"Working together to foster education and engagement in the arts"
The Future of The Arts in Sedona
Some Notes about What’s Possible
by Jim Peterson
In the inaugural issue of Sedona ArtSource Quarterly (see previous article, below), we introduced you to the Sedona Culture Collaborative’s current direction and activities. These signal a new chapter in our service to the community, and we’re very excited to be implementing them!
But one thing I’m often asked about is our longer term objectives. Where will our current initiatives lead, and what do we hope to accomplish in the community as a result? To answer that, I’d like to share a few thoughts (maybe even a dream or two) about our vision for the future of the arts in Sedona.
I’ll start with an observation about the current state of affairs. One phenomenon I’ve long noted during the 11 years I’ve lived here is that local artists and arts groups tend to be pretty scattered. I don’t mean geographically scattered – we’re all working within the same region, after all. But organizationally, we tend to be quite independent of each other. We might occasionally get together to collaborate on an event or exhibit, but much more commonly we work alone.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, of course. Artists typically want to immerse themselves in their work and avoid distractions, and organizations are usually most effective in meeting their short term goals when their efforts are narrowly focused.
But to identify our community’s needs, the Collaborative has been polling local artists and organizations and researching other communities known for nurturing a vital arts scene. What we have learned from this is that the resources and facilities needed to support arts activities are generally in short supply around here, compared to other locales recognized as notable arts destinations.
Many of us, for example, need more space for our activities - studio space, performance and exhibit spaces, rehearsal and practice spaces, teaching space, and office space. And many individuals and organizations would benefit greatly from increased access to business services (insurance, accounting, legal, ticketing and sales, etc.), assistance with marketing and publicity, fundraising training and support, organizational development, etc.
We believe that needs such as these within the local arts community are not likely to be addressed when everyone works in isolation. Based on our research, we believe that artists, arts groups, and arts-related businesses have the potential to accomplish much more by working together than they are likely to achieve separately. And we’re here to help!
We kicked off our Arts Service Organization initiative (described in our previous article) as a very significant step in bringing more unity and cooperation into our arts community, and we’re taking other important steps in addition.
For example, we’re in discussions with the Sedona Arts Center and SCORE to establish workshops and mentoring programs that will help artists and arts groups address their business and organizational needs. We’ve worked with the Sedona Chamber of Commerce to help identify ways to attract visitors who are interested in our many local arts opportunities. We’re partnering with city government and several performing arts organizations in a working group to help chart the future of the city’s Posse Grounds Hub performing arts space.
And we’re working with other arts groups as well, such as the Sedona Conservatory, the Fine Art Museum of Sedona, Chamber Music Sedona, Sedona Chamber Ballet, and Sedona Camera Club, plus businesses like Creative Gateways, Gandolfo’s Art Studio, and ALT Gallery. We see such collaborations as essential to serving our mission, which is to help make Sedona an internationally recognized destination for education and engagement in the widest possible range of artistic disciplines.
So (back to the original question) what would it look like if our dreams all came true – if we were able to fulfill our mission completely? Let me offer a few examples of what we could have some day:
Institutions and facilities that attract the world’s top artists and teachers across a wide range of artistic endeavors
Performances and exhibits that rival the best anywhere and attract international audiences and accolades
A thriving ecosystem of arts businesses and nonprofit groups that serve the needs of the community, its artists, and its visitors
Available and affordable resources and facilities that allow artists to focus their energy on what they love: creativity
Residency programs, educational and mentoring programs, internships, and other development opportunities that turn out renowned artists and arts managers
A robust partnership between institutions, artists and groups, businesses, foundations and philanthropists, government entities, and volunteers, all working together to sustain a flourishing arts scene that significantly boosts the local economy
Is all of that too much to hope for? We truly don’t think so; we believe that it is, in fact, eminently achievable. It won’t happen overnight, of course, and it certainly won’t be handed to us on a silver platter. But if the many fine and talented individuals and groups in our community really come together to support this vision, there’s nothing that will stop us!
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To learn more about the Sedona Culture Collaborative or to get involved in its exciting projects and activities, contact Jim Peterson at 928-554-4340 or President@sedonacollaborative.org.
Jim Peterson is President of the Sedona Culture Collaborative.
A New Arts Initiative in Sedona
Sedona Culture Collaborative Launches Arts Services Program
by Pam Frazier, Winnie Muench, Carol Gandolfo, and Jim Peterson
So, you’ve heard of the Sedona Culture Collaborative, right? And you know what it’s all about, correct?
Well, hang on – things are changing! It’s not the same old SCC any more. Here’s what’s we’ve been brewing up...
First, a bit of background: The Sedona Culture Collaborative is a nonprofit organization composed of arts leaders in the Sedona community who would like to help our city live up to its motto: “A city animated by the arts.” SCC’s goal is to put Sedona’s vibrant arts community on the global map as a destination for education and engagement in the arts—performing arts, visual arts, literary arts, culinary arts, and the humanities. In other words, the entire spectrum of the arts.
Initially formed several years ago, SCC has been slow and deliberate in defining its vision. One thing was always clear: we want to benefit artists and arts organizations, not compete with them. And it would be nice to soften the boundaries of individual silos and see artists and arts organizations gain strength by combining their efforts, when appropriate.
To help define SCC’s niche, we conducted two surveys of artists and arts organizations in Sedona and held two public forums. The first aimed to determine whether our goal of collaborating to grow arts education was supported by the arts community. The answer was Yes, 100 percent. The second was to determine what area artists need in order to become more visible, excel in their respective genres, and expand educational opportunities for themselves and others.
SCC’s niche clicked into focus. It was through the work of our Visioning Task Force that we defined our target. The best and most efficient way to support artists and arts organizations is to establish the Sedona Culture Collaborative as an arts service organization (ASO). It is our goal to increase public awareness of, engagement with, and support for the arts in Sedona. It will take time, but we are developing:
A directory of artists and arts organizations in the greater Sedona area, so that they can find each other easily, and visitors wanting an arts experience during their trip can find individual opportunities by genre.
In collaboration with Sedona Chamber of Commerce, a centralized calendar of events.
A centralized ticketing service
A directory of spaces available for studios, teaching classrooms and lecture facilities, rehearsals, performances, and exhibits
Access to specialized software and tech support needed by artists and arts groups
An organized pool of volunteers
Instruction in business skills related to the arts
Dissemination of information such as the economic impact of the arts in the community
Discussion and networking groups and events
A recent study by the Boston Foundation ascertained that, “Because arts service organizations collaborate and network across sectors, other constituents are often served by and benefit from the work of ASOs.” They further maintained that Arts Service Organizations are, in many ways, gems of the cultural ecosystem. They play an important role in supporting the work of artists, nonprofits, and arts communities in developing the sector’s cohesion and ability to meet its collective needs.
To learn more about the Sedona Culture Collaborative or to get involved in its exciting projects and activities, contact President Jim Peterson at 928-554-4340 or President@sedonacollaborative.org.
Jim Peterson is the President of the Board of Sedona Culture Collaborative, Carol Gandolfo is the Vice President, Pam Frazier is the Secretary, and Winnie Muench is the Treasurer.
Sedona Culture Collaborative Charters Two Task Forces
Sedona Culture Collaborative President Jim Peterson has ushered in a new phase in the group’s activities by naming prominent arts leaders to two community Task Forces. Coordinating with the SCC Board, the two task forces will work to fulfill SCC’s mission to facilitate making Sedona a national and international destination for arts education and engagement.
To serve this goal, the two task forces have two very distinct charters. Both will make use of data the Collaborative has already gathered from the community by conducting two revealing surveys plus hosting a public discussion forum last year.
Russell Fox, Kate Hawkes, Winnie Meunch, John Warren Oakes, Jim Romberg, Brynn Unger and Jim Peterson constitute the organization’s Visioning Task Force. This task force is chartered to develop a shared vision for the future of both performing and fine arts education and engagement in our community.
They are presently researching and contacting arts organizations in other well-established arts destination cities to coalesce and outline a model for future facilities and coordination of activities in the greater Sedona arts community. They will then canvass a wide range of local arts groups and leaders to identify how artists and organizations in all disciplines can work together to develop venues, resources and programs that would otherwise not be possible.
The organization’s Directory Task Force, meanwhile, is charged with developing and maintaining a directory of arts education offerings and available spaces in the area. Its members include Carol Gandolfo, Ted Devalt, Ken Rowe, Rick Gandolfo, Laura Bloomenstein, Wayne St. John and Pam Frazier. They have already met twice and are busy researching the many arts education opportunities in our community and designing the layout and digital format for the directory. They are also developing a proposal for how the directory will be funded, disseminated and kept up to date.
To align the efforts of the Collaborative with those of the government and business sectors, Peterson recently began meeting with Nancy Lattanzi, the City of Sedona’s Arts and Culture Coordinator, and Jennifer Wesselhoff, President/CEO of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau. Both agree that the Collaborative’s activities are very much in keeping with the objectives and initiatives of their respective organizations.
"I am excited to learn about the new task forces created by the Sedona Culture Collaborative,” observes Lattanzi. “Their efforts will enhance community building in many creative sectors. It is significant when artistic nonprofits not only envision, but work to implement and elevate, our vision for Sedona as ‘a city animated by the arts’.”
“The arts are a catalyst for creativity, connection, inspiration and community enhancements – all of which help Sedona to be a richer community,” notes Wesselhoff. “We are committed to elevating the arts in Sedona, and we look forward to working with the Sedona Culture Collaborative to continue to position Sedona as a world class arts destination.”
The purpose of the Sedona Culture Collaborative is to facilitate the growth and development of the arts in the Sedona area. As Peterson puts it, “The SCC does nothing for itself or by itself. Our mission is to help other groups and the community as a whole work together to accomplish, through collaboration, things that they’re unable to achieve separately.”
Sedona Artists Pack the House
at Collaborative Forum
“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” -Henry Ford
On Thursday evening, November 10th, over 80 artists, educators, and arts supporters “packed the house” at the Yavapai College Sedona campus. At a public forum hosted by the Sedona Culture Collaborative, they began the process of incubating ideas on growing and enhancing arts education in Sedona.
In addition to gathering ideas across the full range of artistic disciplines, the forum also unveiled the results of a second survey conducted by the Collaborative to assess current arts education offerings in the area.
“It was an amazing event,” said Rob Adams, President of the Collaborative. “We had top local creators in most art genres working together for a common purpose. And the ideas they generated will provide the foundation for future program development.”
Russell Fox, former conductor of the Verde Valley Sinfonietta, opened the evening with a brief history of the Collaborative and its goals. He then revealed the results of the group’s latest survey, outlining “the big picture” of the arts education programs and classes presently available in the Sedona area.
“The scope of arts classes and programs has never before been collated,” said Fox. “We need to understand what we have before we can determine where the opportunities exist for growth and enrichment.”
Four more speakers followed. James Perey, Dean of the Verde Valley Campus of Yavapai College, Dave Lykins, Superintendent of the Sedona/Oak Creek Unified School District, Eric Holowacz, Director of the Sedona Arts Center, and Nancy Lattanzi, Arts & Culture Coordinator for the City of Sedona all spoke about their visions for growing and enhancing arts education in their respective sectors.
The audience was then invited to visit twelve breakout tables hosted by well-known artists representing various genres of the arts. The discussions focused on the resources and partnerships needed to achieve the Collaborative’s mission, which is to “establish Sedona as an internationally recognized learning community for arts education.”
At the conclusion of this discussion, the table hosts summarized the many ideas they collected. The Sedona Chamber Ballet Company then treated the audience to a very well-received children’s dance presentation previewing upcoming performances of The Nutcracker.
“The Collaborative has taken a giant leap forward in understanding the scope of what arts education programming currently exists in the Sedona area, and what sort of action plans we need to take to achieve our mission,” concluded Adams. “We are now working together towards success.”
SEDONA CULTURE COLLABORATIVE CONDUCTS SURVEY
TO ENHANCE ARTS EDUCATION
The Sedona Arts and Culture Collaborative is on a mission: “to establish the Greater Sedona Area as an internationally recognized learning community for arts and culture education.” The group, composed of artists, non-profit organizations, educators, civic leaders and arts supporters is focused on enhancing and growing arts education programming in the Greater Sedona area.
The Collaborative hosted a forum on April 21st 2016 to create awareness of the mission and to share the results of a survey that was conducted in 2015. Rob Adams, a former Mayor of Sedona is the chairperson. Adams states, “While I was the Mayor, I repeatedly heard the arts community complain that Sedona was not living up to the city vision statement that describes our community as a city that is animated by the arts. I also noticed that artists and arts organizations were essentially working in silos and not sharing information. I decided to create an organization that would facilitate dialogue and collaboration between artists. I believe that if we work together, we can be much more successful in achieving goals that will benefit the arts community and our greater communities as well.”
An “incubator team” was created in 2014 to determine a common goal that the arts community would collectively support. After a year of discussions, the team determined that the best strategy for “growing” the arts was through greatly enhanced opportunities for arts education, both in the school districts and the public sectors.
In order to determine the level of support in the arts community for developing arts education programming, the Collaborative created and distributed a survey in 2015. The survey was then sent out to approximately 120 artists and/or arts organizations. RESULTS: Approximately 80 responses were received. To the delight of the Collaborative, almost 100% of the respondents agreed that Sedona would be “enriched through arts collaboration with the goal of creating enhanced and expanded arts education programming.”
Encouraged by finding a goal that is widely supported, the Collaborative has created a second survey to research and determine the arts education classes/programming that currently exists in the Greater Sedona area. “Nobody knows what the big picture is,” says Adams. “There are many arts classes and programs, but there has never been a compilation of all of the arts education opportunities in our community.”
The new survey, about to be completed and distributed, will be sent out via email to an extensive list of artists and arts supporters in the near future. Anyone who offers an arts education class/program, but does not receive a survey via email is encouraged to participate in the Education Survey. One click will direct you to the survey website. “It is critical that all artists/organizations who offer educational programming respond to this survey”, continues Adams. “We want to get an accurate picture of what is offered in the greater Sedona area. We will then collate this information and determine where opportunities exist for additional or enhanced arts education programming.”
Once all of the information is gathered and collated, the Collaborative will facilitate another forum to present the results of this survey. Participants in the forum will then be encouraged to participate in a discussion that will focus on prioritizing action plans that will grow arts education programming. People interested in becoming involved are encouraged to let us know how to reach you.
“The Collaborative is an organization that facilitates dialogue and incubation of ideas”, says Adams. If the arts community truly wants Sedona to be a city that is animated by the arts, the arts community needs to come together and help make that happen. If each of us takes a role in moving toward our mission, there is no doubt that we can be successful. United, we can flourish!”
For more information or questions, please call Jim Peterson at 602-828-7407 or email Jim at .