the inspiring power of the arts and creative discovery.
Our Values are for our organizational culture to be:
- Innovative – Always advancing excellence
- Agile – Resilient amidst changing situations
- Inclusive – Welcoming of diverse people and perspectives
- Colaborative – Cultivating generosity and community spirit
- Transparent – Deserving of trust
- Respectful – Being mindful and purposeful with each other
- Grounded – Energized by our unique sense of place