10/4/2011 8:05:00 AM First Friday and Kudos have grown up together
The Sedona Gallery Association has a caliber of professional artists and excellence in fine art. Sedona is on the map as a fine art destination, not just as an arts colony, but a place to come, collect and see amazing art work.
About the same age as Kudos itself, the Sedona Gallery Association's First Friday gallery tour and opening grew up alongside the publication and both prospered.
Something of a "moveable feast," First Friday gathers Sedona visitors and locals alike, often on the Sedona trolley, allowing the gathering to enjoy wine, music and art, without the bother of parking a car.
Actually begun as First Thursday years ago, the Sedona event mimicked the opening night held for galleries in Phoenix, according to veterans who were there at the birth.
One of those is Linda Goldenstein.
"The First Friday gallery tour is a 'signature' event that really showcases the professional art that Sedona offers, for both locals and visitors," said Goldenstein.
"The galleries make a big investment in wine, the music and trolley ride to produce a major show every month. They do that happily because it is a celebration of the fine art we have to offer and it puts forth the best foot professionally.
"Sedona has been an artist's colony for a long, long time. It is different in that we have a school, mentors and teachers and people that are learning. But in the Gallery Association, you have a caliber of professional artists and excellence in fine art. Sedona is on the map as a fine art destination, not just as an arts colony, but a place to come, collect and see amazing art work.
"Locals like to come, because there are always new things at a gallery. It is quite a social event with hundreds coming to my gallery alone. They may know some of the local artists and they see friends. Visitors love it because it is a great thing to do in the evening.
"Kudos has played an integral part in getting the word out about the arts in general. I was so delighted when this publication started. I had been living in Santa Fe and they had one called Pasa Tiempo, like Kudos, telling what you do from Wednesday to Wednesday. I kept thinking, Sedona needs something like this and I was so delighted when Kudos started up in Sedona. As far as First Friday, Kudos has played a really vital role in letting people know about the various artists, what to do, where to go. Kudos has been a great supporter of the First Friday Gallery tour."
"Jerome has a first Saturday and the two openings often fall on the same weekend, so we call that First Weekend and we work with Jerome to promote those. We really let people know, you can have a great time in Sedona at the first Friday and go up to Jerome on Saturday night," said Goldenstein.
"I was at the very beginning for the very first one," recalls James Ratliff. "First Friday does a wonderful service for the local community, to come out in the evening to enjoy the art. Many folks are working during the day and don't have the opportunity, otherwise."
"For the visitor, we are at the mercy of local resorts and hotels, and unless they pick up a Kudos or something, they don't know."
Ratliff has operated the namesake gallery in Sedona for 30 years. "I started my first gallery in Scottsdale in 1964. I was involved in the visual arts straight from high school."
"I have been a little off the mainstream, on the leading edge. I will have been at it 50 years in three more years. I love it. It is the only thing I have ever done."
"My gallery has been in Kudos since it started. It is very beneficial, I think most galleries depend upon Kudos to get the word out and it is well done. Everyone looks forward to Kudos.
Joyce Gere acquired the venerable El Prado Gallery from Don Pierson eight years ago.
"First Friday gives a concierge something to tell people is going on and it also makes a convivial place for locals. You tends to forget what's happens in the neighborhood unless there is something for them to go to, that is free. They make an evening of it, enjoy the art and meet up with friends and have dinner together. It is good for the entire town from a business perspective."
"It builds friendships and that is something lacking in our community. There wasn't enough 'wonder' in the community before.
"There are more members in the Gallery Association now and the trolley makes it very cohesive. It makes it an evening out, not just a place to go."
"A lot of our local patrons look forward to First Friday every month," says Christine Trcic of Mountain Trails Gallery, in Tlaquepaque.
"They put it on their calendar and make a point to come. We have a very savvy, educated art-buying set of people that come and make it really wonderful. They like to mingle with like-minded people who have a deep appreciation and love of art. They are always excited to see what's new and to meet the artists that we are spotlighting, and very often, I am happy to say, purchase new art. It is a very welcoming atmosphere and sometimes we spill it over to Saturday, especially if the artist has traveled a long distance so we have a demonstration on Saturday and meet and greet."
"We have regulars who come to First Friday and its like family. It's an event on everyone's calendar who loves and appreciates fine art. I think it has helped to solidify Sedona as an art destination."
"Out of towners like the evening as well or the concierge make talk it up. It is an event that has grown over the years. And in the high season that is when we place our biggest shows, spring and fall we usually have quite a turnout."
Kudos and the Sedona Art Association look forward to the next 10 years of First Fridays.