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ARTISTS Of Sedona is a narrative art, photography history book about artists drawn to live in this dramatically scenic area of northern Arizona. 1930—1999. Author: Gene K. Garrison
ARTISTS Of Sedona is a narrative art history book about successful artists who lived, or currently live, in a beautiful small town called Sedona, in northern Arrizona. It covers an exciting period from 1930 when a young man named Bob Kittredge and his brother, Dan, roared into the area on a Harley Davidson motorcycle. A tiny Asian ape called a gibbon clung to the back of the driver. A baby coyote was tucked away somewhere. Bob became a sculptor of note. His wife, Mary was also an artist.
A dynamic artist from Egypt, Nassan Gobran, set off an explosion of artistic activity. His energy, determination, education and talent changed the direction of the town. An apple-packing barn became the Sedona Arts Center. All sorts of creative classes were held—painting, sculpture, creramics, as well as art shows and plays. It truly became the social center of the area.
The Cowboy Artists of America met at a local bar and formed what became a well respected organization. Joe Beeler, Charlie Dye, George Phippen, and John Hampton made it all happen.
All over town you can see monumental and life-size sculptures by Joyce Killebrew, Susan Kliewer, John Waddell, Clyde Ross Morgan, John M. Soderberg, PhD, James Muir, Leslie B. DeMille who also does potraits, and Ken Rowe.
Paintings by Joella Jean Mahoney, Stephen Juharos, Jeffrey Lunge´, Adele Seronde, Jan Sitts, Bearcloud, M. L. Coleman and a couple of movie poster artists who became fine artists—Zoe Mozert and Frank McCarthy who also qualified as a Cowboy Artist of America member. An outstanding artist in another medium makes her magic happen in glass. Bonnie Burkee is an etcher, phographer, sculptor, and painter. Nancy Robb Dunst is an installation artist.
Gene K. Garrison, a writer with an extensive arts background, has her own ideas abut how to write history. She writes in a narrative, insightful style, and uses anecdotes as well as professional credits to introduce readers to the fine artists of Sedona. She explained it this way: "I try to make it so interesting that even people who ignore art will want to turn the pages." She has done it before in "There's Something About Cave Creek (It's The People)," "Widowhood Happens," "From Thunder to Breakfast," as well as in approximately 560 magazine articles.
I have noticed in my interviews that the great artists knew that they were artists at a very young age. Joella Jean Mahoney was one of them. As a wiry, smart-as-a-whip two-and-a-half-year-old, she discovered mud. "I had this wonderful experience of being able to make something out of nothing. I got in the mud by the basement window and with both hands I smeared it all over. It was so much fun." She grinned, just thinking about it."It showed me that I existed. I also experienced personal power but I didn't know how to describe it."
ARTISTS OF SEDONA (1930—999)
ARTISTS OF SEDONA
Review By James Bishop, Jr.
A culture is only as great as its dreams, and its dreams are dreamed by artists.
— Ron Hubbard (1911 – 1986)
Once upon a time not so long ago Sedona was a dusty little community of folk encircled by awe-inspiring expanses of national and state lands and blessed with sunsets that often dissolve the hardest of hearts. No wonder that artists beginning in the 1930′s arrived from far and wide to create their dreams whether in paint, bronze, wood, music or dance. By 1980 it was widely regarded as a cultural mecca.
Today, the land still thrills and while it is no longer a little town, and tourist buses crowd the streets, many of those artists are here: Joella Jean Mahoney, Susan Kliewer and many others remain to dream dreams that enrich the culture. Gene K. Garrison’s Artists of Sedona 1930-1999, is a long-awaited comprehensive compendium of interesting artists, many still alive, others such as Bob and Mary Kittredge and Nassan Gobran, departed for good.
Says Garrison. “The moment I heard that no one had done a book like this a light went off in my brain.” All habitués of the arts have reason to applaud what that light in her brain created.
Being a veteran researcher myself, I find her research to be classy, packed with good details and anecdotes aplenty. Who put Sedona on the map as an arts village? Roam back to 1958 when Nassan Gobran, an Egyptian teacher, was in Mr. Cecil Lockhart-Smith's jewelry store in what is now uptown. Nearby he heard some business men chatting,"We need something new in Sedona, something different." Gobran broke in. "I have what Sedona needs, the most important industry for Sedona, and that's art. We should start an art center here." By 1961 they did, showing The works of legendary Max Ernst and his as artist wife, Dorothy Tanning." It stands today in uptown, a beacon of creativity.
If stories are the adhesive that keeps communities together, this book demonstrates that whatever has occurred as mayors and politicians and city managers have come and gone, artists' work provides memories of days gone by, whether they have passed on like Joe Beeler, Zoe Mozert and the Kittredges, or loom like Muir and Soderberg and Rowe, and a dozen more. This book is for aspiring artists, as well as the cognoscenti. "If you want to be an artist do, it," Ruth Waddell told author Garrison.
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