Sedona Arts Festival

Writer Lara Piu

This month, Sedona Arts Festival will hold its 27th annual affair in the midst of the city’s breathtaking red rocks. Held Saturday, October 7 and Sunday, October 8 at Sedona Red Rock High School, the festival will boast 125 juried artists set to continuous live music, featuring headliner William Eaton Trio.

And this year, festival organizers will introduce an inaugural juried Fine Art Gallery to the event where more than 80 pieces of original 2- and 3-dimensional art will go on display.

“The Fine Art Gallery is an exciting new way to supplement our giving programs,” Sedona Arts Festival executive director Lori Reinhart says. “We’re thrilled to showcase artists who call Sedona home as well as artists from across the region. It really provides a terrific blend alongside our remarkably diverse and talented roster of artists in the festival.”

In order to participate in the gallery, local and regional artists applied through a juried process to have their paintings, prints, drawings, photography, sculpture, ceramic, fiber and jewelry to be offered for sale in the Fine Art Gallery tent. A portion of the proceeds from the gallery will benefit Sedona Arts Festival’s scholarships and grants program, which financially supports art education in the greater Sedona area. Since the festival’s inception in 1989, nearly $300,000 has been distributed to arts education groups as well as to graduating seniors pursuing higher education in the arts.

The showcase of the festival will be the more than 100 artists competing from across the U.S. to be named Best of Show.

Previous Best of Show winners and their art will be featured, like the glasswork of Scott Thompson from Apache Junction ( and the work of scientist-meets-artist, Lee Hendrickson of Goodyear (

Lee began combining his science and art backgrounds more than 10 years ago. His photographs of nature’s patterns are taken through a microscope and provide a unique perspective on the wonders of natural design hidden to the naked eye. He enjoys interacting with art enthusiasts at the show.

“What an amazingly beautiful setting for a show,” Lee exclaims. “Over the years we have built a loyal and enthusiastic following of both Sedona residents, who are very supportive of the arts, and the visitors who make the show a part of their vacation itinerary. The quality of art and artists is always special and the show really is about art and an opportunity to share our artist story.”

Lee recently began collaboration with Rinekwall, Inc. to launch their microcrystalline collection featuring his photographs, and this year his work is on display at the Phoenician Resort. In 2016 Lee was named a Sedona Arts Festival Best of Show winner.

“It’s always an honor to win an award at an art show, as there are so many deserving artists,” Lee says. “Fellow artists as well as the show attendees are highly appreciative of my art, but having the acknowledgment of one’s peers through a show award makes the often tedious artist journey a little easier.”

Festival colleague, 2016 Best in Show winner and glass artist, Scott Thompson, who is based out of Phoenix, agrees.

“I love participating in art shows because it allows me to connect with my customers and hear their reaction to my art, but to have fellow artists deem you worthy of Best in Show is a real honor,” Scott explains. “The mayor of Sedona was on hand to present a beautiful handmade ribbon and then an award ceremony is held later on the stage. They really know how to make you feel extra special!”

Hand-blown glass marbles of all sizes are Scott’s signature glass art. He also creates commissioned memorial pieces that incorporate the ashes of a loved one or pet. And while the show is popular with art lovers, he adds that it’s exceptional from the artist’s perspective as well.

Previous Best of Show winners on display will include the ceramics of Jeff and Donna Tousley from Rio Rico, Arizona; Virginia Kerr from Phoenix who works in fiber; the drawings of Michael McKee of Fountain Hills; Denver’s Tim Mooney and his paintings; the metal art of Melissa Hollis of Hayden, Idaho; as well as Duane Maktima of Glorieta, New Mexico, who was the 2016 Overall Best of Show honoree for his handcrafted precious metal jewelry.

In addition to the art, the festival will have food vendors, raffle prizes, a gallery of locally produced kitchen and bath items, and an interactive KidZone, which gives children 12 and under the chance to create their own masterpieces with help from local artists. The make-and-take art projects will be available at no cost thanks to the generous support of the Arizona Community Foundation of Sedona.

Tickets admit event-goers for both days and can be purchased for $10 on the festival website. Admission at the gate is $12. Children 12 and under are admitted free with an adult. Coupons for a $2 discount, which can be obtained at local hotels, the Sedona Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center and various local businesses, may be used at the gate.

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