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Studio Dead? Studio Deprived? Whichever pun you’ve heard regarding the recent announcement by Suzie Schomaker that Studio Live will be closing its doors at the end of June, it’s not the least bit humorous; it’s sad.

Sedona will be losing perhaps the most significant piece of its performing artist culture after the West Sedona venue hosts its final live performance June 29, and the saddest part is, it could have been prevented.

Assistant New Editor Jeff BearSchomaker, who has said her personal mission is to “connect people and open hearts through live performance, education and artist support,” along with a group of local performance artists formed the Sedona Performing Arts Alliance, the governing entity for Studio Live, in 2009.

Since that time, they’ve been the leading proponent for developing local performance artists young and old, including the otherwise “left behind” music programs in our schools.

But the 70-seat venue has struggled to make ends meet, in no small part to the inordinately high sewer fees the city charges.

The alliance had a solution though — a Backyard stage that would allow it to hold concerts under the gorgeous Sedona night sky, and the increased revenue could have been just what the venue needed to stay open.

But a few neighbors complained about the “noise,” and the city dragged its feet on approving a Conditional Use Permit that could have reopened it.

I promise you I’m not as naïve as I sound. I really do understand how the system works: The people who have or control the money make the rules while the rest of us follow them around like little lost puppies begging for scraps.

It just bothers me that a city claiming to be a friend of the arts would stand feebly by while an organization that fervently supports local artists withers.

Where is their compassion?

As a musician who has occasionally heard the grumbling of neighbors who considered my music an auditory invasion of their privacy, I’ve learned that people are, by nature, territorial.

But aren’t we also, by nature, a species that values art as the deepest expression of our hearts? Whether we do it through song, spoken word, dance, painting, sculpture or simply by living an artistic life; we are, each and every one of us, artists needing only an opportunity to release our masterwork into the world.

Suzie Schomaker is someone who understands that well, and is one of the few people who is willing to do what it takes to provide an opportunity for others to release their masterworks.

What a shame that she will no longer have a place to do that.

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  • Jennifer Epperson

    This just makes me fighting mad! Suzie has brought such an amazing artistic effort to Sedona, along with the Sedona Performing Art Alliance. We have amazing talent in this town, and few venues available to performers. As an uptowner, I hear visitors and locals alike play the chime/percussive instruments most days and very often on the weekends. It is joyful to hear music and know that people are inspired to create it. Studio Live invigorates West Sedona with a beautiful outdoor space. The neighbors are selfish and the city thoughtless to not actively seek a solution.

  • wendy warren

    another cool venue screwed up by greed of sedona elders. I have been here for 14 years, and really getting tired of conservative BS, who are afraid of change, want to control everything, including sewage fees, taxes, music, smoking outdoors, blah ,blah ,blah, getting old, like you guys. wish the hippies could come back to sedona and be happy!!

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