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A major accident just past Rocking Chair Ranch Road at State Route 89A halted southbound traffic entering Cottonwood for several hours Wednesday afternoon. Drivers were diverted to the Mingus Avenue Extention,...

I’ve often written about the importance of art in the community and in schools. This past week something wonderful happened. An Aztec Culture-themed Middle School Arts Immersion took place April 26th through 29th. Students learned to play drums in a traditional Aztec style; they learned Aztec dances to Airdancematch those rhythms; they created Aztec murals and made sculptures which reflected the organic nature of a network of relationships (such as those within a cell and those within a tribe); they wrote poetry. The rhythm of four different Aztec beats for the dances permeated each of the classrooms. The symbolism and style of the Aztec stories was carried through the murals, dance, poetry, and the drums. All of this was interwoven into a final performance – but more important was the three day arts immersion itself and the transformation within the students and change made at the school.


The program was designed working closely with the West Sedona Middle School faculty and Principal of West Sedona School, Dr. Lisa Hirsch. For this immersion the Sedona Arts Center brought artists in from as far as Chicago and Wisconsin to teach in their area of expertise  - Roberto Ferraya was the expert in Aztec dance. and Sandra Zahn taught drumming and emotional intelligence (in this case recognizing our network of support). Kate Pearlman was the poetry guide for the students.  Jessica Nelson taught an art project on the Mayan Alphabet and the Codex Borbonicus. Libby Caldwell taught the mural component as was the conceptual organizer of the overall project.


What is an Arts Immersion?


“Art Immersions are designed to engage all the senses and create in the students a sense of experiencing another time, place or culture,” says Vince Fazio, Director of the School of the Arts at Sedona Arts Center.


Art Immersions were developed by the Sedona Arts Center with former City Arts Education Commissioner, Libby Caldwell and the school district. During the Arts Immersion, rather than attending their regular classes, the students participate only in art classes for three to four days. The art classes are designed to stimulate all the senses, creating a memorable and meaningful experience for the students, while simultaneously delivering a meaningful curriculum.


Programs like these not only benefit arts and culture in general, they offer students unique experiences traditionally not offered in schools. The Sedona Arts Center continually creates exceptional opportunities for Airdrumchildren and adults to immerse themselves in all forms of art. For example, an event such as the Sedona Fine Art Auction, (a benefit fundraising event on May 21 this year) supports the educational mission and ongoing programming of the Sedona Arts Center. Supporters and donors understand the importance of these continued programs and their value to the community. For tickets to the Sedona Fine Art Auction and to preview live auction items, visit


Remember: grow; learn; conserve; preserve; create; question; educate; change; and free your mind.

About: Kelli Klymenko is an artist, a faculty member and the Marketing & Events Coordinator at Sedona Arts Center: a gathering place where artists can learn, teach, and exhibit their works at the center’s School of the Arts and Fine Art Gallery in uptown Sedona.

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