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3/26/2012 9:01:00 AM
Sedona artists to star in SAGA Open Exhibition
“Collage of Open Exhibition Artworks” (SAGACollage)
“Collage of Open Exhibition Artworks” (SAGACollage)

Most people need no excuses to see an excellent art show. But for those who need them, here are a few.

SAGA, Sedona's professional visual artists organization, is hosting one of the best competitive art exhibitions in Arizona, being judged by Jerry Smith, Curator of American Art and Western American Art at the Phoenix Art Museum.

The Open Exhibition is at the Amara Resort in Uptown Sedona from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 29 and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 30.

The Reception and Awards Ceremony, in which Smith will talk about the quality of the work and give the Best of Show Award, is on March 30, from 5 to 7 p.m.

Smith has selected 33 artworks for the show from 99 entries in Ceramics, Glass, Drawing, Painting, Photography, Sculpture, Wood and Textiles/Fibers which were submitted by many of Sedona's noted artists. Jerry Smith received his Bachelors and Master's Degrees in Art History from Arizona State University, has completed Ph.D. studies at the University of Kansas, and is finishing work on his dissertation, Auto-America: The Automobile and American Art, c. 1900-1950, with an anticipated defense in Spring 2012.

As curator, Smith has introduced numerous works into the collection and has overseen several exhibitions, including In Contemporary Rhythm: The Art of Ernest L. Blumenschein, for which he was a co-organizer and catalog contributor, as well as for 2010's Cézanne and American Modernism, for which he wrote on "Cézanne and the American West." Most recently, he organized the first The West Select exhibition, an annual Phoenix Art Museum fundraiser, featuring contemporary Western American Art.

Artists selected for the Exhibition are: Gail Bessette, M.L. Coleman, Vickie Currie, Mary Dove, Nancy McKinney, Peter Nelson, Sharron Porter, Barbara Ragalyi, Frederico Valdez and Karlene Voepel (painting); Wendy Bialek-Kling and Betty Kaufman (textiles/fiber); Jerry Buley, Monika Hilleary, Al Judge, Katie Love, Georgia Michalicek, Merrill Roberts and Barbara Vickers (photography); Lou Cohen, Mariann Leahy, Jan Oden, P.Ronald Schneider and Bert Garrison (sculpture); and Csaba Martonyi (photography and sculpture).

"The SAGA," a glass and wood sculpture, will be awarded to winning artists, along with monetary awards. Linda Goldenstein, owner of Goldenstein Gallery, and other local dignitaries will present the awards. All artists accepted into the Exhibition will receive a copy of the exhibition catalog called "SAGA Best Artists of Sedona 2012," available for sale during and after the Award Ceremony.

A portion of all sales goes to the SAGA Fund to Create a Sedona Art Museum. All visitors during the show will be asked to pick their favorite art piece in the "Peoples' Choice" award. The winning artists will be announced during the Award Ceremony.  

One lucky visitor to the exhibition that evening will win artwork donated by one of the SAGA artists in a random drawing from entries in the "People's Choice" Award.  

Sedona guitarist Peter Zins will play before and during the reception and award ceremony.

The Amara Resort also has a continuous contemporary art display with pieces by such professional SAGA Artists as abstract painters, Jack Durrwachter and Barbara Ragalyi, photographers Jerry Buley and Barbara Vickers and sculptor Fuller Barnes whose whimsical sculptures meet the tenor or our times. At the Exhibition, Dale Gannon, General Manager of The Amara, will be presenting "The Amara Award for Contemporary Art."

Jerry Buley, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus from ASU Main (Communication), retired and moved to Sedona in 2005 and now is Founding President of SAGA. As Buley puts it, "Things are happening in the art world in Sedona. An exciting change has occurred. There are regular salons on art and philosophy, artists are getting excited about their art and their city. Artists elsewhere are catching that excitement and want to be a part of it. Art shows and exhibitions are occurring in unusual places like banks, resorts and the airport. Personally, since retiring form ASU and moving to Sedona, I have found some of the best artists in the world live and work in Sedona. The world just doesn't know it... yet. But we are changing that."

As Founding President, Buley is presenting the "Founding President's Award for Traditional Art."

Another art group that started in Sedona, The Cowboy Artists of America, had a tradition that all wanting to be a member of that organization had to be able to rope a steer.

Things have become more genteel in Sedona now. SAGA (Sedona Area Guild of Artists), a professional, juried artists association, asks only that its members be able to tell their story. Some of them will be telling short versions of their stories during the award ceremony.

An observer might learn how SAGA Master Signature Artist, M.L. Coleman, completed a plein aire painting in Paris despite a sudden downpour, or why abstract glass sculptor, Madak Kadam, chose Sedona as his home.

If excuses are needed to see some of the best art in Sedona, here they are.


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