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 Kicking off the Sedona Centennial Celebration:
First Annual Red Rock Fine Art and Wine Festival

by Jess Everett

Kicking off the Sedona Centennial Celebration, the Red Rock Fine Art and Wine Festival takes center stage at Sedona Cultural Park on May 24-26.

“It seems appropriate to start celebrating Sedona’s birthday with a display of the arts,” said John Evans, coordinator of the festival. “This is a place of inspirational beauty and creative expression is its main industry. Not many cities can make such a claim.”

This event is the first art show held at the Park. The weekend-long cultural festival features an array of fine art, gourmet food by fine Sedona restaurants, and a tasting of superb Arizona wines under the guidance of Bashas’ Wine Master Jeff Graham.

To top off a weekend of cultural exposure, The Phoenix Symphony will perform nightly under the stars at the Park’s amphitheater.

Arizona can boast some of the more accomplished artists in the country, and the work exhibited in the festival is exceptional.

An example of extraordinary work is the alabaster sculptures of Susan Zilkland and Paul Hawkins of Camp Verde. Their work runs the gamut of artistic presentations which reflects their mastery of the craft, including incredibly delicate flowers carved from solid single pieces. They look so real that one is compelled to touch the fragile-appearing petals to see if they give and bend as a real petal would.

Zilkland and Hawkins are renowned sculptors of the jade-like stone, and exhibit in some of the most elite art shows in the United States. They have received extensive coverage in periodicals devoted to their field of work.

 “Artists strive to express their inner being from the unique perspective of their individuality,” said Evans, who has lived in Sedona for more than a decade. “They dedicate themselves to the perfection of expression and then share it with the rest of us, reminding us of who we really are as we busy ourselves with the demands of daily life.”

Take, for instance, Rod Bearcloud’s oil paintings. Bearcloud, a Sedona artist, creates majestic Southwest landscapes that perceive spiritual life in all surroundings, while reflecting his Osage traditional beliefs. Studying his paintings, it takes a moment to realize that the landscape before you is filled with faces and animals, and they aren’t random.

For example, in “Lodge of the Buffalo Spirit,” the rocks within a pool of water reveal themselves to be faces. The faces point in four directions, symbolizing the four winds, a reflection of the belief that spirit is all encompassing within the earth and the sky.

The breath-taking oil paintings of Caroll Forseth of Phoenix explore similar subject matter. His subtle impressionistic style creates scenes of such beauty that you can’t help but wish to stand, if not live within one his scenes.

Additional award-winning artists showing at the festival include Lawrence Crank, Craig Walker and Vicky de Taos.

Crank, of Monument Valley, is a potter whose intricately detailed designs reflect his Navajo background. The time, patience and love for his work is obvious in every piece that he creates.

Walker sculpts in mixed-media with freedom of imagination in the pieces that he produces. His wife, de Taos, is well-known for her “storyteller” series of clay figures that reflect her Apache ancestry.

Don’t miss the Red Rock Fine Art and Wine Festival at Sedona Cultural Park Memorial Day Weekend. For more information, call (928) 284-9627. For information on The Phoenix Symphony performance or to order tickets, call (602) 495-1999.

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