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Art in the Palm of Your Hand:
Sedona Art Center’s Annual Miniatures Exhibition

by Elizabeth Warren

Sedona Arts Center is putting together a little exhibition — literally.

Take a trip through the diminutive side of art as SAC presents the 14th Annual Miniature Exhibition, November 1 — 11, at the SAC Gallery Shop in Uptown Sedona.

The event features almost 200 pieces of mini-art covering a wide range of mediums including painting, weaving, sculpture, photography, wreaths, mirrors, jewelry and more. Each was created by a SAC member artist, and each is available for purchase through silent auction.

The exhibition and silent auction culminate on the 11th with an annual reception - that is, as chairperson Isabel Joynt said, a great big party. This year’s theme is the Millenium, and in addition to a fabulous assortment of miniatures, patrons can purchase a keepsake champagne flute (it comes filled!).

But the real fun at the reception is gearing up for the final bidding. Every year, patrons get into the spirit of things by going just a wee bit auction crazy. Tourists often get a hand in the action as well, leaving their credit card numbers at the gallery, and Joynt notes that in the past, individuals from as far away as New York, Los Angeles and Chicago have upped the ante via phone. Things get a bit wild as volunteers dart back and forth pushing up the bids on hot items for absentee bidders.

Of course, the big moment comes when the auction closes at 7:00 p.m. "on the button," said Joynt. She notes that the moment of truth always brings surprises, including cries of "I thought I had the highest bid on that!"

But a little disappointment can’t mar the Miniature Exhibition, a SAC institution for 14 years. "It’s held up all these years," said Joynt. "And it just gets bigger and better." Last year, the exhibition featured 170 pieces, and this year the number is projected to increase.

A healthy mix of professionals and students create the miniature artworks, and artists who have exhibited in the past include Susan Kliewer and Joe Beeler. Though the Miniatures Exhibition committee doesn’t have a high-powered jury system in place, they have been forced over the years to be choosy. "It becomes a challenge to fit all those little goodies in the space," Joynt said.

And all those little goodies have remained a popular artistic vehicle for many years. Though photos have long since replaced miniature portraits of our loved ones, small-scale pieces haven’t lost any of their charm. "Many fine art galleries have initiated miniature shows, such as the Lanning Gallery in Sedona and the Medicine Wheel Gallery in Tucson," notes Joynt.

For many artists, working in miniature provides a challenge they are anxious to tackle. Joynt said that it’s often a stretch to complete a work with such specific parameters. The artists must not exceed 9"x12" for any framed, two-dimensional piece, and all three-dimensional pieces must be no larger than 6" square.

If the guidelines are a challenge for the artists, the results are nothing but a pleasure for the patrons. Because of the small scale, the pieces also tend to come with a nominal price tag. Artists set the minimum bid, and split the final bid price with the Arts Center 50-50. Many artists donate their pieces to the Arts Center out-right, as the event is a fundraiser for the non-profit organization.

Don't miss out on the chane to get a head start on holiday shopping at the Miniature Exhibition. Each piece is unique, and with the wealth of styles and mediums available, there's bound to be something for everyone on your list.

Since its inception, the exhibition has always been timed to coincide with the holiday shopping season, and has been designed to provide an opportunity for SAC's member artists and craftsmen to have a marketplace for their work. Besides Joynt, who has been working with the exhibition for eight years, Don Hedine, Dennis Parker and Jim Miller have been instrumental in shaping and organizing the event each year.

If you are an artist interested in submitting work to the Minature Exhibition, you must be a member of SAC and your work must fit the dimensions noted above. Categories accepted include oil painting, acrylic, water media, drawing, graphics, photography, mixed media, sculpture, ceramics, glass, jewelry, fiber and leather. Entries must be orginal art, for sale, of exhibition quality and ready for display. The entry date is Monday, October 30, from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. For more information, please call the Arts Center at (520) 282-3809.

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