|Celebrating 60 Years!
Your Hometown Creative Heart
Sedona Arts Center has been bringing creative people together for the past 60 years. In 1956, a group of creative people decided to turn a small Western town into a place of artistic learning and creative expression—and began offering summer classes in painting, sculpture, and Native American crafts. The population of the area at that time was less than 400 people, most of whom were ranchers, orchard workers, and merchants. They shared a big dream to build a new creative community within the red rock landscape.
In 1958, the Verde Valley School art department head, Egyptian sculptor Nassan Gobran, and a dozen other civic leaders founded the organization that would become Sedona Arts Center. A few years later, with support form the town’s small Chamber of Commerce, we acquired a former apple orchard warehouse that became known as the Art Barn in what is now Uptown Sedona. The first exhibition featured works by Max Ernst and Dorothea Tanning, and the early years included arts education, lectures, exhibitions, film screenings, language and dance classes, and live theatre.
Throughout the 1960s and 70s, the barn and Arts Center became a genuine hub of creative activity, artistic development, cultural events, and community-building. Today, we keep that tradition going and operate an expanded campus, a fine art gallery that represents 110 local artists, and a school that offers over 200 classes and workshops each year. The modern-day Sedona Arts Center also presents innovative collaborative projects like the Business of Art series, Dirty Laundry, Loving Bowls, the 12 x 12 Project, Sedona Ukulele Posse and the Sedona Celebration of Landscape. We also develop and produce global projects like Sedona Summer Colony, Plein Air festivals, and the new Sedona Art Prize.
Now six decades after the first arts experiment, channeling the same bold and fearless dream of creative community, we renew our commitment to creative placemaking in Sedona. We know the power of creative people, unexpected collaborations, togetherness, and efforts that express cultural identity. All of us at Sedona Arts Center are grateful for the past 60 years, and excited about all the creative ideas and projects—like all of the wonderful cultural opportunities listed above—that make Sedona special!