Summer is ridiculously slow in Sedona.
Tourism drops off after Memorial Day and remains quiet until Labor Day with the exception of Oak Creek Canyon, which offers escape to Phoenicians and Tucsonans, who turn the canyon’s stretch of State Route 89A into a car- and pedestrian-clogged quagmire.Woe be unto thee who driveth to or from Flagstaff on a summer weekend.
This slugishness isn’t ideal for those of our youth who remain here during summer break.
Into this lull in things for youth to do comes Talya Reynolds. She spearheaded the creation of the Sedona Street Art Festival, a multimedia arts event held at the Sedona Posse Grounds Hub, aka the former Sedona Teen Center.
From our readers, especially teenagers and parents with younger children, I have heard
nothing but positive comments about the first Sedona Street Art Festival. Residents, artists and skateboarders eagerly await what she plans to do in the second and third installments.
As a longtime local, Reynolds understands the peculiar difficulty of growing up in the Sedona area. Reynolds went to Big Park Community School, Sedona Red Rock High School and the Flagstaff Arts & Leadership Academy before graduating in 2009.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Arizona State University in May 2015, a certification in civil communication and was trained as a mediator by the Justice of the Peace Courts and in group facilitation by the Institute of Civil Dialogue, which our unusually cantankerous and vocal community could certainly use to keep the peace.
Now 24 and back in Sedona, Reynolds has a passion for the arts community. She said the Sedona Street Art Festival was inspired by The Big Wonderful, a Denver-based festival of art, music, fashion and food festival that rotates through various venues to connect and revitalize neighborhoods.
We have neither the population nor the resources of Denver, but that did not intimidate Reynolds from using what we do have, calling in favors, asking artist friends to participate and adapting when plans didn’t match schedules, reminding me and some attendees of the early incarnations of GumptionFest.
If organizing artists is akin to herding cats, then Reynolds is one of city’s best young wranglers, if I may be so hagiographic. It would be beyond foolish for any local organizers to ignore or dismiss the skills she brings to their table.
In my graduation editorial, I wrote, “Serve your community selflessly and it will repay in kind.” The kind of arts organizer who thrives is one who deletes their ego and works for the sake of promoting art and community without need for thanks.
Yet that type of behavior is precisely what we should reward. Sedona looks forward to the other community events she organizes and our youth will appreciate her efforts most of all, even if they never hear her take credit for it.
Christopher Fox Graham
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