Art Blog

Honor a Local Arts Educator on April 4, 2017

This year, Sedona Arts Center has a truly special twist for Arizona Gives Day. It just so happens that our own favorite ceramics teacher, Dennis Ott, is a finalist for the 2017 Governor’s Arts Awards in the individual educator category—to be presented on May 4 in Phoenix. As the long-serving head of our Ceramics Department, no one has done more to champion the Arts Center, share the creative process, and foster community outreach than Dennis.

To thank and honor his undeniably creative spirit, we’re making our 2017 Arizona Gives Day appeal all about Dennis (and arts educators like him). Please consider pledging a gift with a message to one of our own—or a few words about the teachers and artists who inspire you. Your Arizona Gives Day contribution to Sedona Arts Center will add a new layer to Dennis Ott’s state-wide honor—and help the Art Barn ceramics studio glow even brighter.

Pledge an Arizona Gives Day gift right now at, or visit or call the Arts Center at 928-282-3809,
 and we’ll help you set up a contribution.

Even if you can’t consider a contribution this time: join us in thanking all of the wonderful arts educators around us, the unique creative people who nurture our lives and bring endless inspiration to the Arts Center and the community we share. We were founded 60 years ago by that very same spirit—and our staff, board, and volunteers work every day to continue and expand Sedona's creative legacy. Thank you for being a part of the Arts Center's past, present, and future. 

About Sedona Arts Center

Sedona Arts Center has been bringing creative people together for the past 60 years. In 1956, a group of creative people decided to turn Sedona into a place of artistic learning and creative expression and began offering summer classes in painting, sculpture, and Native American crafts. The population of the area at that time was less than 400 people, most of whom were ranchers, orchard workers, and merchants. They shared a big dream to build a new creative community. 

In 1958, the Verde Valley School art department head, Egyptian sculptor Nassan Gobran, and a dozen other civic leaders founded the organization that would become Sedona Arts Center. A few years later, with support form the town’s small Chamber of Commerce, we acquired a former apple orchard warehouse that became known as the Art Barn in what is now Uptown Sedona. The first exhibition featured works by Max Ernst and Dorothea Tanning, and the early years included arts education, lectures, exhibitions, film screenings, language and dance classes, and live theatre.

Throughout the 1960s and 70s, the barn and Arts Center became a genuine hub of creative activity, artistic development, cultural events, and community-building. Today, we keep that tradition and operate an expanded campus, a fine art gallery that represents 110 local artists, and a school that offers over 200 classes and workshops each year. Sedona Arts Center also presents innovative collaborative projects like Peace Paper WorkshopsLoving Bowls, the 12 x 12 ProjectPlein Air festivalsSedona Ukulele Posse, and creative community projects.

Now six decades after the first arts experiment, channeling the same bold and fearless dream of creative community, we renew our commitment to creative placemaking in Sedona. With a nod to Gobran and his legacy—and powered by creative leaders like Dennis Ott—your local Arts Center has set out to build a model 21st century cultural organization. We know the power of creative people, unexpected collaborations, togetherness, and efforts that express cultural identity. All of us at Sedona Arts Center are grateful for the past 60 years, and excited about all the creative ideas and projects—and more images like the ones above—that you are helping us make possible!