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After a little blood, lots of sweat and more than a few tears, the Posse Ground Pavilion at Barbara Antonsen Memorial Park has finally become a reality.

Plans have been in the works for more than a decade to honor Antonsen, who moved to Sedona in 1983 and immediately became active in the arts scene.

She founded the Sedona Arts Festival, which to date has brought in more than $300,000 for local arts initiatives and programs. Antonsen died in 2002.


Even though the pavilion has been completed for several months and has been rented, the official ribbon cutting took place on Wednesday, May 3. More than 250 people turned out for the event.

“I think it’s breathtaking,” Parks and Recreation Manager Rachel Murdoch said of the venue. “It’s so much fun to show it to people who come to rent it. They’re amazed with how pretty it is, how inexpensive it is as well as how easy it is to rent.”

So far the venue has hosted weddings, birthdays, small concerts and dance performances.

“Many people thought it was just for music but it can be used for so much more,” Murdoch said.

While the city provided the land and paid for a large percentage of the new facility, for years the Friends of Posse Grounds Park has been raising money for the effort.

The group’s president, Madeleine O’Callaghan, is also impressed with the finished product.

“I think the venue is terrific,” she said. “I think Barbara would have liked it a lot. It’s going to serve the community well.”

She said the intention was to have a small performance venue that could be used and enjoyed by everyone in the community.

She said that’s exactly what they now have.

“This isn’t intended for huge events,” she said. “It’s for local events hosted by local people. It’s a place for people to enjoy themselves and to celebrate.”

Tom Spinwell was on hand with his wife, both of whom attended a recent wedding at the venue and are looking forward to seeing musical performances there as well.

“Look at the backdrop — you’re not going to get much better than that,” he said. “This is a perfect setting for a small concert or dance recital. And it’s the perfect setting for a wedding.”

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