Art Blog

Sedona Arts Center and Verde Valley School Invite Creative People from Around the World to a New American Residency Program for Artists and Cultural Managers

Something magical is happening in the high desert landscape of Northern Arizona. In the geological expanses of Sedona, there’s a powerful form of creative energy pulsating from the red rock vortexes—and at its core is new cultural production and support for the creative process. Sedona Arts Center and Verde Valley School have opened applications for the 2017 Sedona Summer Colony, and encourage artists, creative producers, and cultural managers to apply and be part of this new energy source.

Last June, the two Northern Arizona organizations established Sedona Summer Colony as a 21st century residency in the high elevation desert. The inaugural program, specifically designed to support creative development and cultural output, hosted over 125 artists from as far away as Hobart, Tasmania and Manitoba, Canada. Hundreds of Sedona residents volunteered, hosted receptions, guided excursions and tours, and helped the initiative grow into something extraordinary. 

“Ever since artists Max Ernst and Dorothea Tanning landed here in the late 1940s and set up a rustic studio to live and work, Sedona has been a place for new creative inspiration and community building,” said co-founder and Sedona Arts Center executive director, Eric Holowacz. “With this new initiative, we go back to our roots, and the visionary idea of nurturing a bold new creative community.”

The partnership recently announced the 2017 program, which will run from June 28 to August 5, and applications are now open to artists, performers, creative content producers, and cultural managers everywhere. Complete details can be found at or by calling Sedona Arts Center at (928) 282-3809 or Verde Valley School at (928) 284-2272.

The model for Sedona Summer Colony was inspired by original residency programs like Yaddo, MacDowell, Hambidge Center, Villa Montalvo in California, and the American Academy in Rome. Those organizations—emerging from the early 20th century—were built upon a strong belief in the power of interdisciplinary associations of artists and the benefit of time and space to develop new things. Their founders built communities based on the regular gathering of cultural visionaries, the provision of creative resources, and the sharing of meals, excursions, spontaneous interaction, and daily life.

“Our point of difference is a landscape unlike any other, an inspiring high desert ecosystem within the Coconino National Forest, and a campus that is ready to support artistic groups of summer residents at a time,” said co-founder and Head of Verde Valley School, Paul Amadio. "We want to set the stage for new artistic interactions and meaningful immersion in our local culture and environment."

Applications for Sedona Summer Colony are open through March 31, or until all 100 residency spaces are filled. The 2017 program is fee-based at $65 per day per resident. Selected artists and cultural managers will be provided with private accommodation, two meals a day, studio or work space on campus, and optional off-site excursions to explore the region and features like Arcosanti, Sinaguan ruins, Museum of Northern Arizona, Lowell Observatory, and the Grand Canyon.

New this year are a limited number of Summer Colony Day Residencies, to support the creative development of local and Verde Valley artists who do not require housing. Fees are $30 per day, and include everything except for accommodation on campus. Sedona arts supporters can also get involved this summer by volunteering, sponsoring an artist, or donating materials and items for the program.

The seeds for the Sedona Summer Colony were planted in November 2015 with the first meeting between Holowacz and Amadio. Both had arrived in Sedona a few months before, taking over well-established nonprofit organizations. Both came with a vision for change and community-building—and both had boards and trustees that were ready for big ideas.

Holowacz, with a background in residencies, festival production, arts facilities, and cultural engineering, proposed the idea of using the summer campus to invite and house creative people from all over the world. Amadio, who also had experience with summer arts programs and an earlier career as a stage performer, saw a ready partnership that would enhance local identity and build new relationships well beyond the Sonoran Desert.

"This is a major step for both our organizations to contribute to 21st century cultural identity, and to enhance the way that the world looks at Sedona," said Holowacz. "We invite creative people from all over the world to consider this opportunity and help us build the next great American artist residency program."

Information and application guidelines are now online at To learn more about this Sedona Arts Center and Verde Valley School partnership, become a volunteer, donate housing or services, or support the 2017 Sedona Summer Colony in any way, contact Eric Holowacz at (928) 282-3809.